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Bridge Album Spotlight: Run the Jewels – 'RTJ4'

The fiercely visionary hip-hop duo Run the Jewels surprised fans last Wednesday by dropping its new album, "RTJ4," two days early.

"The world is infested with b*******... so here's something raw to listen to while you deal with it all," the band announced on its Instagram page on Wednesday. "We hope it brings you some joy. Stay safe and hopeful out there and thank you for giving 2 friends the chance to be heard and do what they love."

The Bridge is taking this week to spotlight "RTJ4," which is already being hailed as a contender for album of the year. On the 11-track album, rappers Killer Mike and El-P offer catharsis in the face of the nation's protests against police brutality and systemic racism. The two men speak with a commanding degree of ferocity and vulnerability, articulating the history of social injustice and delivering a glib opus of righteous indignation. 

On last week's episode of "New Music Friday" on NPR's All Songs Considered, the moderators spoke about the "joyful feeling of resistance," giving the example of protestors who have been seen dancing in the streets. This album reaches those depths of legitimate rage and apprehension, but it also echoes that joy of resistance and protest — the uplifting of impassioned and informed voices, standing up together to stir awareness and spark change.

Listen to The Bridge all week to hear more of Run the Jewels' new album, "RTJ4." The album also features a guest appearance from our Bridge Artist of the Week, Mavis Staples. Listen on air, stream online, via our App or your smart speaker by saying "Play The Bridge from TuneIn."

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