Ever since their introduction in 2013, Killer Mike and El-P’s supergroup Run The Jewels has been an absolute force to be reckoned with.
Over the course of their three albums—four if you include Mike's El-P produced '12 album R.A.P. Music—the chemistry shared between the two has only evolved and become streamlined, while El-P’s production has experienced a renaissance, offering some of underground hip-hop’s most hypnotic and hard-hitting instrumentals over the last several years.
Back in August of 2016, the two appeared on "Nobody Speak," the lead single from legendary West Coast producer DJ Shadow’s latest album The Mountain Will Fall, and for a single moment, it seemed as though the dynamic duo had found the perfect third head for their hip-hop Cerberus.
I clearly wasn’t the only one to notice the innate chemistry between El-P and DJ Shadow’s ears, as Atlanta resident DJ Skarface just took to SoundCloud to release Shadow The Jewels, a 20-minute mash-up mixtape of Run The Jewels’ self-titled debut album and beats from the discography of DJ Shadow, most notably from his seminal 1996 masterpiece of sampling, Endtroducing.....
If you thought “Nobody Speak” was good, holy shit, this is about to blow your mind.
Completely ignoring the fact that DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing...... is one of my favorite albums of all time, and that Run The Jewels have been responsible for more than their fair share of “holy shit” moments in the last three years of my life, this mixtape just works. Perfectly.
DJ Skarface, who was also responsible for MadDILLAiny, a mash-up project of Madvillain and J Dilla, is an expert at making sure both sides of the spectrum are represented fairly and tactfully. Making use of some of the best loops from Shadow’s debut and beyond to highlight the lyrical ferocity of Killer Mike and El-P, the instrumentals are complemented with some of the finest and most energized bars currently available to draw from.
From start to finish this project is not only a great introduction to DJ Shadow for those uninitiated Run The Jewels fans, but it does what every good mash-up should do—it enhances the original material and makes something completely fresh at the same time.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram