Protest 100: Run The Jewels – ‘Ju$t’

Artist:          Run The Jewels

Song:           Ju$t

Album:        RTJ4

Producer:    El-P

Label:          Jewel Runners

Year:           2020

Notes:
Killer Mike crushes the words ‘real deal.’ He and El-P are Run The Jewels. Together they’ve been talking about what’s happening way before it even started. On ‘Ju$t’ the Atlanta/New York duo (with guests Pharrell Williams and Zach de la Rocha) takes direct aim at their country’s troubled racial history. El-P started working on ‘RTJ4’ in late 2018 and originally had a June 5, 2020, digital release scheduled. RTJ moved it up a couple of days though as protests broke out across the country in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, a process best explained themselves:

“Fuck it, why wait. The world is infested with bullshit so here’s something raw to listen to while you deal with it all. We hope it brings you some joy. Stay safe and hopeful out there and thank you for giving 2 friends the chance to be heard and do what they love. With sincere love and gratitude, Jaime + Mike” (Instagram)

[PS: Killer Mike is a metal head.]

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
“We got some shit that needs dealing with. Now!”

Lyrics:
Mastered economics ’cause you took yourself from squalor (slave)
Mastered academics ’cause your grades say you a scholar (slave)
Mastered Instagram ’cause you can instigate a follow (shit)
Look at all these slave masters posin’ on yo’ dollar (get it, yeah)

Look at all these slave masters (ay)
Posin’ on yo’ dollar (get it, yeah)
Look at all these slave masters (ay)
Posin’ on yo’ dollar (get it)
Look at all these slave masters (ay)
Posin’ on yo’ dollar (get it, yeah)
Look at all these slave masters

Ay
Business time, I’m on mine, I be mindin’ mine (make money)
Every time on my grind, I’m just tryna shine (stay sunny)
Make a dollar, government, they want a dozen dimes (no cap)
The petty kind, might kill ya ’cause they see you shine (stay strapped)
I done had to have a talk with myself many times (for real)
Am I a hypocrite ’cause I know I did plenty crimes? (yes, I’m ill)
I get broke too many times, I might slang some dimes (back to trappin’)
You believe corporations runnin’ marijuana? (How that happen? Ooh)
And your country gettin’ ran by a casino owner (ooh)
Pedophiles sponsor all these fuckin’ racist bastards (they do)
And I told you once befo’ that you should kill your master (it’s true)
Now that’s the line that’s probably gon’ get my ass assassinated (yeah-yeah, yeah)

Master of these politics, you swear that you got options (slave, yeah)
Master of opinion ’cause you vote with the white collar (slave)
The Thirteenth Amendment says that slavery’s abolished (shit)
Look at all these slave masters posin’ on yo’ dollar (get it)

Look at all these slave masters (ay)
Posin’ on yo’ dollar (get it, yeah)
Look at all these slave masters (ay)
Posin’ on yo’ dollar (get it)
Look at all these slave masters (ay)
Posin’ on yo’ dollar (get it, yeah)
Look at all these slave masters

Man, you better duck out, get the bag and then bug out (uh)
Try to run home, you might run your luck out
‘Cause just when your bases loaded
They’ll roll a grenade in the dugout (you’re out)
Earth folk, not a mellow bunch
We got our thumbs in the air like hell or bust (uh)
Look at who we done blessed with our trust
I don’t think we’ll be left with too much
Hand on my heart and my mind on my drugs
Got a Vonnegut punch for your Atlas shrugs
They love to not love it’s just that dumb
Lord, sweet Buddha please make me numb
Brain bounce off walls like a sentient Roomba
Just found out his creator’s stupid
Lit by the supermoon, I’m too lucid
Plus got shrooms in the blood, I’m zoomin’
Beep beep, Richie, this is New York City
The X on the map where the pain keep hitting
Just us ducks here sitting
Where murderous chokehold cops still earnin’ a livin’
Funny how some say money don’t matter
That’s rich now, isn’t it, get it? Comedy
Try to sell a pack a smokes to get food
Get killed and it’s not an anamoly
But hey, it’s just money

Mastered economics ’cause you took yourself from squalor (slave, yeah)
Mastered academics ’cause your grades say you a scholar (slave)
Mastered Instagram ’cause you can instigate a follow (shit, yeah)
Look at all these slave masters (yeah-yeah)
Let it sink in (yeah)

2020, run the map
Raw, uncut, yeah my hourglass
Don’t watch it spill to the bottom half
You see the piece, now run it fast
On the tarmac, in a starter jack
C4 when I run it back
Like a track star, run a record lap?
Nah, like when his needle catch (yeah)
Clean look, poet pugilist
A shooters view, a Zapruder flick (yeah)
Too rude for ya rudiments
Who convinced you you could move against the crew?
In this, comin’ up through the fence
Off shore outta Port-au-Prince (yeah)
Overture left his fingerprints
On our hearts at the gate and the world our residence
How can we be the peace?
When the beast gonna reach for the worst (yeah)
Tear all the flesh off the Earth
Stage set for a deafening reckoning
Quick like the pace of a verse
So I’m questioning this quest for things
As a recipe for early death threatening (yeah)
But the breath in me is weaponry
For you, it’s just money

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

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