Saturday, December 14, 2013

Live Review: Run the Jewels @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

"They are saying that these shows are becoming stuff of legend," Killer Mike said about three songs into his set with his partner-in-crime, El-P, who make up one of 2013's hottest rap groups, Run the Jewels. The duo, who are some of the most electrifying emcees in hip-hop, and El-P a production legend, teamed up to create Run the Jewels after having a very successful 2012 working with each other on their respective solo albums, Killer Mike's brilliant R.A.P. Music and El-P's mind bending Cancer 4 Cure. Run the Jewels was a free album that went viral and made these team larger than they already were on their own and to cap off an amazing 2013, they performed inside a pact Music Hall of Williamsburg for a few lucky fans who were able to score free tickets to Converse Rubber Tracks latest live series at Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Opening with the bombastic title track, "Run the Jewels," all of Music Hall began dancing and jumping around thanks to the aggressive beats, killer lyrical flow and hard hitting delivery. "We have had an incredible year. These last three years have been amazing and the critics are recognizing us, but we have to recognize you guys. The fans. You made us," Killer Mike said to the crowd as he wore a shirt that said, "Fuck Hope Do Dope," he and El-P have a lot to be thankful for, after years of respect in the underground, the mainstream community is taking notice to their fantastic work. After plowing through most of their debut in full and bringing out special guest Until the Ribbon Breaks, they closed their main set with Santa Claus hats as they did "A Christmas Fucking Miracle," and retreated to the wings. After a brief break, they came back on stage and began to deliver hits from their solo work. Killer Mike started up first doing his last album's title track, "R.A.P. Music," and then "Butane," before El-P hit it off with "The Full Retard," "Drones Over Brooklyn," and "Oh Hail No," which saw him bring out special guest, Mr. MotherFuckin eXquire. However, the most special moment of the night came for the grand finale. Killer Mike got himself into the crowd and had the DJ drop a slow beat as he brought the cadence down to his pulse pounding track "Reagan," where he focused the audiences attention to the words he was saying and not just a song. Almost like a slam poet, Killer Mike had everyone paying attention to what he was saying about his problems with former President Ronald Reagan and the presidents that followed after, before adding the final line "R.I.P. Mandela." It was a poignant way to close a show that, as they proclaimed, has become stuff of legend.

Opening the show was rap/rock supergroup The White Mandingos, which features the legendary Darryl Jennifer of Bad Brains, Murs, and journalist and musician Sascha Jenkins. The socially conscious punk and hardcore hip-hop outfit delivered an intense set that showcased the parts of the groups sums talents. Murs, still one of the most underrated emcees ever, seems to be having the time of his life in this band, while it looks like another day in the office for Jenkins and Jennifer. For their hour-long set they included songs like "My First White Girl," "Wesley Snipes," and "Warn A Brotha," and called out Kendrick Lamar for their track, "King of New York." Their fantastic set came to a close with the Minor Threat cover of "Guilty of Being White," and then Murs going solo with their DJ freestyling as the rest of the band walked off stage.

A fantastic Christmas gift at the right price thanks to Converse.