The collaborative nature of hip-hop has always been one of my favorite parts of the culture. Throughout our travels into the digital era, that nature has been expedited to the point where Twitter and Instagram are now facilitating otherwise unlikely collaborations on a near daily basis.
After witnessing the insane musical run of Run The Jewels following Killer Mike and El-P's chance introduction by Adult Swim VP Jason DeMarco—a pairing that on paper leans toward haphazard—my criteria for a successful collaboration all but disappeared. Chemistry isn’t always planned, and sometimes the perfect pairing is the one that might seem the weirdest.
In the wee hours of this morning (January 6), Logic shared a photo of himself and Killer Mike in the studio and my hip-hop fantasy wheels immediately began turning. Having watched Run The Jewels perfectly convey what can be accomplished when two people with genuine skill and love for the culture connect, I couldn’t help but imagine a world in which Logic and Killer Mike linked up for an album.
So far, the only musical evidence we have of what a Killer Mike and Logic team-up would sound like is “Tree Of Life,” a loosie that also features Slug of Atmosphere, but it’s enough to know that an entire album between the two would be a completely different beast than Killer Mike’s collaborative work with El-P.
Throughout three Run The Jewels albums, I’ve become increasingly impressed with El-P’s lyrical abilities, but the prospect of an emcee with the technical abilities that Logic possesses alongside Killer Mike is a totally new excitement. El-P pushes Mike to be as grimy and direct as possible, but with Logic, there’s a certain finesse present that might allow Mike to express his lyrical potency in a more polished and less abrasive context.
On paper, Logic is a much more formidable match with Killer Mike on a technical level, and his more inclusive musical aesthetic would offer some diversity that would keep Mike on his toes and possibly showcase aspects of his artistry that we’ve yet to hear.
On a less tangible level, Logic seems to possess all the intelligence and love for the culture that Killer Mike found in El-P. This was more than likely a prerequisite for their continued collaboration and is one of the factors that has made both artists’ recent work shine in the midst of a never-ending sea of music.
As much as I love and have grown accustomed to hearing Mike bellow ominously over the hectic, hard-hitting production of El-P over the past few years, after replaying “Tree Of Life,” it was a pleasant change-up to listen to his rhymes over some more soulful, orthodox production.
Having worked almost exclusively with El over the past few years, dabbling with Logic's more mainstream-influenced soundscape might just be the switch-up Killer Mike needs to keep his Run The Jewels incarnation from growing stale.
Let’s also not forget that Logic is a producer on top of a being incredible emcee, and crafted a large portion of the instrumentals for his widely acclaimed recent album The Incredible True Story. Logic has the skill set to craft a sound unique to his and Mike’s chemistry, and who knows what that could sound like?
While we don't know what's on the way, if anything, the prospect of these two doing more than just a song or two together is incredibly exciting, and given Logic’s unbridled, youthful passion for hip-hop, the potential for him to push Mike in a different direction artistically could lead to some of the best work we’ve heard from either artist.
I know I’m asking a lot, hip-hop Gods, but please let this be more than just a one-off studio session.