ACL Review: Run the Jewels

Rap duo hoists the black flag

During their monster set at the Honda stage early Sunday evening, Atlanta/Brooklyn rap duo Run the Jewels talked a lot in jest, especially when El-P went on about how difficult it is for a chubby man to wear a faded, black denim vest. That led Killer Mike to joke, “We wanna see your boobs and butt.”

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Make absolutely no mistake, however. The pair’s radical messages are deadly serious. On time and with no delay, El-P (Jaime Meline) spit a murderous flow slicing and dicing “Legend Has It.”

“I’ll pull a sword on you simps,
Just with a flick of the wrist.
Get your neck giving up mist.”

Gatling gun bass drums ran the entire set, and never more so than on the systemic corruption and poverty-themed “Don’t Get Captured,” where Mike raps:

“Go cold like the land of Chicago,
Child soldiers sprayin’ the chopper.
But you don’t give a fuck.
That’s them though.”

Detroit rapper Danny Brown came out for his buoyant cameo on “Hey Kids (Bumaye),” espousing his lyrical greatness:

“Word architect, when I arch the tech,
I’ll part ya neck – got bars on deck.
That Xanax flow, make you nod your head.”

Early 20th century journalist H.L. Mencken said once that “every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” Run the Jewels, with front-facing grins and bloody ice picks behind their backs, are the proverbial black flag.

Mike (Michael Render) menaces on how much they care about your eternal damnation, shunting Satan off as some nobody:

“I ain’t here for durations,
I’m just taking vacations.
And tell him fuck him.
I never loved him and salutations.”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Run the Jewels
ACL Review: Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels
Sociopolitical messaging with a knowing smile

Kahron Spearman, Oct. 10, 2015

Fun Fun Fun Live Shot: Run the Jewels
Fun Fun Fun Live Shot: Run the Jewels
Took the rap duo 39 years, but they’re finally stars

Luke Winkie, Nov. 8, 2014

More by Kahron Spearman
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Oct. 9, 2020

New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Sept. 25, 2020


Run the Jewels, ACL Fest 2017, EL-P, Jaime Meline, Killer Mike, Michael Render, Danny Brown, H.L. Mencken

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle