As citizens across America and concerned observers abroad are currently struggling to comprehend the startling outcome of a deeply combative U.S. presidential race and its implications for nearly all aspects of civil life both foreign and domestic, the intrepidly conscious hip-hop duo Run the Jewels released a another new track from the forthcoming album RTJ3 yesterday, which was delivered alongside a love letter to their fans:
Despite being authored well before Election Day, 2100 is an apt articulation of the current emotional tempo of the nation; expressing feelings of political despair, anger, ambivalence, exhaustion, and the nagging but frightening recognition that more radical action against a rising authoritarian fascism may be required. Former Bernie Sanders surrogate and social critic Killer Mike spits at the top of the track, “How long before the hate that we hold/ Lead us to another Holocaust?/ Are we so deep in it that we can’t end it?/ Stop, hold, ever call it off/ It’s too clear, nuclear’s too near/ And the holders of the molotov/ Say that ‘revolution’s right here, right now’/ And they ain’t callin’ off”. His verbally gifted partner El-P adds, “It is war time, check your wrists (Ready, kids?)/ Over to your right, shine a light/ Got a bevy ready for the fight/ I just wanna live, I don’t wanna ever have to load a clip/ Only hunt bliss”. This near-literal and critical score for the present moment also features an appropriately bluesy hook from long-time RTJ collaborator Boots.
Since the election results dropped Killer Mike has been fearless in diagnosing exactly how the predictions of political analysts could be so off as well as who’s responsible for the Democratic Party’s inability to prevail. The MC visited morning talk show The Real yesterday to discuss, stating that Trump supporters of all stripes “voted for a party that used the illusion of patriotism, the illusion of military, the illusion of being better by skin color or class, to oppress them, and on the other side I think all the people who look like people on this panel—black brown and all types of hues in between—I think we have been used by a party to the liberal side that once in office has not enacted policies that are reflective of stuff that would be bring our communities up, so I think poor people got angry — and I think there just happens to be, in this country, more poor, angry white people.” On Twitter he’s been withering in his assessment of the Clinton campaign’s missteps, telling a scornful follower to “Read Wiki[leaks] mane. Not only did the HRC camp sabotage Sanders They influenced [media] to Big Up Cruz and DT for a ‘Pied Piper’ effect. U dumb AF huh”. He wrote to another user that jaded Sanders supporters weren’t voting against their own interests in their refusal to fall behind Clinton: “People vote FOR THEIR POLICIES it was called the Sanders Platform. Then the DNC stole the race and parts of it. Folks said No thanks. Deal."
While the nation now resides in a sort of political purgatory between the closing days of the Obama administration and the assumption of power by a rhetorically bellicose candidate whose chilling campaign promises now hang ominously over the country, it appears that at least one upshot might be a renewed relevance for political hip-hop, and there’s currently no greater practitioners of the form than Run the Jewels.
Listen to “2100” here.