Run the Jewels throws hearty bone to fans with single ‘Ooh La La’

Run the Jewels, Inc/Courtesy

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Grade: 4.0/5.0

Hip-hop duo Run the Jewels has been hard at work on its fourth record, Run the Jewels 4. For two long years, fans have been without much new RTJ material, apart from a stray song released sporadically. But RTJ finally proved that production on RTJ4 is hopefully coming to a close, as the group released new single “Ooh La La” on March 25, along with previously released single “Yankee and the Brave (ep. 4).”

“Ooh La La” arrives like a breath of fresh air. Accompanied by an intentionally offbeat piano melody, the song harks back to much-missed old-school hip-hop. It’s a beat Wu-Tang Clan would be proud of. While “Ooh La La” deviates from most of Run the Jewels’ other songs, with its toning down of electronic bass and heaviness, it still captures the intended nostalgic feel. 

Rappers Killer Mike and El-P are known for their back-and-forth wordplay and bars, each spitting verses with ease. On “Ooh La La,” the two show that they haven’t lost any of their bravado — they’re still churning out unique and poetic bars.

The track begins with featured artist Greg Nice and El-P aggressively singing, “Ooh, la la, ah, oui oui” sans any French accent. El-P’s first verse can’t come soon enough.

El-P usually sticks to very political lyrics, as per the overall tone of Run the Jewels’ music, and the artist stays true to this trend on “Oh La La.” His delivery here is unbelievably smooth. “Y’all f—— corrupted or up to somethin’ disgustin’/ My pockets are plump for the season, I love to cuff ’em,” he preaches. It’s only a morsel of the lyrical genius he gifts to listeners.

Killer Mike, on the other hand, is known for being raunchy and raw, telling it like it is with a “no f—- given” attitude. In the song, his voice is as powerful as ever. He raps, “People, we the pirates, the pride of this great republic/ No matter what you order, muhf—-, we’re what you’re stuck wit.” With almost no breaks in between, the lyrics just flow out of him.

The only major downside to the song is that it’s too short, only featuring two verses from each member. It leaves listeners longing for an extra minute of the thumping beat and piano, but in a good way. After three mega-successful records, there has been considerable pressure placed on the group, with the snippets of Run the Jewels’ in-progress record being highly scrutinized and constantly compared to previous releases. Luckily for Run the Jewels, “Ooh La La” is a positive sign, as it not only showcases the duo’s strengths, but also its ability to branch out from its already innovative discography.

Pooja Bale covers music. Contact her at [email protected].