Run the Jewels
Credit: Timothy Saccenti

Run the Jewels have one hell of a sense of timing. The second album from the explosive, passionately political hip-hop duo was released in October 2014, just as Black Lives Matter protests were taking off across the country in response to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The rappers even ended up playing a show in St. Louis the very night that a grand jury declined to indict former police officer Darren Wilson over Brown's death. Now, six years later, El-P and Killer Mike have released Run the Jewels 4 to streaming services two days before its planned June 5 drop date, as protests against racist police brutality continue across the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death.

"At 12 pm RTJ4 drops," El-P tweeted a few minutes before the surprise release. "It's our hearts, humor, anger [and] love of hip-hop music. We hope it moves you, makes you smile, makes you dance, makes you think, and makes you nod your head."

The album is available on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, and also available as a free download on Run the Jewels' official site. DJ Premier, 2 Chainz, Mavis Staples, and Rage Against the Machine's Zack De La Rocha, among others, make appearances on the album.

EW got an early listen to Run the Jewels 4 last month, and had an extensive conversation about the new music and its exploration of solidarity against political evil.

"Nothing is gonna change until even we, who aren’t directly affected by oppression the way other classes are, recognize that oppression is our problem too," El-P told EW, very presciently. "And that is exactly what me and Mike attempt to do in terms of our friendship on these records. We have this new song 'Just,' where we go, 'look at all these slavemasters posing on your dollar!' ... Start recognizing that oppression is happening to you as well because if you are a defender of humanity then violence against humanity is violence against you. That’s it, no room for negotiation. You have to be connected to the idea that an insult or injury to one is an insult or injury to you and to all."

Now you can listen to "Just" and the other 10 new tracks either via streaming or download. According to El-P, the album will be available for free permanently.

To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
  • Color of Change, which moves decision-makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
  • Equal Justice Initiative, which works to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality.

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