Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
Buy On
  1. Jan 10, 2017
    100
    In equal parts an unequivocal call to arms and an excitable ode to a wonderful friendship, even in the company it keeps. RTJ3 shines.
  2. 100
    There’s tonnes of fun to be had from absorbing the duo’s fury, and El-P’s sci-fi beats are as thrillingly big ‘n’ bad as ever.
  3. Jan 4, 2017
    100
    The duo’s knack for high five-worthy boasts and massive one-liners remains undiluted. However, RTJ3 truly excels in some of its darkest moments.
  4. Jan 3, 2017
    95
    We've had countless albums predicating calls for mobilisation before, and they're generally provocative and valued but ultimately specious, but on RTJ3 there's a visceral directness that cuts to the aorta.
  5. Jan 5, 2017
    93
    The group has evolved by revealing that sentiment is eternal. RTJ3 sharpens that revelation and encases it in lustrous, dazzling gold. The crooks had the jewels all along.
  6. The Wire
    Jun 2, 2017
    90
    Every track is a killer. [Mar 2017, p.54]
  7. Feb 2, 2017
    90
    How viable their politics actually are is a debate for another day, but as a hip-hop record in 2017, few will come close to creating such an enthralling and vital listen.
  8. 90
    This isn’t simply a rap album. It’s a political album. It’s an educated album. It’s a creative hodgepodge of beats, ideas, and idealisms. And most of all, right now, it’s an important album.
  9. Jan 12, 2017
    90
    This is an album that could easily be subtitled Mission Accomplished, but for once, it feels like bowing out on top would be ill-advised. That, in itself, is quite the compliment.
  10. Jan 10, 2017
    90
    In short, RTJ3 is near perfect in its execution. They're so good at this that it seems almost unfair in its effortlessness.
  11. Dec 29, 2016
    90
    If "bloody," "urgent," "enraged" and "heartening" were enough description to sum up El-P and Killer Mike's latest Run the Jewels album, this review could end here. But they aren't; this late 2016 LP, along with the duo's various collaborative tracks with several DJs and rappers all year, have officially placed RTJ high on the shelf of the "hard to describe" category.
  12. Jan 5, 2017
    88
    The tracks tumble out in short three- and four-minute bursts with barely a pause. The density of the wordplay heightens the dizzying momentum.
  13. Jan 3, 2017
    86
    It isn’t quite as punchy as RTJ2, which was brutish in its tactics, with nonstop bangs and thrills, but RTJ3 is a triumph in its own right that somehow celebrates the success of a seemingly unlikely friendship and mourns the collapse of a nation all at once.
  14. 85
    This proves that it's Mike's rare ability to make powerful and relevant political music that sets him apart from the crowd.
  15. Jan 3, 2017
    85
    The irony of releasing three beautiful albums it that even a great album like "RTJ3" can still wind up being ranked third in descending order. As good as it is nothing here can top "Crown," "Angel Duster" or "Early" for me. By no means is this in any way a negative. It's like saying you're going to listen to your third favorite Ice Cube or third favorite Michael Jackson album--you're still going to wind up listening to some brillaint s#$t over and over again no matter what.
  16. Jan 3, 2017
    83
    Three albums deep, Killer Mike and El-P sound as hungry as ever, and the world is still full of Caesars with ripe throats.
  17. Dec 30, 2016
    83
    So the blessing and the curse of Run the Jewels 3 is that it’s still a Run the Jewels album, a promise that every song is good, nothing is bad, and depending on your mood you’ll either bask in the lack of tempo changes, pulchritudinous song structures, and surprising hooks, or you’ll seek out a more colorful record.
  18. 83
    It’s better than the first or second installments: slightly more ambitious and slightly more layered.
  19. Dec 28, 2016
    82
    RTJ 3 is both a sprinter’s dip and a victory lap – it is neither as sinewy as RTJ 1 nor as effusively vivacious as 2014’s RTJ 2, but still finds itself imbibed with the kind of assured professionalism that is only permitted to those who have previously done enough to be granted a low-pressure outing.
  20. Mojo
    Feb 21, 2017
    80
    The unlikely MC tag team's incontestable third rages hard over bass-driven beats positively thrumming with vitality. [Apr 2017, p.95]
  21. Feb 7, 2017
    80
    Impressive as all that guest work is though, the album's starring duo are never outshined.
  22. Uncut
    Jan 20, 2017
    80
    RTJ3 is the pair's most focused and mature work to date. [Mar 2017, p.34]
  23. Q Magazine
    Jan 17, 2017
    80
    This is essential listening. [Mar 2017, p.112]
  24. Jan 12, 2017
    80
    This album is full of bangers and achieves what so many hip-hop heads, old and new, are longing for: music with a message, loud and clear.
  25. Jan 10, 2017
    80
    In the grand scheme of rap music, Killer Mike and El-P get more and more niche with each project they release together and this new album is no different. If this dynamic duo can keep their rebellious spirit alive without beating it to death, they’ll continue to thrive.
  26. Jan 5, 2017
    80
    The formula is probably becoming familiar, but its time is now.
  27. 80
    Killer Mike and El-P bring typically sharp, visceral observations, chugging beats and superb guest artists onto their most successful studio effort to date.
  28. 80
    This new album is the most successful of the lot--calmer but not remotely calm, more emotional but not at all tender.
  29. Jan 4, 2017
    80
    Their sound is still thrilling, but it’s an album made by men who have watched lives crumble despite willful rebellion and are picking up the pieces to continue fighting, even as the cycle is doomed to repeat itself.
  30. Jan 3, 2017
    80
    Lyrically, there no lack of muscular skill-flexing. ... Run the Jewels can still detonate rhymes like a Molotov cocktail lobbed into a CVS, but now they're strategizing for the long war ahead.
  31. Dec 29, 2016
    76
    RTJ3 ultimately mirrors the sentiment of too many movie franchise sequels that make the brand go stale.
  32. 70
    For the most part, Run the Jewels 3 is not intent on breaking new ground but rather on cementing the fruitful dynamic between El-P and Killer Mike. It’s another victory lap from a pair of rappers who are mastering the form, one glorious album at a time.
  33. Jan 3, 2017
    70
    By the time the more politically minded triptych of ‘Don’t Get Captured’, ‘Thieves!’ and ‘2100’ roll round you’ve almost forgotten just what El and Mike are capable of when they drag their eyes away from their own navels. Thankfully there’s enough gold at hand to excuse Run The Jewels for getting a little bit carried away with their own runaway success.
  34. Jan 9, 2017
    60
    The level of discourse on Run the Jewels 3 may be higher than your standard hip-hop grandstanding, and the references may be current and the beats may be more intense, but the album remains too entrenched in the grammar of the past to ever feel entirely fresh.
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 415 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 415
  1. Dec 26, 2016
    10
    Easily my favorite RTJ album thus far, and quite possibly the best rap album for me this millennium. The first 2 RTJ albums had songs that IEasily my favorite RTJ album thus far, and quite possibly the best rap album for me this millennium. The first 2 RTJ albums had songs that I would skip over, but I am not finding a single mediocre song on this one. It's apparent Jaime worked his ass off producing this one, and Mike coming through with the butter smooth flows as always. Jaime and Mike will go down as a legendary duo. El, take me as your apprentice, I want to mix beats like you do. Full Review »
  2. Dec 26, 2016
    10
    RTJ3 > RTJ2 > RTJ. This album is much more versatile then the previous two, and it also hits harder then the previous two. One of the bestRTJ3 > RTJ2 > RTJ. This album is much more versatile then the previous two, and it also hits harder then the previous two. One of the best hip-hop albums of the last decade. Full Review »
  3. Dec 26, 2016
    9
    To quote a user on reddit, El-P couldn't make a bad beat if he tried. On top of El being continuously at the top of his game, the lyrics areTo quote a user on reddit, El-P couldn't make a bad beat if he tried. On top of El being continuously at the top of his game, the lyrics are once again timely, sharp, and a blast to listen to. One. Banger. After. Another. Full Review »