With a love of the blang and a mutual respect for one another, two of the rap world’s biggest names, Killer Mike & El-P have teamed up once again, this time under their new alias Run The Jewels to produce the first cut, ’36” Chain’ for Adult Swim’s Summer “singles” series.
Spaced out frothy beats explode in the form of swirls and pops, as pitched down, snippets of Mike’s husky drawls burn the words “Run The Jewels” into your memory. And that’s just the opening. There’s a throwback quality ‘Kick out the jams’ loops on delay, anthem feel to ‘36” Chain’, that I’d be lying if I said wasn’t overwhelming on first listen. Making sense of what feels like a series of erratic explosions too close together, Killer Mike drops a flurry of quick-witted lines amidst an ethereal flowiness– a staple of El-P’s production style, layered beneath bouts of bursting digital effects that when all is said and done, 36” Chains illicit a futuristic feel that melt through what were once your speakers.
Over the next 15 weeks a buzzworthy roster of artists ranging from heavy hitters Madlib, Freddie Gibbs, Lil B and Miguel to post-punk act Metz, soulful crooner Mac DeMarco and Manchester’s master of experimental mood music, Andy Stott, each put in work to create an exclusive track, complete with killer artwork and the ability to download for free. Of course it wouldn’t be Adult Swim without some dream team collaborations from acts like Flying Lotus’ Captain Murphy and Viktor Vaughn (aka DOOM) to New York rapper Mykki Blanco and wavy producer Friendzone also lending to what will most likely be one of the best compilations you’ll hear all summer.
Over the next several months Adult Swim also plans to release accompanying music videos, live footage from their trip to Primavera Sound (Barcelona’s premiere music festival) as well as a few special sessions produced by the video-based website, Yours Truly.
The first exclusive content comes in the form of an interview with the Grammy-winning rapper where he revealed details of a forthcoming 10-song collaborative album with rapper and producer El-P, a follow up to their 2012 release R.A.P. Music on Adult Swim’s imprint, Williams Street Records. The album which will be a free download, and a no gimmicks record, as Mike explains, “Rapping for rapping’s sake,” is a labor of love project between two friends, adding “We’re just two black and white boys rapping our hearts out, and that little ginger can rap.” Mike also promises the release will include rarities and limited edition items, (I’m guessing vinyl) that will be available for purchase.
What’s more, Adult Swim’s revamped Williams Street Records, operating under the Warner Bros. umbrella is working to give participating artists recognition on a grand scale through their devout fan following and carefully curated content. This ingenious marketing plan involves the use of their own network’s programming as a platform to promote envelope-pushing new artists, giving them access to major label backing and tour opportunities. And with the ideal target audience at their fingertips, Adult Swim has become an extremely attractive outlet for artists to work on forward thinking new projects, while taking their music to the next level.