Even the security guards volleyed beach balls when Run the Jewels took the stage. And they definitely did take the stage—by force. The hip-hop duo’s presence and energy was unsurpassed the entire festival weekend. That combined with eye-rattling bass and some of the catchiest hooks in modern rap made an explosive concoction rarely heard outside of the classic hip-hop of the 90s.
But it was more than rambunctiousness and fun, another similarity RTJ has with the 90s golden age is being hip-hop performers with a message, like Public Enemy and Nas. Throughout the night the duo (Killer Mike and El-P) discussed losing a loved one, following your dreams, and suicide prevention.
“If any of you ever lost anyone you care about,” El-P said. “Close your eyes during this next song and pretend they’re standing next to you.”
However this consciously-charged delivery wasn’t too much of a break from the norm for the rappers, considering just last year Killer Mike opened for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
A Run the Jewels live show can be rowdy inspiration to anyone: aspiring musicians, depressed youth, even middle-aged adults who’ve lost their groove will start rocking again when they see two rappers, both 42, dancing their asses off on stage.