Crate Digging is a recurring feature in which we take a deep dive into a genre and turn up several albums all music fans should know about. As a new Run the Jewels album drops this week, we look at a rich history of records by hip-hop duos.
It’s hard to believe that hip-hop is only about 47 years old, give or take a year or two. So many memories, iconic figures, highs, lows … the genre brings about a wealth of emotion, regardless of one’s demographic. As hip-hop has grown, so has its sound, its reach, as well as its influence on popular culture. But during its infancy, the rapper and the DJ were the perfect marriage between two musicians of different crafts blending together to make a singular sound. Hip-hop “crews” were more prevalent early on, but there was something about the duo that audiences were drawn to more than any other dynamic. Now, the individual seems to have risen to the top of the ranks, but there have been and still are some amazing duos in rap.
On June 5th, the rapper/producer team of Killer Mike and El-P will officially release the fourth installment of Run the Jewels. The group, which goes by the same name, represents what many people consider the essence of hip-hop — the emcee and the DJ. The digital age has transformed that into the “rapper and the producer,” but the concept remains. Proverbs 27:17 states that “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” The same could be said about two musicians coming together for a common cause.
In anticipation of Run the Jewels 4, we’ve compiled a list of 10 albums by hip-hop duos that every fan should be privy to. Whether it be two rappers or a rapper and a producer, the final product is undeniable. A combination of different coasts, older releases, and more contemporary classics, these albums are crucial to anyone who enjoys hip-hop and a testament to why the genre (and the hip-hop duo) is here to stay.