A Christmas Fucking Miracle: Go Download RTJ3 For Free RIGHT NOW!


It’s seems like forever ago that I was posting a free download and soundcload link for the first Run The Jewels album, explaining that it was “the self-titled debut from the duo of Brooklyn super producer/emcee, Jaime “EL-Producto” Meline and Atlanta rap staple, Killer Mike.”  The truth of the matter is that it was only June of 2013 but, in the music world, an artist can actually build a carreer/blow up and then completely disappear in the span of 3 1/2 years.  In fact, that’s one of the most remarkable things about the RTJ, both of the members had already paid their dues in this industry for decades before joining forces and the fact that this project finally led to an explosion in their respective mainstream popularities wasn’t a bigger surprise to anyone than it was to them.  And they’ve taken full advantage of their new opportunities playing just about every festival stage imaginable, while slowly climbing up the marquee, they’ve explored everything from international street art projects and signed print releases to full on social  and political activism and selling out venues everywhere they go.  Just prior to the drop of their sophomore album, RTJ2, I caught a earth shaking performance from these lyrical monsters at the Showbox here in Seattle that, unfortunately, yielded shamefully poor attendance.  Now with their new LP, RTJ3 being one of the most highly anticipated albums on the horizon with a physical release date slated for January 13th, their upcoming tour is completely sold out and folks are clamoring to swoop up tickets on the secondary market for ridiculous markups.  Fortunately, for those of us that have been waiting (not) so patiently, the boys are offering up a Christmas fucking miracle and have just dropped the free download for RTJ3 today, with the following statement and Portlandia video.

For Our Jewel Runners Worldwide,

Fuck it. We couldn’t help ourselves.  It just feels right.  After a crazy fucking year and with a full tour about to set off we asked ourselves what we were waiting for… and we just couldn’t come up with a great answer.  You’ve been with us since we started this thing and its made such a huge difference in our lives to have your energy and love.  Thank you.  So as a gift to all of you who have allowed us to continue to do what we love:  RTJ3.  We busted our asses on this one and we think we made something special this round.  Grab it for free, buy it on any of the digital platforms you like or stream it.  Physical copies will still be dropping in January as announced but until then: enjoy and we will see you on the road!

With our love,

Jaime and Mike.

GET IT HERE

As huge longtime fans of these two, we’re really pleased to see them expand from being the best underground secrets to gaining such international stardom, but it’s interesting to consider the formula that led them to this place.  From his work at the forefront of underground hip hop with Company Flow in the 1990s, to running the preeminent indie rap label, Definitive Jux, over the following decade, Meline has always been incredibly forward thinking and meticulous in his work, gradually releasing his full-lengths in 5 year spans from 1997‘s Funcrusher Plus with Co-Flow up through his final solo album, Cancer 4 Cure in 2012.  All were classics and each one was viewed as the next step defining his evolution as an artist.  Killer Mike walked a similar path, always consistent in his own work, while stepping into the game on Dungeon Family tracks for Outkast and The Purple Ribbon All-Stars, but never quite achieving the shine that he rightly deserved for the amount of skill and heart that he exhibited.  I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to interview EL just prior to the release of C4C and about a week prior to his first collaboration with Mike hit the shelves.  The hard hitting R.A.P. Music was produced entirely by EL Producto and Mike had never sounded more powerful or comfortable on a record before, pushing him into the spotlight a bit more and landing the album on numerous best of the year album lists.  If the music itself didn’t speak loudly enough, speaking with EL directly and reading and/or watching other interviews around that time definitely did — this new NYC x ATL merger was the beginning of something new and, beyond their obvious friendship, a spark had been lit.

That night that the first RTJ album was to be released as a free download was exciting to me and, after scratching out the piece which would surround it, I waited for that link to drop, inserted it into the post, and hit publish.  I knew that it had to be solid, but I didn’t know how far it would spread and I don’t believe that the men who created it did either.  For someone like EL who had become notorious for trying to prevent albums leaks, this free album thing was an entirely new approach, but it’s one that quickly proved effective.  Then again, RTJ was considered a lighthearted effort that the two made without the weight of it being their “next album;” it was something that they made for each other in between their “more serious” solo efforts and had no real commercial concerns about.  But, while it may have possessed a different energy, it was an immediately infectious one and it swiftly began spreading.  Once the physical copies became available, fans swallowed them up and the second album was only that much more successful.  The marketing was on point and the trademark gun-hand and fist symbol is not only unmistakable, it’s become iconic.

Clearly, Run The Jewels became their day jobs and the leap from the first album to RTJ2 was noticeable.  EL‘s production has always evolved consistently from one project to the next, which is what makes him one of the greatest producers to ever do it, but while the over-the-top braggadocio remained, more serious, political, and social commentary began to seep into the lyrics than before, content that may have otherwise been reserved for their solo efforts.  From the few early samples that we’ve heard up until this point, it appears that it’s likely to continue; this is what they do now, so they’re putting everything that they have into it without restrictions.  More guest appearances from each of their respective worlds also continue with the latest effort.  EL‘s always brought in an eclectic mix of acquaintances — both Trent Reznor and Cat Power even appeared on cuts from his 2007 classic, I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead — so it’s not surprising, although still encouraging to see folks like Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Zwan), Kamasi Washington, and Zack de la Rocha on RTJ3.  On the last LP, Memphis rap legend and Three 6 Mafia alum, Gangsta Boo was brought in to get some love; on the new one, “Da baddest bitch,” Trina fills that roll of southern female rap pioneer getting her props, while Dungeon Family vocalist/arranger Joi appears on the opening cut, “Down.”  Other appearances include frequent EL-P collaborators, Boots, Little Shalimar (featured extensively), and Danny Brown, as well as Dangermouse, and Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio.

Chances are that you probably stopped reading this a while ago — the minute that you saw the download link — but, as you might already know, the pre-orders for the vinyl have already gone live.  Aside from the standard gold vinyl double-LP and a deluxe 4xLP that comes with the instrumental tracks, an indie retailer exclusive featuring a gold pendant is also in the works, so look out for that one.  Also available right now is a ton of great new merch, along with another limited edition RTJ hoodie release through Daylight Curfew being available for preorder.  Enjoy the FREE album, then enjoy dumping all of your loot on the rest of this shit, because we both know that you’re going to.  They’re releasing some nice stuff these days, and t’s only getting better.  Nobody’s sedating this 2-headed kaijin anytime soon.

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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