Run the Jewels Lead “Fat Boys’ Cardio” at the Biltmore

run the jewelsIt seems just like yesterday. I was at the Biltmore, checking out Run the Jewels, on tour for their debut album, [title], with openers Despot and Kool Ad. That show had a hyped crowd and ended up being one of the best I’d seen in a while. When I heard RTJ was back in town, playing the Biltmore again to raise some buzz for their not-yet-released sophomore album, it seemed too good to be true. Hoping that lightning could strike twice, I enthusiastically volunteered to check it out.
This time the openers were Eligh, of Living Legends fame, and Amp Live, the DJ half of Zion I. I didn’t know these acts as well as the previous tour’s openers, but I did remember digging Zion I’s socially conscious raps back in the early 2000s, and I was aware of the Living Legends as a rap crew.
Despite a minor mix-up at the door regarding the plus-one, it all eventually got sorted out. Looking on the bright side, it made the first beer inside taste more victorious than it would have otherwise.
Eligh and Amp Live worked very well together, sticking with the time honoured duo of DJ and MC. The highlight of their set was the second song, “Angel of Death”, off of Eligh’s Grey Crow album. The speed of Eligh’s raps were quite impressive with a flow full of intricate rhythms and rhymes. Amp Live definitely held it down behind the boards, even managing to mix in a few hard-as-hell EDM mash-ups.
After a brief intermission, it was Run the Jewels’ time to shine, and shine they did, blasting beats that were on point and harder than diamonds.
They opened with self-titled track “Run the Jewels”, followed by “Banana Clip”, going back to back with hits.
El-P yells out to the crowd, “The question is not ‘When does Run the Jewels 2 come out?’ but ‘How the fuck can I be like those two guys onstage?’ and ‘How can I smoke as much weed as Killer Mike?’” Interesting questions. How indeed?
The highlights of the show included the crowd chanting along to “DDFH” (which stands for Do Dope Fuck Hope), the all-out insanity of “Full Retard”, and their closer, a little snippet of what’s to come on Run the Jewels 2 called “Blockbuster Night Part 1”. Released on El-P’s Soundcloud mere weeks ago, it’s a beat so hard, you might nod your head until your neck breaks. I was actually hoping to hear a bit more from their new album, but aside from that last song, their set was mostly dominated by songs off of Run the Jewels 1, not 2.
The back-and-forth chemistry between Killer Mike and El-P has only gotten better. They play off of each other well and seem to really enjoy themselves, judging by the sweat-drenched energy they put into each performance. Dubbing it ‘fat boys’ cardio,’ it felt like a million degrees inside as they complained about heatstroke, and they were only half-joking. But at least the beers were cold.
Killer Mike gave the crowd props, saying we “raged hard as fuck,” but it was a bit more subdued than the mosh pit of last year. El also thanked us all for helping make Run the Jewels a “movement,” which I guess it is now. And although the set list was similar to the previous year, being mostly cuts from their self-titled debut with a few solo songs thrown in here and there, they still put on a hell of a show. I’m definitely looking forward to when the Run the Jewels 2 tour rolls through.