How This Rap Duo Recruited A New Audience For Hip-Hop

Run The Jewels is huge in a way that no other hip-hop artists are. They have expanded their audience from the typical, Soundcloud-searching fanatics to soccer moms and math teachers.

Here are a few unique PR moves that Run The Jewels performed to spread their music.

1. They reached out through NPR.

National Public Radio reports anything and everything that may be of interest to people who still listen to the news on the radio. Their outreach is massive, and to be fair, they do a decent amount of music coverage.

However, Run The Jewels recently made it onto Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, a show that has little to do with hip-hop or music. They have also been featured on Tiny Desk Concert and All Songs Considered, but by stepping out of their comfort zone for Peter Sagal, they expanded their audience to the Sunday morning radio crowd.

2. Killer Mike got political.

Killer Mike, one part of the group, opened for Bernie Sanders during his campaign in 2015 for the Democratic Presidential candidacy. His passion for politics and support for the candidate got the attention of any followers of the campaign, particularly those in the cities he spoke in.

He also went online and on the media to show his support for Sanders, showing that this wasn’t just a PR move.

3. Killer Mike also pioneered a political movement.

In the wake of a police shooting, Killer Mike went to the media with a specific shout out for people to put their money into black-owned banks. The movement had an immense economical impact, and it got the attention of an immense number of people who switched banks. This creative strategy gained Killer Mike the respect of both the banks and the African American community.

4. They play to their age group.

El-P and Killer Mike are both 42 years old with children. They aren’t the typical hip-hop duo, and they aren’t ashamed to admit it. They do their best to empathize with parents in their 40s, who don’t fall into the typical hip-hop demographic.

Killer Mike and El-P don’t stray far from the norm when it comes to their music, but when it comes to PR, they approach a wholly different audience. Their work in politics and their collaboration with NPR have earned them attention from a new demographic.

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Gabriel Dufurrena is a mathematician, writer, and educator living in Oakland, CA. When he’s not watching YouTube videos or teaching math, he’s listening to beats in his car.

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