One of the most exciting things about hip-hop is its ability to bring together and unite people of different races and backgrounds. Often collaborative projects can be predictable, but every now and then one will come along that really stirs things up. This is what brings us to Manchester’s Academy venue, where we are sat opposite Atlanta’s Killer Mike, a member of the legendary Dungeon Family, and signee of T.I.’s Grand Hustle imprint, best known to the mainstream for his verse on Outkast’s Grammy award winning single ‘Whole World’. Next to him is El-P, a New York rapper and producer known for shaking shit up, starting off with Company Flow whose 1997 album Funcrusher Plus defined the backpack generation and later went solo, dropping a number of incredible solo projects as well as starting up his own influential indie label Def Jux; the man has become synonymous with boundary-pushing underground hip-hop music.
Like some unexpected comic book team-up they formed Run The Jewels, an experimental collaborative exercise that has become a fully fledged rap group, and an unexpected career peak for the pair who are both approaching 40. Their seemingly conflicting fanbases were eased into the process back in 2012 when they simultaneously dropped solo albums that contained each others influence; El with Cancer 4 Cure which features Mike on standout cut ‘Tougher Colder Killer’ and Mike with R.A.P Music, an album produced in its entirety by El. They later went on tour together to support the records, which is when they began recording sessions for a collaborative album called Run The Jewels.