Run The Jewels Show America As The Little Shop Of Horrors It’s Becoming (Video)
Never ones to back down from melding political opinion with music, Killer Mike and El-P have made Run The Jewels arguably one of the most outspoken acts in Hip-Hop today. Whether addressing the flawed criminal-justice system in a music video or speaking out against Trumpian policies during live performances, the critically acclaimed duo has been releasing message-driven art for years, managing always to push the envelope creatively.
It’s no surprise, then, that RTJ’s latest video is again a treat for the mind and eye. For “Don’t Get Captured,” the latest single from December’s Run the Jewels 3, the two appear in claymation, but the concept is 100% real spit. Taking place in a macabre underground tunnel populated by skulls and funhouse mirrors, the video is clearly a metaphor for life in America (and, to an extent, the rest of the world). Our paths are in large part predetermined, enforced by the power structure in such a way that we have no choice but to experience poverty, racism, violence, consumerism, and the like.
As Run The Jewels go for the somber ride through the “little shop of horrors,” all of the aforementioned plagues combine to result in gentrification, embodied in the video by skeletons donning top hats, driving wrecking balls through neighborhoods and replacing them with businesses catering to affluence. The concept is embodied in the opening lines of El-P’s verse, in which he raps from the perspective of hegemony: “Good day from the house of the haunted / Get a job, get a house, get a coffin / Don’t stray from the path, remain where you at/ That maximizes our profit / Is that blunt? Oh well, hell, so’s this boot / We live to hear you say “please don’t shoot” / A pure delight, c’mon, make my night / When I file reports what’s right’s what I write.”
Directed by Chris Hopewell, “Don’t Get Captured” ends the way one might expect, with the people causing the most uproar being exterminated by the system. That does not, however, take away from the video’s powerful symbolism, which includes the sawing apart of the planet, which some might argue is precisely the direction in which we’re headed as it relates to climate change…