Taking a Victory Lap with Run the Jewels; of Hip-Hop, Stephen Hawking and Strip Clubs

By Mejia, Paula | Newsweek, April 10, 2015 | Go to article overview

Taking a Victory Lap with Run the Jewels; of Hip-Hop, Stephen Hawking and Strip Clubs


Mejia, Paula, Newsweek


Byline: Paula Mejia

When I call Jaime Meline and Mike Render--better known by their monikers El-P and Killer Mike, the brains behind hip-hop dream team Run the Jewels--I am a bit early, and they're wrapping up another interview. Before I mute our conference line, I hear the pair chortle as Mike drawls: "Run the Jewels is really a comedy group."

Don't tell the masses. Upon the release of their free album Run the Jewels II--the second the duo have made--the Internet exploded with praise. The album topped dozens of year-end lists, with critics and listeners digging its irreverence and El-P's imaginative production work. It was equal parts poignant (Mike raps that he respects "the badge and the gun," while fearing the death of his children from police brutality) and punchy (this is the same guy who rapped: "Top of the morning / My fist to your face is fucking Folgers").

They didn't have time to relish in the album's success, though--immediately, they went on an extensive international and national tour circuit, from clubs to major festivals to opening for Jack White at a sold-out Madison Square Garden performance (all that touring explains why their Newsweek interview has been scheduled and rescheduled many times since November). During their coveted downtime, they offered life advice to late-night stoners on Adult Swim, and heart-wrenching tales of love and loss to teenage girls on Rookie's Ask a Grown Man video series online. In the process, Mike became a favorite media pundit, offering salient perspectives around the tensions surrounding race and politics following the Ferguson conflict. Then they'll turn back around with a smile and bring the house down. And even making music for 20-plus years, they insist they're just ambling through it all like the rest of us, as El-P puts it, just relishing in "eloquently stating confusion."

Today, the fellas have released the video for the single "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)" featuring Zack de la Rocha, of Rage Against the Machine fame, through their website. Featuring two people locked in an endless stalemate, the gripping video is intended to "highlight the futility of the violence, not celebrate it," according to a statement from director AG Rojas. Run the Jewels, though, are something to celebrate.

Where in the world are you guys calling from?

El-P: I'm in Brooklyn.

Killer Mike: And I'm in Atlanta.

El-P: A very rare week at home.

Are you kicking it or preparing for the next big thing?

El-P: He's hunting for barbershops, I'm hunting for peace of mind. We tour all the time, and when we get home, while it's technically your down time, there's so much shit that you have to do to maintain your personal life and real life [laughs]. It's hardly ever downtime.

I saw that you were recently in the studio with Massive Attack?

El-P: It was amazing. Those guys are legends and are super smart and down to Earth and funny and great people. They reached out to us and we were like fuck yeah, man. Let's get together!

Is your collaboration with them something we might see on Run the Jewels III?

El-P: I don't know if it's going to be on their record or we're going to something for our record or both. We had a great time in the studio, and we're going to get together and do more.

How have the songs from RTJ II been resonating with you now that you've taken them on tour and played them in different size rooms?

Killer Mike: I thought that when we went into bigger rooms, we gonna lose some of the energy. On our first few runs out [Run the Jewels I], those shows had a real punk rock energy to them. The audience was in our face, we were in their faces. We were literally together. And I worried--is that connection going to be lost? 'Cause a lot of times, there's a gap or area or space [between us and the audience]; and what I've seen happening is that the crowds have grown, but the intensity is still there. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Taking a Victory Lap with Run the Jewels; of Hip-Hop, Stephen Hawking and Strip Clubs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.