Sunday, May 7, 2017

Run the Jewels – "Close Your Eyes (And Count to F*ck)" (2014)

And even if some good ones die
F*ck it, the lord’ll sort ‘em

In 1209, Pope Innocent III sent a crusader army to southern France to stamp out the Catharist heresy.  

Pope Innocent III
Catharists believed . . . but do you really care what Catharists believed?  Suffice it to say that some of their beliefs were antithetical to the doctrines of the Catholic Church.

You can question whether the Catharists’ beliefs were any crazier than those of the Church, but I’m not certainly not going to do that.  (The last thing I need is for the Pope to order a crusader army to go medieval all over my ass.)

Béziers is one of the oldest cities in France
Soon after the crusaders arrived at the French city of Béziers, a stronghold of Catharism, a group of mercenaries being paid by the Pope broke through the city’s defenses.

Not everyone in the city was a Catharist heretic – in fact, there were many good Catholics living in Béziers.  The crusaders asked the Abbot of Citeaux, who had been given command of the army by the Pope, how they could distinguish heretics from believers.  

The Abbot replied by saying “Kill them all, and let God sort them out.”  He described what happened next in a letter he subsequently wrote to the Pope:

Our men spared no one, irrespective of rank, sex or age, and put to the sword almost 20,000 people.  After this great slaughter the whole city was despoiled and burnt, as divine vengeance miraculously raged against it.  

I'm surprised Quentin Tarantino hasn’t made a movie about the massacre at Béziers.

*     *     *     *     *

Run the Jewels is a hip-hop duo that consists of Killer Mike (a black rapper who made his debut on OutKast’s 2000 album, Stankonia) and El-P (a white rapper, producer, and record company executive).  

RTJ’s music is intense, angry, and paranoid.  It’s reminiscent of N.W.A. and Public Enemy and other early-day gangsta rappers, which is high praise indeed in my book.

Killer Mike and El-P
Run the Jewels might be too violent and profane for your taste.  But I believe that the best rap music – like the best rock music – is loud, aggressive, and unapologetically hostile to the powers that be . . . parents, teachers, the police, and the government.  It is designed to be disturbing to all of those who live decorous and polite lives. 

“Close Your Eyes (And Count to F*ck)” – which is a fantasy about starting a prison riot, among other things – features Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha (who knows a little about being intense, angry, and paranoid).  

"Run the Jewels 2" album cover
It’s from the second Run the Jewels album, Run the Jewels 2, which Pitchfork called “the most viciously realized rap album of 2014 and many other years.”

Here’s the official music video for “Close Your Eyes (And Count to F*ck)”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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