Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3
Critic Score
Based on 37 reviews
2016 Ratings: #13 / 989
User Score
2016 Ratings: #42
Liked by 236 people
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The Skinny

Equal parts red-hot fire and cold hard reality, Killer Mike and El-P’s third album as Run The Jewels is a muscular call to arms.

RTJ3’ is a ludicrously consistent assault of a record, with deftness and finesse, but enough surgical precision to land haymaker after haymaker.
There’s tonnes of fun to be had from absorbing the duo’s fury, and El-P’s sci-fi beats are as thrillingly big ‘n’ bad as ever. But if 2017’s nightmarish status quo has you feeling powerless, anxious or alone, ‘RTJ3’ is the therapeutic rallying cry you need right now.
Spill Magazine

Run the Jewels 3 is an album that only slows down to so it can shift into a higher gear. 2016 may have been bleak, but thanks to Run The Jewels, 2017 will start off on the right.

The 405

RTJ3 was the best Christmas present we never knew we asked for.


RTJ3 is an excellent bookend to 2016, but it’s best used as a guide to the future, 2017 and beyond.

How viable their politics actually are is a debate for another day, but as a hip-hop record in 2017, few will come close to creating such an enthralling and vital listen.

Run the Jewels 3 is a rap armoury for hard times, a hip-hop bullhorn that afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted.

Drowned in Sound

Nobody fresh out of the blocks could ever make a record this vital sound quite so effortless.


Furious and hungry -- with endlessly quotable lyrical zingers to spare -- RTJ3's potency isn't as immediate as RTJ2. However, once it digs its claws in, RTJ3 reveals itself as their best work to date.


One of the few positives of the political shit-storm that struck the US in 2016 is that it seems to have fired up Run the Jewels once more, helping the two rappers reach previously untouched heights.


RTJ3 is essentially the Run the Jewels manifesto, an outpouring of rage and defiance that never loses sight of the objectives: rallying the troops, holding all accountable, and toppling oppression.

Northern Transmissions

Run The Jewels 3 is the most practiced, polished, and ambitious project from Run The Jewels yet, without the loss of their self-made swagger.

Spectrum Culture

Their third record, simply titled Run the Jewels 3, further expands the group’s punishing sound while remaining rooted in the unique alphabet that made them resonate in the first place.

The Line of Best Fit

Mike and El-P are on the top of their game throughout RTJ3, tag-teaming seamlessly like Kanye and Jay(-)Z on “Otis” or Tyler, The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt on “AssMilk” – they hit verses back and forth as smoothly as a ball in a table tennis rally.

Pretty Much Amazing

I also think it’s better than the first or second installments: slightly more ambitious and slightly more layered.

A.V. Club

RTJ3 can safely, accurately, and comprehensively be described as “a third Run The Jewels album.” This is a good thing. The albums are differentiated from each other not by vast stylistic shifts but by highlights—a verse or a punchline or a particularly terse beat, all of which are present here.

Consequence of Sound

The blessing and the curse of Run the Jewels 3 is that it’s still a Run the Jewels album, a promise that every song is good, nothing is bad, and depending on your mood you’ll either bask in the lack of tempo changes, pulchritudinous song structures, and surprising hooks, or you’ll seek out a more colorful record.


RTJ 3 is both a sprinter’s dip and a victory lap – it is neither as sinewy as RTJ 1 nor as effusively vivacious as 2014’s RTJ 2, but still finds itself imbibed with the kind of assured professionalism that is only permitted to those who have previously done enough to be granted a low-pressure outing.

Born out of the noxious mix of toxicity and death that seemed to dominate our global culture, Mike and El emerge from a crucible of pain and despair, battle-tested and ready to kick ass and take names.
The Young Folks

RTJ 3 isn’t the towering, thunderous album that ultimately became RTJ 2, but to consider it a lesser effort would be a fool’s errand. Rather, it’s an impacting, steadfast achievement all its own, and one that will only continue to elevate the duo’s skyrocketing cultural status.

FLOOD Magazine
The whole record is a riot act, really—and there’s immense catharsis in its appetite for destruction.

The unlikely MC tag team's incontestable third rages hard over bass-driven beats positively thrumming with vitality.

The Needle Drop

Run the Jewels returns with their most politically charged effort yet.


RTJ3 is the pair's most focused and mature work to date.

The Independent
Killer Mike and El-P bring typically sharp, visceral observations, chugging beats and superb guest artists onto their most successful studio effort to date.
Under The Radar

Such complexities not only make RTJ3 the most accomplished chapter in the duo's trilogy of LPs, but will also leave fans eagerly awaiting the next installment in what's proving to be one of hip-hop's most boldly distinctive discographies.

Crack Magazine

Following RTJ2, this record is even harder, even darker and somehow even angrier.

NOW Magazine

This album is full of bangers and achieves what so many hip-hop heads, old and new, are longing for: music with a message, loud and clear.

If this dynamic duo can keep their rebellious spirit alive without beating it to death, they’ll continue to thrive.
The Guardian

The formula is probably becoming familiar, but its time is now.

Rolling Stone

Run the Jewels can still detonate rhymes like a Molotov cocktail lobbed into a CVS, but now they're strategizing for the long war ahead.


RTJ3 ultimately mirrors the sentiment of too many movie franchise sequels that make the brand go stale.

American Songwriter

For the most part, Run the Jewels 3 is not intent on breaking new ground but rather on cementing the fruitful dynamic between El-P and Killer Mike.


Thankfully there’s enough gold at hand to excuse Run The Jewels for getting a little bit carried away with their own runaway success.

Slant Magazine

Run the Jewels 3's status as a credible but not quite compelling call to arms serves as a reminder of how difficult hip-hop partnerships are to sustain and how much the genre relies on novelty and innovation.


‘Run the Jewels 3’ is the most unknown and well-known album I know. At the time of this review, the album has 2013 user ratings (which is coincidentally the year that their debut was released), but I can’t shake the feeling that there should be more. In fact, the album itself poses a lot of interesting questions:

FIRST, are the songs good? Yes, and don’t expect anything less! There are the famous singles like “Legend Has It” and “2100”, which are ... read more


i feel like you can only begin to truly understand this album if you are of jewish heritage...


Overall, I love this album, I'd argue that RTJ2 is definitely a superior album, but still this definitely still sonically feels like a musical advancement for the duo and i'm in no way disappointed. The great songwriting found on RTJ2 isn't quite as potent here, in fact this album is more what I would have expected them to follow up their first album with, I feel like this should have been RTJ2 and RTJ2 should be RTJ3. To me, this is essentially the first album but now the beats are harder, the ... read more


they just keep going harder, track after track after track


Another great Run The Jewels album from Run The Jewels.


If the function got RTJ, I'm there before the function.

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Added on: December 1, 2016