Hot Track of the Week: “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”

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If you listen closely to “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”, you can hear a ghost. Well, at least a musical ghost. “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” features Zach de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine on vocals, including a few great rhymes in the end. Rocha has basically been a nonentity in music since Rage Against the Machine broke up back in 2000. But now he’s back with Run the Jewels.

Run the Jewels is one of the greatest rap groups you’ve probably never heard of. They’re a duo made up of former solo men EI-P and Killer Mike. Separately, they spearheaded the underground and alternative rap scene in New York and Atlanta respectively. They had relatively successful solo careers, but all that changed when they announced their partnership in 2013.

Their first album, Run the Jewels, showed what could happen when you combine different hip-hop backgrounds under a common style. Coupling incredible instrumentals and the distinct vocal presence of both rappers, the album is a fun listen. Just one year later, Run the Jewels announced that they will be dropping another album, called what else but Run the Jewels II.

“Close Your Eyes (and Count to Fuck)”, one of the singles released before the main album drop, is a great teaser to the duo’s new album. The track features a bumping instrumental track, which effectively supports the flow between both Mike and El-P. Again, they have a great “presence”. To me, this means that you can tell each rapper’s persona clearly through the vocals. They are different from each other, but bounce off one another in hip hop harmony.

Rocha is just as important of a piece on this track as Run the Jewels. He supplies mostly background vocals but also the main chorus and a few solo lines near the end. When in Rage Against the Machine, Rocha had a speak-sing almost rap like way of screaming out vocals. That experience is valuable, as Rocha feels like a natural addition to the rap duo.

Run the Jewels II was released on October 24th, and is absolutely incredible. You need to check them out before they are everywhere. If you like vulgar, aggressive rap over bass destroying beats, give the album a listen. I may even review it…