In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.
It’s clear from the beginning of their new collaborative project Run The Jewels that El-P and Killer Mike are going for a drastically different tone. “Give me all of your shiny things right now or else I’ll shoot you” is a far cry from condemning oneself and other rappers as “advertisements for agony and pain,” as Killer Mike did on last year’s R.A.P. Music. Initially, a tonal about-face like this might paint its authors as slightly disingenuous—it feels difficult to take their earlier cries of outrage at society’s ills seriously when they spend a huge chunk of the album detailing creative approaches to killing and maiming. However, anything but the most cursory read of Run The Jewels reveals that this is all just escapism, and it’s precisely because they’ve made their political views so clear in the past that El and Mike can get away with this kind of stylized violence and hyperbolic mugging. It’s possible, after all, to find real-life gun violence deplorable and still love Reservoir Dogs.
“Get It” acts as a condensed run-down of the album as a whole. The beat is about as close as El-P ever comes to making a party jam, crashing square-wave synths against syncopated boom-bap drums and ominous sub-bass rumbles. El and Mike trade verses, tossing off threats of violence to any and all potential challengers, contemplating robbing everyone at a party just for the hell of it, directly comparing themselves to The Avengers, and generally demanding that everyone behold their inherent awesomeness. (At one point El even says, “We’re overly fucking awesome.”) This level of posturing might be tiresome if it were coming from younger MCs, but these two have already proved themselves enough to be afforded the chance to play around with shit-talking tough-guy personas. The chorus, a chopped vocal sample that skips along and stumbles into itself, has only one line: “You know I get it.” The “it” here could refer to any number of things: guns, money, drugs, women, etc. But given the level of giddy, cartoonish braggadocio El and Mike spout all over the album, they probably (with tongues planted in cheek) mean all of the above.