Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3
Critic Score
Based on 31 reviews
2016 Ratings: #11 / 758
User Score
Based on 666 ratings
2016 Ratings: #15
December 25, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
Hip Hop / Genres
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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.
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.
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.


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


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.

Drowned in Sound

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pretty Much Amazing

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

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.

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.


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.

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.

The Guardian

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

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

Crack Magazine

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

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.

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.
The Needle Drop

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

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

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


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

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.

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.

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
Biggest and baddest record of the year. And there are quite a few big, bad records it had to compete with.
I'm a lover of everything Run the Jewels have put out since their excellent debut back in 2013 to their monstrous sequel effort - a near-perfect collaboration at both times that delivered with colourful, hard-hitting beats as incredibly as it did with socially-conscious themes. So with this new "christmas fucking miracle," I'm only left just utterly confused.

Am I really missing something here or am I just not hyped enough for this because at such a controversial and effecting ... read more
EL-P and Killer Mike have made a trilogy that was completely bonkers.
RTJ3 has beats that will hit you so hard you will fall over your seat and beats that are more subdued, emotional and thought-provoking. The lyrics are always fire whether they are braggadocio or socially conscious. There is never a flat moment.
To those asking if RTJ3 will be better than RTJ2, RTJ3 is a perfect sequel and one that is justifiable and necessary in its existence. It's a potent listen.
Whether you prefer ... read more
My fellow reviewers will have to excuse me for a moment here. I'm out of the hype. Ever since the pair of hip-hop titans Killer Mike and El-P united for both 2012 releases, it got clear that their united hardcore approach to the genre would definitely give birth to fine results. In fact, Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music should be considered a landmark release for recent hardcore hip-hop, with him leading the rhyhmes and El-P running the excellent diverse, vivid production, as well as a bunch of ... read more
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Track List

  1. Down [ft. Joi Gilliam]
  2. Talk to Me
  3. Legend Has It
  4. Call Ticketron
  5. Hey Kids (Bumaye) [ft. Danny Brown]
  6. Stay Gold
  7. Don’t Get Captured
  8. Thieves! (Screamed the Ghost) [ft. Tunde Adebimpe]
  9. 2100 [ft. Boots]
  10. Panther Like a Panther (Miracle Mix) [ft. Trina]
  11. Everybody Stay Calm
  12. Oh Mama
  13. Thursday in the Danger Room [ft. Kamasi Washington]
  14. Report to the Shareholders/Kill Your Masters
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Added on: December 1, 2016