RTJ CU4TRO

Run The Jewels

RTJ CU4TRO

Run The Jewels didn’t become the biggest and baddest hip-hop duo in all the land by resting on their laurels. Building one of rap’s wildest second acts off of EL-P’s indie Def Jux pedigree and Killer Mike’s coveted Dungeon Family heritage, the pair have grown in reputation and popularity with each new collaborative project from 2012’s proto-RTJ effort R.A.P. Music onwards. Energy and eclecticism define their sequentially numbered albums, reconfiguring that old-school attitude into a generationally agnostic timelessness. Still, as reliable as those records are, the fellas’ creative curiosity sometimes leads to leftfield surprises. Perhaps their most explicitly odd move came in 2015 with the release of literal pet sounds in Meow the Jewels, a novelty remix for charity with power players like The Alchemist and Prince Paul behind the boards. By contrast, the pair’s second remix album RTJ CU4TRO couldn’t be further from the kitschy meme stylings of that veritable cat party. Conceived in the wake of some inspired RTJ4 reworks by Toy Selectah (of influential Mexican hip-hop group Control Machete) and Camilo Lara’s genre-mashing Mexican Institute of Sound, the ambitious and well-executed project places their acclaimed 2020 full-length in the hands of some of Latin America’s dopest DJs, producers, and musicians, with invaluable input from longtime friend and curatorially minded collaborator Nick Hook. Fans of the original will find new voices mixed with the familiar, with Brazil’s Baco Exu do Blues and Mexican rapper Santa Fe Klan adding to “fuera de vista” and “ooh la la,” respectively. Colombian cumbia provocateurs Bomba Estéreo add a revitalizing new danceability to “Never Look Back,” now called “nunca mirar hacia atrás.” This subtle Spanish-language renaming convention does more than simply reflect the backgrounds of RTJ’s guest remixers; it also aids in making RTJ CU4TRO stand alone the way remix albums rarely ever do.

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