Hip-hop group Run the Jewels harnessed their popularity to benefit civil rights organizations and charities supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and offered their new album in exchange for voluntary donations, in turn raising thousands in just hours.
The group announced Wednesday they had raised more than $75,000 in five hours following the release of their highly anticipated fourth album, “RTJ4,” for free on their website. Upon “ordering” the free download of the 11-song album, fans are taken to a prompt where it asks to donate to National Lawyers Guild: Mass Defense Fund.
The group, which features Killer Mike, El-P, and DJ Trackstar, also have set up a donations page on their site to further the actions. Some of the charities include Black Lives Matter, Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Legal Defence Initiative, Color of Change, Fair Fight, among others.
The album was recorded last year but much of the lyrics of the group seem striking to the headlines of recent weeks.
In the song “Walking in the Snow,” Killer Mike raps "And everyday on evening news they feed you fear for free, and you so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me, and 'til my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, ‘I can't breathe.’"
On the song, “Ju$t,” Killer Mike, Pharrell Williams, and Zach de la Rocha, a frequent contributor of the group, rap “Look at all these slave masters posing on your dollar.”
The politically and socially charged album comes less than a week after Killer Mike emotionally spoke in Atlanta, where he lives and owns businesses, urging for calm amid tensions following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
"I’m mad as hell," he said at a press conference Friday. "I woke up wanting to see the world burn yesterday, because I’m tired of seeing black men die. He casually put his knee on a human being’s neck for nine minutes as he died like a zebra in the clutch of a lion’s jaw.
"So that’s why children are burning it to the ground," he continued. "They don’t know what else to do. And it is the responsibility of us to make this better right now. We don’t want to see one officer charged, we want to see four officers prosecuted and sentenced. We don’t want to see Targets burning, we want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burnt to the ground. I am duty-bound to be here to simply say that it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy.”
On Monday, Killer Mike appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” and explained how a call from friend and fellow Atalanta rapper T.I. got him at that press conference.
"T.I. got a call from the mayor’s assistant, saying that the staged protest, which we support, was turning into a riotous atmosphere, and she wanted him to say something to help quell any oncoming violence that she didn’t want to see happen," he said. "All I said was what was in my heart."