10 COMMANDMENTS: RUN THE JEWELS
Crying is fine. Worrying, not so much. The hip-hop duo lay down their rules for living.
1 BEWARE PEOPLE WHO TALK ABOUT THEMSELVES IN THE THIRD PERSON El-P: This person is not to be trusted. They have lost their grip on reality, and their ego has transformed merely from a side-effect of their insecurities into a world view.
2 STYLE IS SUBSTANCE El-P: Learn about style. Get into your art form with the desire to contribute to the lexicon of what that craft is about. That takes research and understanding. Killer Mike: There is no perfect style. Like Bruce Lee said with [ hybrid martial art] Jeet Kune Do, you take the best of all you experience.
3 IT’S OK TO CRY KM: There’s no guard on my eyes. If I feel it, I cry. I cried when I saw those black moms march through the Democratic National Convention last year. I just broke down. El-P: We will cry on you. I’m a guy who prides himself on not crying, but he gets me every once in a while.
4 TELL YOUR FRIENDS HOW YOU FEEL El-P: The quicker you realise that your wealth is in the people around you, the better off you’re going to be. It’s what’s driven Run The Jewels. Nothing but good shit has come from my friendship with this dude. For me to be shy about that, or not even point it out, would be false.
5 EMBRACE YOUR FREEDOM KM: There’s a bunch of shit [ going on in the world]. To us it’s Trump, to you guys it’s Brexit, in India it’s nationalism that’s getting Nigerian kids jumped on. Governments, nations, cultures, all of this stuff that we agree upon, it’s all imaginary. You’re born free – you are free when you stop agreeing to the agreement that doesn’t exist. If we really want war to stop tomorrow, 18- year-old boys would only have to say, ‘We’re not going to kill each other any more.’ There would be no armies left.
6 NEVER COMPROMISE El-P: Compromise only means doing something you don’t want to do with your art. I had to go down a really hard route so that not compromising actually put money in my pocket – Def Jux [ label founded by El-P] destroyed me financially. I’ve never offered compromise as a possibility, but then I wasn’t in the same situation as Mike where I was signed to a major label [ Killer Mike’s 2003 debut came out on Columbia]… KM: That shit sucked, bro. It was just the worst. If that works for you, I don’t begrudge that. Being on a major label has worked very fucking well for [ Killer Mike associates] OutKast. The world is a better place because of OutKast!
7 STAY (POLITICALLY) ACTIVE KM: I’ve been political since I was 15 years old. Fall in love with the principles [ that matter to you] and see those through so, no matter who the physical leader is, the concept lives on. I support the [ organisation born from Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign] Our Revolution movement. Ultimately, I knew, whether Bernie Sanders won or lost, I was going to keep fighting the fight that he has for 50 years. I’m going to be sitting down to talk with him again soon.
8 THERE’S NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY OF DOING THINGS El-P: It ain’t like the old days any more, where you have the major labels versus the independents argument. None of that matters now. What really matters is that you walk into whatever situation you’re walking into with your fucking eyes open. Me and Mike? We give our shit away for free! I would never tell anyone that that’s how you should do it. That’s just how we do it.
9 STOP WORRYING KM: I never understood when my grandparents used to tell me to stop worrying, but I get it now. Take care of the shit that needs taking care of, but you can’t sit around and worry. Shit you did in the past is gone, and the future may never happen – just be in the moment. 10 DON’T LIMIT WHAT INSPIRES YOU EL-P: Don’t decide that you’ve figured out what the right version of art is – leave room to be changed by something you didn’t expect. What you’re doing now should never sound exactly like what you were doing 10 years ago.
Bernie Sanders: Killer Mike will keep fighting his fight.