The dynamic duo Killer Mike and El-P are back with their finest dose of RTJ yet! Clocking in at fifty two minutes its significantly longer than the previous two installments, both of which I enjoyed ever so much but as time goes the first "RTJ" has not yielded a lot of replay value for me. That being said I really appreciate what the two are doing together and I feel like this record finds a more appealing balance with its production style as Mike and El-P dropping the playful, fun, creative raps and hooks over carefully constructed beats.
Atmosphere and mood runs thick, a tone is set without obnoxious beats like the fantastic "Oh My" with its dirty rumbling baseline. RTJ3 actually uses a lot deep baselines too, best heard with a sub woofer but its an undercurrent for the wild layers of obscure sampling and odd sounds that reside on top. Dissonant sounds are rhythmically arranged between snippets of voices and the occasional "melody" or tune drops in between the layers which on mostly shuffle between a selection of tricks, making a less repetitive backdrop for the duo's rhymes. The drums are programmed spaciously, lots of fast shuffling hi hats are subtly mixed in with sharp snares punching through and base kicks that loose themselves in the base lines. Far from bombastic it keeps tempo, leaving most of the identity to the sampling, which has the measure to be exciting, interesting and unusual without blowing of hot steam or being "over the top".
Mike and El-P are very entertaining, many a laugh to be had "Doing push ups naked on a cliff" and plenty of jaw dropping flows like "Legend has it" when the bells drops in and Mike goes of on a murderous flow. The two have a witty sense for wordplay which keeps on going track to track with no weak links. Its mostly braggadocios and rhyme skill bravado but the two do it in such good taste. In the last tracks the mood shifts to more meaningful substance and "Thursday In The Danger Room" gets deep in the feels with El-P rapping out the hardship of watching a friend die slowly. Very coherent and moving, a great track that shows the duo can do much more than boast. RTJ3 is the record I wanted, the balance feels just right for my taste and doesn't yet feel like the apex of what the two could accomplish together.
Favorite Tracks: Legends Has It, Panther Like A Panther, Thursday In The Danger Room, Kill Your Masters