‘Legend Has It’ doesn’t exactly start out with a whimper - instead, it makes the bold claim that Run the Jewels are America’s new peanut butter and jelly duo, with a classic album ready to unleash. Speaking to DIY late last year, Killer Mike reasoned that “as a rapper you have to envisage yourself right at the top. I mean, the bullshit we talk on the records..” But though they’re indulging in a little satirical braggery here, Run the Jewels are at the top of their game, alright, piss-taking or otherwise.
Alongside all their establishment-toppling vitriol, there’s a now-trademark RTJ playfulness to ‘Legend Has It’. Sharing teasers of the track in its early stages, El-P garnered a fair bit of attention when he rapped the choice line “I got a Unicorn horn for a cock”. On the final version, comedian and musician Emily Panic finishes the line instead, wearily telling him to “stop” with the genital references. The first taste of RTJ3 is peppered with some decidedly eclectic pop culture references, too; ranging from Nicolas Cage film ‘Con Air’ to dating app Tinder (‘I am the living swipe right on the mic, I’m a slut,” El-P quips).
Early previews of RTJ3 - both’Legend Has It’ and their Boots collab ‘2100’ - are hinting at a slight tweak in tact, and a shift from all out despair to something reparative and hopeful. The duo that won’t stop shapeshifting are back, right when 2016 needs them.