Run The Jewels Bear Down On A Legal System That’s Stacked Against Us (Video)
Run The Jewels and powerful visuals have become synonymous. Since taking the Hip-Hop world by storm with their eponymous 2014 debut, El-P and Killer Mike have established the RTJ brand as one that is politically minded, unafraid to push boundaries, explosive on stage, and artfully innovative in video form. Fans have come to expect message-driven music from the duo, whose energy pairs the revolutionary with the accessible through highly conceptual ideas and raw, unadulterated raps and beats. Their latest, a video for Run The Jewels 3‘s “Legend Has It,” does not disappoint.
Though humorous in parts, it’s an oddball horror story at its core, exploring the theme of guilt, innocence, and the bastardization of the entire legal system. In a Usual Suspects-styled sequence, El-P and Killer Mike line up at a police station, apparently suspects for some kind of crime. A man in a full body cast carrying a blue balloon (because, why not?) appears, perhaps a side effect of the LSD flowing through El’s and Mike’s bloodstreams. As the story unfolds, hallucinations merge with reality, and it soon becomes apparent that Run The Jewels and the video’s director are, like the rest of us, living in a world where what’s in front of our eyes is not always what’s really there. As the duo are considered suspects alongside a nun, a handicapped man, and a fireman with a kitten, it’s obvious that El-P and Killer Mike are being seen as the guiltiest of the bunch. What transpires is a phantasmagoric exercise in examining the psychological implications of an unfair legal system.
In a statement posted alongside the video on RTJ’s Facebook page, director Brian Beletic said “We live in a world where the stronger the truth the greater the opposition.” As such, El-P and Killer Mike play two characters under suspicion by the police, and from the get-go, “the cards are stacked heavily against them.” The video urges viewers to ask why Run The Jewels face an unfair legal battle, as their ordeal serves as a metaphor for that universal experience of being wrongfully accused. As Beletic explains, for the two involved, “this video is a worst nightmare scenario. High on acid and caught in the system. Pitted against icons of innocence in a police line up that doesn’t feel real.”
Heads can check out “Legend Has It” in its live-performance form by checking out Run The Jewels on The Tonight Show, where they appeared earlier this week.