The Run The Jewels logo is excellent. You've got all the classic design elements in play: disembodied hands, disembodied mummified hands, some bloody stumps, claw-like fingernails, and a gold chain fat enough to drown a small dog. Personally though, I didn't realize the gesture the hands are making is of someone getting robbed, but according to Run The Jewels' El-P, this is exactly what's going on. In an Instagram post on Tuesday, the rapper published the email and directions he sent to artist Nick Gazin to create the logo, suggesting two gestures: "robbing the chain" or "snatching the chain."
The email reads:
"here are two pictures of me attempting to show you the other hand positions i had in mind. one of the gun hand robbing the chain hand, one of a hand coming from behind or the side and snatching the chain. you'll get the idea."
El-P's notes did the trick, and Gazin's logo has proved distinctive enough to work as a pair of cat claws holding a collar (for the Meow the Jewels remix) and with Marvel comic book characters Howard the Duck and Rocket Raccoon as the hands' owners. Gazin said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the original idea had been to have El-P and Killer Mike "together in a fighting stance," but El-P insisted on hand gestures.
"The whole image is about coming back after having been beaten down."
"They’re kind of these blue demonic hands and there’s something either frightening or friendly about them," Gazin told the publication in January. "I see them as being this kind of ‘haunted house’ aesthetic, not necessarily satanic... The blood stains almost imply a horror movie, but I see it as the hands have survived things. I think it makes sense considering the year we’ve had. The whole image is about coming back after having been beaten down."