Run the Jewels Destroys Tiny Desk

Run the Jewels Destroys Tiny Desk

Acclaimed Atlanta rap virtuosos Run the Jewels head to DC to tear down the house at NPR’s latest Tiny Desk concert.

The political rap duo are currently on tour promoting their timely released third album Run the Jewels 3, universally considered “revolutionary” among music critics and which Pitchfork called “a soundtrack for the riots to come.” 

RTJ3 is a full frontal audio and lyrical assault that showcases Killer Mike and El-P’s verbal mastery and asserts their position as the most political and visceral artists of our time. Kanye West should feel like even more of an overrated insecure egomaniacal man-baby after listening to this album.

The minimal production highlights the honesty and sense of urgency that defines the album, which lends itself surprisingly well to a cramped office setting.

Tiny Desk Concerts — usually reserved for more acoustic performances showcasing artists’ raw vocals and songwriting abilities — put the rap duo’s commanding presence and comfortable camaraderie front and center. In this stripped set-up, Killer Mike and El-P seemed even more raw than on they are on the album, proving they are an undeniable force no matter what or where the stage is. Most sets at this NPR office end with polite applause, and though we can’t see the crowd, it feels as though Bob Boilen and co. gave the boys a heartfelt standing ovation.

Tickets are still available for the Run the Jewels tour, which ends with four back-to-back nights at Terminal 5 in New York City. After that, you can catch Killer Mike and El-P at festivals in Europe and across the US until the summer, and there should be more tour dates and festival stops in the works. Check their website and Facebook page for details. Run the Jewels 3 is streaming on Spotify and available on iTunes and in a physical record shop near you.

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Written by Rebecca An

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