In honor of the five-year anniversaries of their last solo albums, Killer Mike (R.A.P. Music) and El-P (Cancer 4 Cure) recently sat down for an interview with Mass Appeal to discuss the genesis of Run The Jewels and the difference between operating as a solo artist and as a member of a group.
While their union has undoubtedly elevated their respective careers to a higher level, Mike and El-P both experienced solo success prior to the June 2013 release of Run The Jewels.
Does this mean they miss working as solo artists?
"That shit’s fucking lonely," Mike said. "If I want to be a solo artist, [I’ll] just rap in the shower by myself. I love the solo career I’ve had. It has been very cool, very fun, very rewarding. And I love being a part of this group even more than I have any other part of my career. Getting a chance to be truly free, to be truly encouraged, to go the distances we have, to work with a producer who is one of the best in the world, and to have him as my friend and compadre and making music: it is just the perfect situation."
Unlike most successful rap groups in hip-hop history—Wu-Tang Clan, N.W.A, Goodie Mob—whose members have splintered after years of working together to begin their career, Mike and El-P came together to form Run The Jewels after years of solo work.
"We came into a group out of solo records, so that part of our ego got kind of left there and we have dedicated ourselves fully to being the most kick-ass rap group in the world," Mike continued. "And I hope we’re accomplishing that on the other side of the microphone."
Having released three acclaimed albums just four years into their joint career, I'd say Mike and El-P are on the right path.