The Best Way to Listen to Run the Jewels 4 Is to Pay For It


RTJ4, the fourth album from Run the Jewels, was supposed to come out this Friday. But with the nation massing in the streets to protest the police killing of George Floyd, Killer Mike and El-P decided to bump things up, releasing the project in full at noon today. As they put it: “Fuck it, why wait.” You can stream anywhere, and you can download the 11-track album for free from the Run the Jewels site—where you can also make a donation to an organization protecting the rights of the thousands of people protesting the police killing of George Floyd and racial injustice in the United States.

“The world is infested with bullshit so here’s something raw to listen to while you deal with it all,” the duo wrote on Twitter just before dropping the album. “We hope it brings you some joy. Stay safe and hopeful out there.”

The album is free to download, but upon checkout on the Run the Jewels site, visitors are given the option to donate to the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Fund, which provides legal support for protesters voicing their dissent. On Twitter, El-P encouraged listeners who want to give more to give directly to the NLG Mass Defense Fund, and other charities and resources that were listed on the Run the Jewels site. Black Lives Matter, Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Legal Defense Initiative, The Bail Project, and Committee to Protect Journalists are just a few of the charities that the rap duo recommended listeners support.

Within an hour, El-P reported that listeners had given more than $10,000 to their suggested charities, and by 2 p.m. that figure was up to $50,000.

As one might expect from Run the Jewels, the album is great—raw, essential, and worth paying for, especially if you’re paying via a donation to a worthy, urgent cause. Killer Mike especially has been very vocal in the wake of the protests and demonstrations following Floyd’s killing, including giving an emotional speech in the wake of widespread protests in his hometown of Atlanta on Friday night. And although Run the Jewels 4 was recorded before these protests started, it still manages to speak to the moment: “And everyday on evening news they feed you fear for free / And you so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me / And ’til my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, ‘I can’t breathe’ / And you sit there in the house on couch and watch it on TV / The most you give’s a Twitter rant and call it a tragedy,” Killer Mike raps on “Walking in the Snow.”

The album’s available at the group’s website. As RTJ themselves put it: Fuck it. Why wait?

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