Words and photos by Dashaun Simmons @13Rose
One of the few bright moments of 2016 was the release of the third Run The Jewels album. As with every previous release, Killer Mike and El-P took their talents on the road to fellowship with their many supporters. At a stop in NYC (one of 4 sold out shows) Run The Jewels felt right at home as El-P is a NY native, and Mike has been spending plenty of time here since the duo formed.
After lit opening sets by Gangsta Boo (who still runs it) and The Gaslamp Killer (this man works hard) got the crowd ready, the ebony and ivory EPMD put down the type of energetic set you’ve come to expect. They set things off with Talk To Me, which sent people bouncing off the walls. Other songs like Call Ticketron and Stay Gold were super menacing but gave the audience a chance to nod intensely and listen. There was a familial vibe in the venue filled with people of different nationalities who seemed to know all the words to every song that was performed.
During the show there were moments of reflection as well as comedy. The intro of Panther like a Panther played out great live, with El-P lamenting the end of his rap career to become a slam poet. The finger snap response to El’s debut poem could be heard throughout the borough of Manhattan. Mike talked about inviting the former President Obama and his “OG” Bernie Sanders to the concert. The purpose of such an invite was to show off the amount of diversity that exists at a Run The Jewels show. A show of unity.
While this concert was clearly to celebrate the material off the new album, fans of the older projects were taken care of as well. Oh My Darling Don’t Cry Blockbuster Night Pt.1 and Love Again (With Gangsta Boo back on stage) still go hard. These guys really care for their fans and it shows in both the music and their live performance.
At this point, if you are a fan of Run The Jewels, you are a fool if you don’t see them live.