Sunday, 18 January 2015

Spectrum's Best Albums of 2014, Part Three: Number One

And we're there... our number one record of 2014.

Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2

It's difficult to decide whether the explosive collaboration between El-P and Killer Mike represents a leap forward in rap music, or an anomalous, brilliant throwback. The production is inarguably very 2014, but the philosophical approach behind it feels much older, one might even say constitutive of hip-hop's very origins. It's there in the cameo from Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha on the blistering, mosh-pit-enabled 'Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)', which dusts off a shouty relic from one of rap's future-pasts, and coolly repurposes him for modern sonic warfare. And it's there in Killer Mike's angry, justifiably paranoid verses on 'Lie, Cheat, Steal'. These two luminaries of alternative hip-hop have gone back to the well, and brought forth the political heft from a bygone era, when rap didn't see sincerity or polemic as problematic, to offer a rejuvenating essay on the black experience, the working-class experience, and the goddamn human experience, in Obama's America. Nick Pierce