Run the Jewels Kicks Off World Tour in Philly

Hip-Hop/Rap

It’s not up for debate. Run the Jewels is one of the hottest acts in the world right now. The hip-hop duo comprised of El-P and Killer Mike have just embarked on an international tour in support of their most recent LP, Run The Jewels 3. And where better way to kick off a circuit of shows than the rowdiest city in all of the Americas?

Philly’s historic Electric Factory was the scene for this sold-out performance, and with all of the energy in the air, one couldn’t help but to imagine some of the greats that graced the E Factory stage. Icons like Jimi HendrixPrince, and the Foo Fighters have all made their mark in Philly and collected their toll from the sound systems. Run the Jewels was no exception. They put it all out there for night 1.

Before El-P and Killer Mike took the stage, openers CuzNick HookGangsta Boo, and The Gaslamp Killer got the opportunity to test out and warm up an obviously eager crowd. Through multiple original hip-hop compositions and one bizarre DJ set, Philadelphia played along with the budding talent, but not without the occasional “RTJ” chant. The Gaslamp Killer was easily the stand-out performer with his DJ set mixing unfamiliar trap tracks and Middle Eastern beats. I think we could have done without his symbolic dancing, but when he really got into the grit of the set playing his own music and scratching, everyone’s eyes peered at the stage. The Gaslamp Killer threw in some video game influenced electronic tracks which were remixes to songs like “Ridin'” by Chamillionaire. Although the DJ set was entertaining, RTJ’s set-up loomed in the back, which constantly reminded the crowd of what they were really there for.

The time finally came when Run the Jewels made their appearance onto the stage. They entered to a remix of Queen‘s “We Are the Champions”, which drew a roar from the audience. RTJ wasted no time with introductions. They went straight into “Talk to Me” off their recently released LP and got the crowd jumping.

After a few songs, El-P addressed the crowd with an amazing story. He spoke about how he was on the same Electric Factory stage 19 years ago with his former group while he was opening up for the Beastie Boys. Everyone was deep into the story thinking it was going to be a joyous memory from the rapper, and then he talked about how he was essentially boo’ed off. El-P’s tale may have been a little cruel, but he circled back to how he is now selling out venues all over the nation. This put a smile on everyone’s face, and served as a reminder that real progress and true talent takes time.

The night continued and the hits did not stop. Songs like “Stay Gold” and “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” prompted giant mosh pits, which RTJ commended. However, they made sure to point out that no creepy moves should be made on the kick ass female fans in the crowd. To quote Killer Mike, “No strange dicks”, were to be placed on anyone that night. Thankfully, this decree held up.

It can’t be stated enough. Run the Jewels really are one of the hottest acts in the world right now, and every time they step on stage they’re pushing the boundaries of their own performances and the limitations of modern day hip-hop. They’re wise, intelligent beyond most lyricists in the game, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. Make it your prerogative to catch these guys before this tour is over.

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