This past Saturday, Run The Jewels took to the stage as champions of killing mikes, of (literally) golden albums, and on February 18th, champions of the sold out Royal Oak Music Theatre.
The rappers were ready on the right to go hard, and take no prisoners.
First to the stage was talented beat master, Nick Hook. The New York resident’s full length debut LP, “Relationships” is available now via Fools Gold.
The DJ threw down creative tracks, and made sure to include the audience. With tremendous energy he stated, “I am the opener, so let’s get this open!”
He sampled and shouted out to Danny Brown, as well as showing some Detroit love.
“Shout out to P-Funk and Motown. This town will never die. I’ve seen it reborn from nothing.”
He stuck on the stage for the following artists, and at one point, played Zack de la Rocha’s tremendous new single, “Digging For Windows”.
Next up was the poetic Cuz Lightyear. Cuz is certainly no stranger to the Royal Oak Music Theatre, having been the first opener for Run The Jewels when they made a tour stop here back in October of 2015.
Even without the impactful mask her wore last time, Cuz was equally as tremendous.
The wordsmith encouraged the crowd, “Say what up Cuz?”, and the audience would echo back.
Cuz included second to none acapella freestyles, as well as tracks from his latest LP.
Third to the stage was Gangsta Boo, also no stranger to the Run The Jewels family. She was featured on the fun track “Love Again” off of Run The Jewels second album.
She started off the night with her honest track, “Hard Not 2 Kill.” Next was her marijuana friendly jam, “Loc’d Out Smoked Out”. She told the crowd, “I just made a video for that in LA in a weed house”.
Next, Gangsta Boo presented her collaboration with Yelawolf and Eminem, “Throw It Up”.
After the songs completion, Gangsta Boo shouted out to Eminem and said, “What if Eminem would’ve came out here? Y’all would’ve fainted!”
The powerful gal continued on with a frank, powerful, and superb set.
The final opener was the spirited Gaslamp Killer, who created a vibe and flow entirely his own. The DJ is touring in support of his latest album, “Instrumentalepathy”. Gaslamp Killer pulled in musical influences from all over the map to jive and dance behind his turntables. GLK danced wonderfully and wildly to his mixes, machine gun motioning to the beat into the crowd. When he sampled Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”, it seemed that the entire audience sang along to every word.
Before RTJ’s set, hydration hero Nick Hook returned to the stage to toss bottles of water to thirsty audience members. Security guards soon followed suit.
The restless crowd was ready for Run The Jewels to appear, starting to chant out “R-T-J” right around 10 PM.
Emerging to a wave of applause with their typical Queen legend entrance anthem playing, the air was thick and right with RTJ’s favorite smokable.
The duo started off the night with their lead single off of their new album, “Talk To Me” from Run The Jewels 3.
EL-P shouted out, “HOW YOU DOING, CHICAGO?”, which was the night’s previous stop. The audience was silent as Killer Mike corrected him. EL-P joking said, “Have you ever gotten so high you can’t remember what city you’re in?” The talented rapper rectified himself with an even bigger shout to Detroit. Soon after, EL accepted a joint from an audience member.
The MCs churned out powerful tracks from their latest album, as well as a few from their last acclaimed record, “Run The Jewels 2”. The pair also included their catchy collaboration with DJ Shadow (with an equally entertaining video), “Nobody Speak”.
Around mid-set EL-P stopped and proclaimed, “After this next song, I am leaving Run The Jewels to pursue a poetry career”. He then started into the intro for “Panther Like A Panther”, snapping his fingers in applause with the crowd after its conclusion.
“I’ll flood the speakers with heat seakers and keep sneakers cleaner…”
Killer Mike exclaimed, “Give him more of a hand than that! He is brave. He is beautiful.” The pair continued the song acapella until DJ Trackstar kicked in the beat after the first verse.
Run The Jewels made sure to include some love for the ladies. Killer Mike turned to the crowd, “When I say pussy, you say power!”
Gangsta Boo then joined the stage for the fun loving “Love Again”.
Continuously commenting on the incredible energy from the crowd, Run The Jewels made it known how grateful they were for the turn out. “I don’t know what we did to deserve you, Detroit, but we’re so happy to be here.”
Before “Lie Cheat Steal” from the pair’s 2014 album, the duo remarked that they only hear 5 words coming out of these politicians mouths. EL-P reflected, “We’re all a community. We believe the same fucking thing. You are born free.”
Run The Jewels closed out the night with an encore of “Close Your Eyes”, as well as the uplifting reflective track “Down”.
“I coulda died, y’all
A couple times, I took my eyes off the prize, y’all
I know a couple people pray for my demise, y’all
But even birds with broken wings want to fly, y’all.”
With continuously sold out shows, endless buzz, and music that’s somehow getting better and better, Run The Jewels are sure to keep running the world on this Run The World Tour.
RTJs are next headed to Canada, then back to the US for a string of dates before heading overseas.
Words and photos by: Tiffany Cuthrell
Run The Jewels are here with a tremendous Christmas gift for their fans: their highly anticipated album dropped three weeks early!
This was so exciting, that, in fact, Run The Jewels’ site temporarily CRASHED!
Both available in tangible pre-order format, as well as a free download for all to enjoy, the release was announced on Christmas Eve. Accompanying was a video of the duo brainstorming promotional ideas on an upcoming episode of “Portlandia”. Schemes included faking EL-P’s death, hiding the album in the mouth of a baby (in a baby Jessica type of scenario), and the four horseman of the apocalypse carrying the album into society, perhaps pony express style.
In typical RTJ fashion, their third chapter is empowering, insightful, honest, thought-provoking, unapologetic, and political where it should be.
The album finds Killer Mike and EL-P both effortlessly plowing over beats, as well as more minimal soundscapes for lyrics to dance across, letting their characters shine bright.
With bumping beats, word play for days, and the cleverest of relentless rhymes, Run The Jewels show that are STILL on the collaborative (and EL-Producto production) top of their games.
EL-P’s musical mosaic and sonic creation on the album is second to none, creating as canvas of sound perfect for RTJ verses to paint across.
The MCs touch on surveillance, being high as cosmonaut, weed legalization, good things with gold bad bitches, aliens (and A-T-Liens), news persuasion, losing friends, and police brutality (to name a few).
With notable appearances by talented artists such as BOOTS (his musical ear is more than evident on his “2100” collaboration), beautiful Joi, TV On The Radio’s talented Tunde Adebimpe, Kamasi Washington, Trina, and Danny Brown (check out his verses on “Oh Hail No”, from EL-P’s LP, “Cancer 4 Cure”).
There’s also a nod from Killums in approval (yes?), and a sampling of MLK on the powerful track “Thieves! (Screamed The Ghost)”.
There might even be a stop by a very special anti-myth rhythm rock shocker on the last track…
Run The Jewels are embarking on a “Run The World” tour across the globe. They’re likely to be in or near YOUR city, and there’s no doubt their live performances will mirror the fire of their latest LP.
“Begging your pardon, Run The Jewels live at the garden”.
Check out the album below:
Review by: Tiffany Cuthrell