Killer Mike and El-P are angry. I mean pissed. I mean off-the-chain furious, goddammit, and no one escapes their wrath—pimpin’ politicians, fuckboys and hucksters, coke-addled hustlers, corporate personhood, brutalized neighborhoods, for-profit prisons and profitless sit-ins. And when they take aim, you better run them jewels fast.

Last year, these two titans of underground rap joined up for the explosive, self-titled mixtape “Run the Jewels,” and now they’ve returned for the sizzling, scintillating, take-no-prisoners “Run the Jewels 2.” 

It’s more than a sequel, it’s a statement: Mike and El are hustling, and we’re buying. They flow through nearly 40 minutes of sheer dragon-spew, igniting everything in their path, and in the wake of the flames they dance the Charleston.

Maybe the person most on the duo’s radar is Kanye West, whose big mouth and Daft Punk production overshadowed the industrial edge of the duo’s debut. But even the genius of “Yeezus” looks like derivative drivel, which El acknowledges on  “Jeopardy.” 

“I’ve never been much of shit, by most measurements don’t exist,” he raps, nodding to his underground status. “On the radar a little blip in the shadow of motherships, been smothered and brashly muffled by hucksters of global spin.” 

Whether he’s referring to Yeezy, Walmart or the military-industrial complex, El knows his secret weapon for taking down the system is his anonymity. His beats influenced Kanye circa “808s & Heartbreak” and could probably neutralize an army, but he prefers to remain unknown: “I been here making raw shit and never asked to be applauded.”

Mike is not so conciliatory. He steals the thorny crown right off “Yeezus,” toppling idols in the process. “You know your favorite rapper ain’t shit, and me, I might be,” he bellows. “The closest representation of God you might see...prevail through Hell, so Satan get thee behind me.” 

Slinging dope and poaching on the street, Mike knows he’s no role model (“the villains is here, no Jesuses here”), but if he’s bound to burn, might as well make the Devil pay: “The gates of hell are pugnaciously pacing, waiting, I give a fuck if I’m late, tell Satan be patient.” We’re all sinners in the hands of an angry Mike, and the tithe never looked so affordable.

Mission statement loud and clear, Run the Jewels bulldoze the rest of their competition. The brain-bashing thump of “Blockbuster Night Part 1” makes it the most likely to soundtrack some debauched warehouse orgy, while “Lie, Cheat, Steal” gives us a gym-tan-laundry routine for the next session of Congress. 

Run the Jewels are at their best when they razor their way through the tragedy of life on the street and find humor in its absurdity. Forget, for a moment, that they raised $40,000 to remix “Run the Jewels 2” solely using cat noises. They send up rap’s casual misogyny in “Love Again (Akinyele Back)” when Mike and Gangsta Boo of Three 6 Mafia exchange boasts about fellatio and cunnilingus.

The track, however, that shows Run the Jewels at their angriest—and their funniest—is the masterfully titled “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck).” Over the constant  refrain of“run them jewels fast,” Mike conjures a storm of black power imagery, calling on mandatory minimum inmates to start a prison riot. 

His agony is palpable in lines like “We killin’ ’em for freedom ’cuz they tortured us for boredom, and even if the good ones die, fuck it, the Lord’ll sort ’em.” 

El proceeds to gross us out with his “vagina whispering” and “conjugal visiting” before Mike brings it back to solitary confinement and fathers ripped from their families only to vow vengeance on the system that put them there. The song even pulls Zack de la Rocha out of rap-metal obscurity so he can rat-tat-tat the triple entendre “Philip AK Dickin’ you.”

“Run the Jewels 2” is what happens when two rappers at the top of their game get angry and make a record. It’s both brutal and hilarious, offering release from, and access to, the overwhelming reality of systemic racism in the U.S. Mike and El aren’t ones to pass up a chance to fight, and they’ve made an album that never backs down.