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Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels
Killer Mike (left) and El-P (right) in March 2014
Killer Mike (left) and El-P (right) in March 2014
Background information
Also known asRTJ
OriginUnited States
Years active2013–present
Associated acts

Run the Jewels, also known by the initialism RTJ, is an American hip hop supergroup duo consisting of rapper-producer El-P and rapper Killer Mike. They released their self-titled debut studio album as a free download in 2013, to critical acclaim. This was followed by Run the Jewels 2 in 2014, Run the Jewels 3 in 2016, and RTJ4 in 2020, all of which received similar acclaim.



Killer Mike was first introduced to El-P by Cartoon Network executive Jason DeMarco in 2011.[1] El-P produced Mike's 2012 album R.A.P. Music, which was soon followed by Mike's appearance on the track "Tougher Colder Killer" from El-P's 2012 album Cancer 4 Cure. When R.A.P. Music and Cancer 4 Cure were released within weeks of each other, the two rappers decided to tour together. The success of the tour eventually led to the decision to form the supergroup Run the Jewels,[2][3] taking their name from the lyrics of the 1990 LL Cool J song "Cheesy Rat Blues."[4]

Run the Jewels (2013)

On June 26, 2013, Run the Jewels released their self-titled debut album on Fool's Gold Records as a free download.[5] The duo then released a free track as part of the yearly Adult Swim Singles Program on the 2013 edition with the single "36" Chain."

Run the Jewels 2 (2014–15)

El-P (left) and Killer Mike (right) with Zack de la Rocha (center) at the 2015 Coachella Festival

Run The Jewels 2 was released through Mass Appeal Records on October 24, 2014.[6] A light-hearted remix album composed entirely of cat sounds titled Meow the Jewels was released on September 25, 2015.[7] It features guest production from the likes of Prince Paul, Boots, Geoff Barrow, Zola Jesus, The Alchemist, Just Blaze and others.[8] Proceeds from the album went entirely to charity.[9] They also announced the release of a traditional remix album of Run the Jewels 2 which was to be released via Fool's Gold Records in 2015.[10]

Like the previous year, Adult Swim released the 2014 edition of their compilation, which saw the release of the lead single from Run the Jewels 2, "Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)," while the non-album single "Rubble Kings (Dynamite on the Street)" was released in 2015.

Run the Jewels supported Jack White at Madison Square Garden on January 30, 2015.[11] In early 2015, it was announced that the band would perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June. In addition to these larger festivals, RTJ also announced performances at the Boston Calling Music Festival, the Big Guava Music Festival, the Pitchfork Music Festival, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and the Music Midtown Festival in Atlanta, Georgia; Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker was slated to join them.[12] Trackstar the DJ served as Run the Jewels' DJ during their RTJ2 tour.[13]

Killer Mike revealed that the duo would begin work on Run the Jewels 3 in January 2015.[14] Run the Jewels released an exclusive 12-inch on April 18, 2015 in conjunction with Record Store Day. The record included a new track ("Bust No Moves" feat. SL Jones) in addition to three previously-released songs.[15]

The single "Lie, Cheat, Steal," released in 2015, was later used as the theme song to the Netflix documentary series Dirty Money.[16][17][18]

Run the Jewels 3 (2016–18)

In 2016, Adult Swim was once again used to release "Talk to Me" from Run the Jewels 3.[19] Run the Jewels then released the song "Love Again" featuring Gangsta Boo. "Love Again" went on to win Run the Jewels the UK Music Video Awards for "Best Urban Video" and "Best Editing in a Video."[20]

Run the Jewels 3 was digitally released on December 24, 2016,[21] three weeks prior to its previously announced release date of January 13, 2017.[22] Physical release of the album appeared on January 13 in the United States and January 20 elsewhere.[21][23] In the same month, Adult Swim’s late-night anime block Toonami promoted the album by replacing regular music with tracks from the album.

In June 2017, the track "Legend Has It" from Run the Jewels 3 was featured in the teaser trailer for Marvel's Black Panther during game four of the 2017 NBA Finals, and was viewed 89 million times in 24 hours.[24][25] Multiple Run the Jewels tracks were also featured in the 2017 action film Baby Driver, which also featured a cameo by Killer Mike. In September 2017, Run the Jewels released "Mean Demeanor," a track created for the football video game FIFA 18.

In March 2018, Adult Swim released a Run the Jewels/Rick and Morty crossover music video for "Oh Mama."[26] The music was a remix of "Oh Mama" from Run the Jewels 3 accompanied by sound effects from a Rick and Morty short. The effort was directed by Juan Meza-León, and was released prior to Run the Jewels headlining the 2018 Adult Swim Festival on October 7, 2018.[27][28]

On December 12, 2019, the single "Legend Has It" was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.[29]

RTJ4 (2018–present)

On October 11, 2018, Run the Jewels released a new song titled "Let's Go (The Royal We)", which was featured in the 2018 superhero film Venom and debuted on Zane Lowe's Apple Music's Beats 1 show. It was also confirmed that their fourth album was in the works.[30] The duo will provide music for the upcoming video game Cyberpunk 2077, along with several other artists.[31]

On March 22, 2020, Run the Jewels released "Yankee and the Brave (ep.4)" as the first single from RTJ4.[32] Four days later, they released the second single, "Ooh LA LA" (featuring Greg Nice and DJ Premier).[33] The album was released digitally on June 3rd, 2020, two days earlier than their announced released date of June 5th, with a physical release in September 2020.[34] It was their first album to be officially titled under its abbreviated name as opposed to the formatting of previous albums, which would have rendered the title Run the Jewels 4.[35]

On June 6 the same year, and similar to RTJ3, Toonami once again promoted the album, replacing regular music in bumps with music from the album.


As part of the promotion for Run the Jewels 2, the duo started a "Tag the Jewels" movement encouraging graffiti artists from around the world to tag their rendition of the duo's signature "pistol and fist" hand gesture, as featured on all of their album covers. 30 artists were invited to participate in the movement, creating large murals on six continents.[36][37] The same "pistol and fist" gesture was featured on the covers of several Marvel comic books since 2015. Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso was the driving force behind the gesture's incorporation into variant covers for Deadpool #45, Howard the Duck #2, Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars #1,[38][39] Black Panther #2, Cage #1 and Doctor Strange/Punisher: Magic Bullets #1 variant. In the video game Borderlands 3 one of playable character FL4K's pets will throw up the duo's "pistol and fist" gesture when interacted with.


  • Jaime "El-P" Meline – vocals, production
  • Michael "Killer Mike" Render – vocals
Touring members
  • Gabe "Trackstar the DJ" Moskoff – turntables, samples, backing vocals


Studio albums




Awards & nominations

Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards is an annual awards ceremony presented by The Recording Academy. Run The Jewels has been nominated for one award.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2018 "Chase Me" (Danger Mouse Featuring Run The Jewels & Big Boi) Best Rap Song Nominated [42]

MTV Video Music Awards

The Video Music Awards (commonly abbreviated as the VMAs) is an awards show presented by MTV to honor the best in the music video medium.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2017 "Nobody Speak" (with DJ Shadow) Best Cinematography Nominated [43]

UK Music Video Awards

The UK Music Video Awards is an annual celebration of creativity, technical excellence and innovation in music video and moving image for music. Run The Jewels have won two awards from six nominations.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2014 A Christmas F*cking Miracle Best Urban Video – Budget Nominated [44]
2015 Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck) (feat Zack de la Rocha) Best Urban Video-International Nominated
Lie, Cheat, Steal Best Urban Video – Budget Nominated
Early Best Lyric Video Nominated
2016 Love Again (with Gangsta Boo) Best Urban Video-International Won
Best Editing in a Video Won

NME Awards

The NME Awards is an annual music awards show in the United Kingdom, founded by the music magazine, NME (New Musical Express) . Run The Jewels have received three nominations (Best Album in 2015, and Best Festival Band and Best International Band in 2016) and won two awards (Best Festival Band and Best International Band in 2016).

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2016 Run The Jewels Best International Band Won [45]

A2IM Libera Awards

The A2IM Libera Awards is an annual music awards show created by the American Association of Independent Music. Run The Jewels have won five awards from eleven nominations.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2015 Meow the Jewels / Tag the Jewels Marketing Genius Award Won [46]
Run The Jewels Hardest Working Artist of the Year Nominated
Run the Jewels 2 Groundbreaking Album of the Year Won
Album of the Year Nominated
2016 Run The Jewels Best Live Act Nominated
Meow The Jewels Creative Packaging Nominated
#12DaysofRTJ Marketing Genius Award Won
Close Your Eyes (and Count to F*ck) Video of the Year Won
2017 Run the Jewels 3 Album of the Year Nominated
Best Rap/Hip-Hop Album Won
Run The Jewels Best Live Act Nominated


  1. ^ Christopher R. Weingarten (24 October 2014). "Run the Jewels: 2014's Brashest Rap Duo Comes Back From Oblivion". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Run The Jewels: Tiny Desk Concert". Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  3. ^ Frannie Kelley (11 November 2014). "Run The Jewels: 'I'm Taking This Life'". NPR - Microphone Check. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  4. ^ Mike, Killer (26 June 2013). "Doubling Down with Run the Jewels". Interview Magazine (Interview). Interviewed by Erin Brady. Archived from the original on 4 October 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  5. ^ Jake Paine (23 June 2013). "Killer Mike & El-P "Run The Jewels" Release Date, Tracklist & Album Download". Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  6. ^ Evan Minsker (21 August 2014). "El-P and Killer Mike Announce Run The Jewels' New Album RTJ2, Share "Blockbuster Night"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Run the Jewels Drop Meow the Jewels". Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  8. ^ thereallyrealelp. "sorry I meant HERE are your meow the jewels producers". Instagram. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Meow The Jewels Is Happening". Stereogum. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Killer Mike and El-P Detail Run the Jewels' RTJ2 Album, Announce Tour". Pitchfork. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  11. ^ Luke Morgan Britton (January 11, 2015). "Run The Jewels to support Jack White at Madison Square Garden gig". NME. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  12. ^ Ollman, Jonah. "Boston Calling Announces May 2015 Lineup". Sound of Boston. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  13. ^ Nelson Liu (October 31, 2014). "Premiere: Trackstar the DJ's "RTJ2 Tour Mix"". Mass Appeal. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  14. ^ Chris DeVille (December 11, 2014). "Work On Run The Jewels 3 Begins Next Month". Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  15. ^ Ryan Middleton (April 19, 2015). "Run The Jewels Shares 'Bust No Moves' As Record Store Day Exclusive". Music Times. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  16. ^ Sylvia (2020-04-15). "Dirty Money Season 3: Release Date, Cast, Plot, Everything You Should Know!". 𝕿𝖊𝖈𝖍𝖓𝖔 𝕴𝖓𝖋𝖔 𝕻𝖑𝖚𝖘. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  17. ^ Cobb, Kayla (2018-02-09). "Alex Gibney And The Directors Of 'Dirty Money' Discuss How Netflix's Shocking And Necessary Docu-series Came To Be". Decider. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  18. ^ Van Luling, Todd (2020-03-14). "This Netflix Show Calls Jared Kushner The 'Slumlord Millionaire'". HuffPost. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  19. ^ "Adult Swim Singles". Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  20. ^ "- ukmva 2019". Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  21. ^ a b DiMeglio, Mary J. (December 26, 2016). "Run the Jewels' New Album, 'RTJ3,' Released Early: Listen". Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  22. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (December 25, 2016). "Run the Jewels Release RTJ3: Listen". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  23. ^ Hunt, El (January 27, 2017). "Hold up! It's Run the Jewels". DIY. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  24. ^ Kit, Borys (June 12, 2017). "'Black Panther' Teaser Trailer Racks Up 89M Views in First 24 Hours (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 13, 2017. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  25. ^ Woerner, Meredith (June 9, 2017). "First 'Black Panther' trailer brings Wakanda (and Run the Jewels) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  26. ^ "Rick and Morty x Run The Jewels: Oh Mama". YouTube. June 18, 2018.
  27. ^ "Adult Swim Fetival". Adult Swim Festival. June 18, 2018.
  28. ^ "Watch 'Rick and Morty' Slay Aliens in Run the Jewels' 'Oh Mama' Video". Rolling Stone. June 18, 2018.
  29. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum Certifications". RIAA. December 12, 2019.
  30. ^ Bloom, Madison (October 11, 2018). "Run the Jewels Drop New Venom Song "Let's Go (The Royal We)": Listen". Pitchfork.
  31. ^ Minsker, Evan (December 13, 2019). "Cyberpunk 2077 to Feature New Songs By Run the Jewels, Grimes, A$AP Rocky, More". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  32. ^ "Run The Jewels on Instagram: "RTJ 4 | Photography by @timsaccenti"". Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  33. ^ "Listen to Run the Jewels' New Song "Ooh LA LA"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  34. ^ "Run The Jewels on Instagram: "JUNE 5 2020 - Pre Order now via Cover art @timsaccenti Tracklist art @nickgazin"". Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  35. ^ Tucker, Kelly (October 5, 2019). "El-P Says Run the Jewels Are Working on RTJ4 But Don't Have a Release Date". mxdwn Music. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  36. ^ Andrew LaSane (27 October 2014). "Run the Jewels Launches a Global "Tag the Jewels" Street Art Project". Complex. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  37. ^ "Tag the Jewels — About". Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  38. ^ Christopher R. Weingarten (16 January 2015). "See Marvel Comics' Tribute to Run the Jewels". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  39. ^ "Marvel release third comic with Run The Jewels cover". Fact Magazine. 21 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  40. ^ Torres, Eric (May 27, 2015). "Run the Jewels Announce Jewel Runner Fall Tour With Incredible Poster". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  41. ^ Havens, Lyndsey (November 1, 2016). "Run the Jewels Announce 'Run The World' 2017 Tour". Billboard. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  42. ^ "Grammys 2018 Winners: The Complete List". Billboard. January 28, 2018. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  43. ^ "MTV VMAs 2017: The Full Nominations List". Pitchfork. July 25, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  44. ^ "UKmvas past winners". ukmva. October 27, 2017. Archived from the original on November 1, 2017. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  45. ^ "NME Awards 2016 winners". NME Awards. February 17, 2016. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  46. ^ "A2IM Libera Awards past winners". A2IM Awards. Retrieved November 21, 2017.

External links