When Killer Mike didn’t play a single song off of Run The Jewels I knew that El-P’s set was going to be solely dedicated to the album for at least a part of the time he was on stage. Around this same time everyone else must have come to the same realization because as me and Patch rushed from the green stage to the red and attempted to push our way through the crowd to get closer in preparation for Lil B (who was performing on the same stage in about an hour), we were stymied by a wall of fairly rabid El-P fans not really in the mood to step aside. So we frantically looked for another way around the masses about 20 feet back, which was unacceptably far away to be seeing the Based God. Thank the Based God himself though, as soon as El-P came on stage and threw down “Drones Over Brooklyn” a mosh pit of sorts opened up in the middle of the crowd, a development I did not anticipate and like all good crowds, if someone wants to get to the mosh, you step aside. So me and Patch basically flung ourselves over peoples backs in an attempt to get to the mosh and essentially get one step closer to the stage for Lil B.
We made it and kind of half-heartedly moshed, thinking more of preparing ourselves for the task that would come soon. He did play “Full Retard” as his second song, and my personal favorite by him, which was exciting to hear live. I didn’t realize how hard I would turn up after hearing that song but it definitely started to make sense why there was a mosh pit after that song was through.
Then, after El-P made a big show of “starting the show over” he brought out Killer Mike in the very anticipated move of performing the entirety of “Run The Jewels.” This is what I anticipated from the moment “Run The Jewels” was released and I knew I would be seeing both rappers live so to finally see both loveable guys on stage together was really awesome. After getting to know Killer Mike only minutes before at the green stage, I knew El-P had to be just as caring and goofy for the pair to be such good friends and I was not disappointed. The pair joked around more than any performer I have ever seen and came off like they were more comfortable being on stage, teaching their life lessons, than anywhere else in the world. I honestly did not recognize a single song, but I could hear the classic sound of El-P’s producing style and Killer Mikes harsh rhymes. Hearing almost every track off the album really pushed it up in my mind as one of the better albums of the year because before, I really had not dug it as much as I probably should have.
Getting to mosh about and hear the aggressive beats really helped solidify the album, and the two rappers as something worth listening to for anyone. In between their songs, they talked about their message they were attempting to get across of forgoing material things and trying to live life just to live, not for things like jewels. It was another based message and even more appropriate with Lil B less than an hour away and the way they delivered it was just in a fun, carefree manner even though they were really talking about something fairly serious. The best part of all their banter was when they started promoting their beer that had been made for the weekend of the festival. It clearly was a bit of a joke but they pretended to act very serious about it and having the added thing to talk about made their banter all the better.
El-P and Killer Mike really represent the kind of people that rap sometimes acts like don’t exist, with their positive attitudes, messages and just overall generous personalities. It was really humbling to see these guys using their celebrity status in a positive manner and I really have a newfound respect for both men after both of their shows and “Run The Jewels” in particular. An album with such constructive messages doesn’t come along too often, but when it does, I try hard to support. Seeing it all live really made it that much better.