One of hip-hop’s most dynamic duos has confirmed their return to the fold. Run the Jewels, comprised of Killer Mike and El-P, will release their third self-titled album, RTJ3, on January 13. The album — available on vinyl, CD, and as both a free and paid digital download — can now be pre-ordered on their site.
To mark the occasion, Run the Jewels also shared “Legend Has It,” the third track they’ve dropped from the upcoming album. They released “Talk to Me” in late October and “2100,” featuring BOOTS, earlier this month. Along with BOOTS, RTJ3 also includes guest spots from rapper Danny Brown, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, and TV on the Radio singer Tunde Adebimpe.
“We hope you feel the love and time we put in to this record and can’t wait to share it with you and see you out on the road,” El-P and Killer Mike wrote on their website. “Whether you buy it, download it for free, steal it from your annoying cousin or hear it at a show, just know that we are eternally grateful for the love you’ve shown us.”
The LP’s artwork is another iteration of the jewel-runner design — conceived by El-P and initially drawn by Nick Gazin — that appeared on their first two albums. This version displays two hand sculptures cast in metal, chromed, and gold-plated.
“For us, the RTJ1 hands were about ‘taking what’s yours’ — your world, your life, your attitude,” the RTJ3 album artist Tim Saccenti explained in a statement. “The RTJ2 hands were wrapped in bandages, signifying injury and healing, which for us represented the growth in ideas and tone of that album. For RTJ3 the bandages are off, the chain is gone and the hands have been transformed into gold. For us this represents the idea that there is nothing to take that exists outside of yourself. You are the jewel.”
Run the Jewels released their second effort, Run the Jewels 2, in October 2014. Since that album — EW’s second favorite of 2014 — they’ve toured relentlessly, campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and compiled Meow the Jewels, a version of Run the Jewels 2 comprised of cat noises and benefitting victims of police brutality. They’ve already announced plans to hit the road again early next year.
Hear “Legend Has It” below.