Run The Jewels / The Gaslamp Killer / Nick Hook / Gangsta Boo / Cuz
January 13, 2017
Photos and recap by Zach Nellis
I remember being super excited a while back when I first saw the event page for Run The Jewels coming to Mr. Smalls but thinking theres no way Smalls would be big enough for the crowd these guys could pull. It didn’t take long for the show to get switched over to Stage AE and even that place was packed. Run The Jewels was cerebrating the physical release of their third album, RTJ3. But Killer Mike and El-P were nice enough to release the digital version of their album on Christmas Eve so we all had plenty of time to try to memorize verses that we would try to rap along to at the show but never be able to keep up with.
Stage AE opened the doors around 9pm to start letting in a line of people that had been waiting there, in the cold, for an hour at the very least. I know this because I thought doors opened at 8 so I got down there an hour early, but ended up going to Tequila Cowboys for a beer to kill the time. Nick Hook, Fools Gold producer/DJ, came out shortly after the doors opened to warm the crowd up a little bit. And he did just that. He was slamming hard enough at one point that the cover over the Run The Jewels banner behind him fell off. The crowd was really starting to file in now and the place was looking pretty full already. After a few J-Dilla shout outs and saying thank you to RTJ for bringing him along he brought out Cuz, who was previously known as SL Jones. Cuz had a pretty chill blend of new and old hip hop sound. He kept the crowd moving around with Nick Hook behind him. Not long after Gangsta Boo hit the stage rocking a t-shirt that looked like it just had a giant face of Violent J of ICP on it. Gangsta Boo had a pretty OG set, we her old school Three Six Mafia sound.
Once Gangsta Boo finished up her set, Nick Hook stayed behind the table spinning some music while the Gaslamp Killer made his way out and took over. Out of all the openers this guy definitely caught my attention the most. He played a pretty wide variety of beats, everything from glitchy 8 – bit sounds to 00’s hip hop. Whilst twisting knobs and smacking his drum pad he would stop and take a second shout out El-P (making sure to call him El-Producto through) and of course J-Dilla.
The Gaslamp Killers heavy tech/electronic sounds was the perfect interlude to Run The Jewels. Killer Mike and El-P stormed the stage and were greeted by a packed and screaming crowd, with giant inflatable RTJ hands logo hanging overhead. Both Mike and L can brag about stealing your girl, flex on you for not reading books, crack jokes about mowing enemies down, then get super conscious and make you contemplate what you are doing with your life, all with impeccable flow. RTJ’s set felt like it never stopped, just flowing from one hard hitting song to the next. The two performed something off each album and even brought Gangsta Boo back out for Love Again (Akinyele Back) off RTJ2. These dudes exceeded my expectations and then some, they played a little bit of everything while extremely energetic and active with the crowd who loved every minute of it.
Run The Jewels
The Gaslamp Killer