Killer Mike has won Grammys, appeared on timeless and top-selling albums, jumped on classic songs, worked with greats including OutKast, Jay Z and T.I., but the almost 20-year vet says he didn’t really have his coming out as an artist until about four years ago when his super group Run the Jewels started to form and take off.
The collective's self-titled debut was released by Fools Gold in 2013, but it was their second LP, 2014's Run The Jewels 2--released on Nas’ Mass Appeal label--that really put the tandem on the map by being lauded as the best project of the year by media outlets and throngs of fans, causing promoters to call RTJ for extensive touring.
The duo vied to release the third LP in the trilogy, Run The Jewels 3, via their own company Run The Jewels Inc. and recently, when they sat down with Drink Champs hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, cleared the air about the break saying they are still close with their Mass Appeal friends and talk to Nas often.
“It’s Nas’ label, but we knew the people from that label. That label used to be Decon [Records],” El-P began to explain. “They worked with Alchemist, they put out a bunch of shit. The guys from Decon merged with Mass Appeal and partnered with Nas. We knew them from previous stuff because we had [Definitive] Jux. We worked with them to some degree on different stuff. We were peers to some degree. Every label we worked with, it was right at the time. We always kept the commitment very minimal. And we just moved on. One album deals.”
“And we still partner with them on some film stuff,” Mike added of their continued dealings with Mass Appeal. “I want to say, we really still f--k with Peter [Bittenbender] and Nas. They ran an A1 ship with us and I really appreciate it. A lot of times, when you see people deal with a label and then don’t deal with a label, there’s feelings. I still deal with them on a regular. We’re still doing things together. I’ve actually befriended Nas and Peter. It’s crazy because doing business on the way we’ve done business on a smaller, independent scale, has given me faith in the music industry again where I kinda lost it. Because it felt like a game where everybody tried to finesse everyone vs. people just doing square business.”
“There is no label,” El said about the infrastructure on Run The Jewels Inc. “It’s just our management and a group of people we hired do what a label could do. It’s just a smaller version of it.”
Run The Jewels 3 dropped digitally on December 24 and physically on January 13.
Run The Jewels do a lot more chopping it up on everything from politics and personal stories about experimenting with lean to Gucci Mane’s A&R prowess and why how Killer Mike knew Desiigner was not from the south upon first hearing “Panda.”
Tune in to Drink Champs every Thursday at 11 PM ET on REVOLT. Be sure to catch the re-air Saturday nights at midnight ET.