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Artist Mon May 05 2014
If Goose Island knows anything, it's that Chicago loves its hip-hop. And if you're a leading beer brand trying to win over the hearts and minds of Chicago's pumped up youth, you throw a kickass party in Pilsen co-sponsored by The FADER and invite the freshest duo coming out of the hip-hop scene — Run the Jewels, to the party.
As part of a three city tour, Analog Migration stopped by Chicago last week for the kick-off, bringing with it El-P and Killer Mike's Run The Jewels, Los Angeles-based punk band Tijuana Panthers and Chicago's DJ Timbuck2.
The last time I waxed poetic on hip-hop was when I got a backstage pass at a Roots show at a street festival a couple of summers ago, so I was out of my league on this one. So out of my league, that I forgot to leave my Ann Taylor blazer at home. Upon arrival, I immediately learned one thing: when you throw punk and hip-hop fans in one room, you get a lot of hoodies.
Starting things off, DJ Timbuck2 opened the night with his signature spinning and Tijuana Panthers brought a certain type of punk style that reminded me I was over 30. I could've done without it, but punk fans might want to check these guys out.
Run the Jewels, featuring EL-P, (a hip-hop artist from Brooklyn known for his lyrical virtuosity) and Killer Mike, the politically inclined Atlanta rapper with an affinity for barbershops, is the new collaborative project of two artists known for their separate styles. For those who remember Killer Mike from the Pitchfork Music Festival last summer, he's good at moving a crowd.
Together, they are crowd pleasers, and thanks to EL-P's ear for production, they are successfully mixing old school and new school hip-hop with a whisper to electronica and dub-step. In other words, something for everyone.
They opened their set with a melodramatic intro, enough to set the tone with anticipation as Killer Mike jumped on the mic, a plea to the eager crowd if they were ready to get wild. The crowd answered back yes, and El-P and Killer gave them what they wanted with their anthem, "Run the Jewels," evoking an otherwise, languid group to throw their hands in the air and start bouncing body parts. Myself included.
The whole album stays in that head bobbing zone and you'll likely walk away feeling like you got a shot of testosterone. Get It has all the trimmings of the roll down the street in your ride summer theme song and DDFH elicits a throwback to the early '90s.
Separately, both artists should be checked out and appreciated, but it is clear with EL-P's lyric slinging prowess and Killer Mike's authoritative stage presence and delivery that Run the Jewels is aiming to be the type of summertime duo that gets people to join in the proclamation that LL Cool J started when he first said, "Throw ya hands in the air, wave them like you just don't care."