How Supporting Rap Duo Run the Jewels Supports Comic Book and Street Art Culture

While in contrast to Hip Hop’s legendary Supervillain, MF DOOM, Killer Mike and El-P have acted as music’s superheroes for the past two years. With their critically acclaimed sophomore album Run the Jewels 2, the duo captivated listeners with completely ridiculous, great, and yet sometimes heart wrenching verses. For example, on the track “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck) ft Zack De La Rocha”, Killer Mike tells a story of a prison mob waterboarding the warden and that his rhymes are equal to The Anarchist’s Cookbook. While on “Crown”, El-P discusses the hypocrisy of joining the American military/police force, and Mike regretfully confesses his selling of crack to a pregnant women years ago. Run the Jewels 2 ranked as the #1 Hip Hop album of the year 2014 for Pitchfork, Rolling Stone,, and Spin with a slew of many other top five rankings for other magazines and was a finalist for NME’s AOTY Award.

But what do they have to do with art and comic book culture? Well, because of Marvel’s editor-in-chief, Axel Alonso, a whole lot. Run the Jewels, with the help of the growing “Tag the Jewels” movement, struck a deal with Marvel earlier this year to be featured on Howard the Duck #2 and Deadpool #45. Since these two books hit the market only a few months ago, they have hit prices well over one-hundred dollars on the internet.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Axel Alonso describes an instance where his son caught a touchdown pass in a football game, “He caught a touchdown pass that won the game. And on the sidelines, he took off his glove and pointed at it and his friends were going ‘Run them jewels fast.’” He would go on to describe the RTJ logo as a “Vibrant, icon image” that “Marvel could weigh in on and have some fun with.”

Run the Jewels sonically is a powerful, brash, and totally badass music group. Listeners bang their heads back in forth to El-P’s masterfully crafted production and Killer Mike’s booming vocals that symbolize everything that superheroes and comic books are. These two nearly forty-year-old artists have captured the ears and hearts of young rap and art fans around the world; and do so with such humility that they give their albums away for free.

If you haven’t given Run the Jewels a listen, this writer highly recommends it (especially with the volume cranked to the max). Supporting them is to support the “Tag the Jewels” street art movement and music/comic book collaborations. This writer leaves you with one last point in attempt to convince you readers of Run the Jewels’s complete awesomeness—in mid to late 2015, Run the Jewels will be releasing Meow the Jewels, which is RTJ2 remixed with only cat sounds as its beats—this is a fan funded project that has the one of the greatest cast of producers of all time on board (Dan the Automator, Alchemist, Skywlkr, Just Blaze, and more). Supporting RTJ may even be to support, not just comics and art, but everything awesome in the world.

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Dom Fonce is an English Lit Major at Youngstown State University in Ohio. He is on the editorial staff for Jenny Magazine and Penguin Review, as well as a member of the SLAA (Student Literary Arts Association) of YSU. He particularly loves science fiction and graphic novels. He aspires to be the next Frank Miller or Alan Moore.

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  1. Great article. I’m going to see them in July, can’t wait.

  2. Randomly stumbled upon them a few years back at music festival, was one of the best acts I saw that day, followed the group ever since. Nice job.

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