If you’re hungry for new protest music right now, Mike and El have you covered. Run the Jewels dropped their fourth album, RTJ4, two days early on June 3 at noon ET, after the project was originally scheduled for June 5. “Fuck it, why wait. The world is infested with bullshit so here’s something raw to listen to while you deal with it all,” the duo of Killer Mike and El-P wrote in a note. “We hope it brings you some joy. Stay safe and hopeful out there and thank you for giving 2 friends the chance to be heard and do what they love.” The project also features a stacked guest list including 2 Chainz, Pharrell Williams, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, gospel legend Mavis Staples, and frequent collaborator Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine. And as with their past three albums, it’s available for free online, this time with the option to donate to the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Fund.
Killer Mike has been vocal as Americans across the country continue to protest police killings of unarmed black people including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and countless others. “I’m mad as hell. I woke up wanting to see the world burn yesterday, because I’m tired of seeing black men die,” he said during a speech in his hometown of Atlanta on May 30. He added that he understood why some protesters wanted to be violent, but encouraged those to “go home” and vote. He then clarified his comments to Stephen Colbert on The Late Show on June 2. “All I said was what was purely on my heart,” he said, clarifying that his message was specifically to Atlanta as a majority black “city that grows. I didn’t want us to lose hope or destroy what we have, because hope exists here.”