Tag Archives: R.A.P. Music


Run the Jewels Kick Off Four-Night Run at Terminal 5 with Fiery Set

February 27th, 2017

Run the Jewels – Terminal 5 – February 25, 2017

Run the Jewels – Terminal 5 – February 25, 2017
While New York City was sweating out some of the hottest days on record for a February, on Saturday night, Run the Jewels kicked off their takeover of the city at Terminal 5, the first of four shows in the city El-P calls home. By now you should be well familiar with the group, the greatest buddy rap duo spitting rhymes poised to save the world from the guy with a “bad toupee and a spray tan.” Everyone in the crowd was ready for the takeover, losing their minds to the opening bars of Queen’s “We Are the Champions” as Killer Mike and El-P came to the stage. When the bass dropped in opener “Talk to Me,” it was powerful enough to bounce the crowd up off the vibrating floorboards. “Legend Has It” welcomed thousands of “RTJ” chants, raised finger pistols and fists.

An extra bass-y rendition of “Call Ticketron” had Mike and El-P running around, crisscrossing each other center stage and passing off their verses like a baton. “I’ve been imagining being here with family and friends all tour,” said El-P, nearly choked up. His mother was there for the night, no doubt proud of her son as he pantomimed lines like “You can run backward through a field of dicks” off “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry.” But it was Gangsta Boo who had both Mike and El blushing, coming out to absolutely murder her potty-mouthed verses on “Love Again (Akinyele Back).” She had the crowd chanting “pussy power” before returning the stage to Run the Jewels. “She makes me uncomfortable every night,” said El-P, adding, “I’m so ready to elect Gangsta Boo for President of the United States of America. At least she’s truthful!” Some thoughts were then shared on the current president as El-P introduced the charged “Lie, Cheat, Steal.”

The set ended with the song that began it all, “Run the Jewels.” Killer Mike retold the group’s story, meeting in El-P’s Brooklyn to record his own album, R.A.P. Music, and becoming inseparable ever since. “You done good, Ma,” exclaimed Mike, his arm around El-P. They returned to perform an encore of “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” and “Down,” a song about challenges conquered and overcome. The night must have felt like a victory lap for the duo, a return to where it all started just a few years ago, having since taken over the world. Don’t expect them to slow down anytime soon because rappers who speak truth to power are needed now more than ever. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com

(Some tickets remain to see Run the Jewels tonight and on Wednesday.)


EL-P and Killer Mike Close Run the Jewels Tour at Webster Hall

August 15th, 2013

EL-P and Killer Mike – Webster Hall – August 14, 2013

Any Best Albums of 2012 list that didn’t include Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music or EL-P’s Cancer 4 Cure isn’t to be taken seriously. There’s simply no denying the greatness of either album, in a large part due to the duo collaborating on them. To follow that up, this year Killer Mike and EL-P dropped a totally free self-titled album as Run the Jewels, or as Killer Mike called it, “the best motherfuckin’ tag team in the world.” And it’s a safe bet that this album, too, will be dubbed one of the year’s best, and the five-week tour promoting it that ended last night at Webster Hall couldn’t help but feel like a victory lap.

Killer Mike’s set came first, steamrolling the place with a “Big Beast.” A rap concert is his church and Killer Mike was the preacher. He’s clear about what his expectations are for rap—a message he made obvious in “R.A.P. Music,” which felt like the night’s mission statement. Earlier in his set, he asked of other rappers, “Why the fuck won’t you rap about something other than your goddamned selves?” before doing the politically charged “Reagan,” which Mike rapped almost entirely a cappella. He added some extra punch to the song, turning the choruses into crowd chants of “Fuck Ronald Reagan,” even adding some NYC flavor by tossing out as a final line: “Fuck stop and frisk, I hope Bloomberg heard what I said.” To close, Killer Mike took a few steps into the audience, the rap-concert equivalent of preaching from the pews, delivering the authoritative lines of “God in the Building” directly to crowd members.

For all their combined greatness, Killer Mike and EL-P have some big differences stylistically, something made clear at the start of EL-P’s own set. Beginning with “Drones over Brooklyn,” he delivered every word with such spastic energy it felt like the verses were the result of an exorcism, clutching the microphone stand like it was the only thing keeping him grounded. The night was a homecoming of sorts for the Brooklyn-based rapper, with his mom in attendance for the occasion. EL-P’s set list ran the span of his entire career and even included a brief cover of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?” complete with a keytar solo. He closed things with “Stay Down” and then left the stage briefly before returning with Killer Mike as the PA blasted “Bad to the Bone.”

Run the Jewels time! The final set of the night included just about every song off Run the Jewels, with EL-P and Killer Mike trading verses and working the crowd in their little moments of downtime. Donning 36-inch chains, both rappers radiated a sense of reassured confidence other rappers do their best to fake. “Tougher, Colder, Killer” off Cancer 4 Cure brought out Despot for his guest verse, and as the stage slowly filled with the duo’s crew, the show was over in the blink of an eye. The night ended with one giant group hug, a proclamation from EL-P that this was “the most amazing tour I’ve had in my life” and an outpouring of appreciation from the crowd. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Andie Diemer | issuu.com/andiediemer/docs/portfolio


Go See EL-P and Killer Mike Tonight at Webster Hall

August 14th, 2013

They were each already well known on their own: EL-P (Brooklyn’s Jaime Meline) for his work with Company Flow and solo albums filled with entertainingly dense lyrics over lo-fi but powerful production; and Killer Mike (Michael Render, out of Atlanta) for an association with OutKast and his political, tough-talking Dirty South hardcore rap. But the two teamed up in 2012, EL-P producing Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music (stream it below, top) and the latter guesting on the former’s Cancer for Cure (stream it below, bottom). Fortunately, that was just the beginning. Together they formed Run the Jewels earlier this year and then released a heavily acclaimed (and free download) eponymous full-length. Pitchfork, which gave the album its Best New Music label, declared: “It’s just a distilled take on everything that made last year’s albums such an event, with all the chrome ripped off and upholstery pulled out so it’ll run faster, louder, nastier.” Consequence of Sound weighed in, saying the LP “is the very synthesis of EL-P and Mike’s shared admiration
and cohesive worldviews, an effort of the purest collaboration and mutual understanding. Now, let your heart fill with love and bang your damn head up and down.” EL-P and Killer Mike play Webster Hall tonight.