Exclaim!'s Best of 2013: Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums



5. Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels
(Fool's Gold)

With two of the most successful releases last year, El-P's Cancer 4 Cure and Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music, the artist-producer duo teamed up to form supergroup Run the Jewels. Having already collaborated in 2012, El-P and Killer Mike have synthesized their styles, socio-political views and experience to drop the 10-track project of the same name.

The marriage of Killer Mike's Southern drawl and El-Ps eclectic hype illuminates a gritty and raw soundscape composed of head-nodding beats and genuine rhymes. With features from Big Boi ("Banana Clipper") and De La Soul's Prince Paul ("Twin Hype Back"), Run the Jewels is characterized by both New York's rugged vibes and Atlanta's peerless energy. While tracks like "Twin Hype Back" explore dark humour while paying homage to De La Soul's own humorous skits, the album also brings socio-political commentary to issues such as drug culture and crooked authorities found on "No Come Down" and "DDFH (Do Dope Fuck Hope)," respectively. Likewise, denouncing corporate enslavement, Killer Mike takes shots at some well-known competition on "Sea Legs," spitting that "There will be no respect for the Thrones," and "Niggas will perish in Paris."

Throughout the album, Killer Mike's aggressive delivery serves as the narrative's wisdom, while El-P's candid paranoia offers relatability. With brute force, Run the Jewels offers an unapologetic storyline that triumphs with hard-hitting beats and untouchable bars. (Erin Lowers)