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El-P and Killer Mike have spent the majority of their careers as fiercely loved but little-seen underground artists, but the script was flipped at Coachella on Saturday (April 11), when the Run the Jewels starred in a guest-filled, widely attended set. Zack De La Rocha, Travis Barker and Gangsta Boo were among the surprise performers, while a pastel-haired Kylie Jenner attracted would-be paparazzi in the tightly packed crowd.
Less than six months removed from the most widely acclaimed album of both of their careers, the rap duo leaned heavily on their Run the Jewels 2 full-length, putting the audience in a headlock by playing the unhinged “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” second in the set. “Blockbuster Night Part 1” and “All My Life” were greeted with gusts of weed smoke from the crowd, and after tearing through “Lie, Cheat, Steal,” El-P took a shot at “those motherf—ing cops in Ferguson,” to ravenous applause.
That was the only ostensibly political moment of the set, which served as more of a celebration for a duo that appeared shell-shocked by the size of its Coachella draw. De La Rocha, the former Rage Against the Machine frontman, began the parade of guests and showed off his shorter hairstyle on “Close Your Eyes (And Count to F—).” Boots and Despot came out during separate tracks, and Barker played drums on “All Due Respect.” After Gangsta Boo appeared for the filthy, fantastic “Love Again,” Killer Mike and El-P urged the female MC to join them on their upcoming tour.
Yet for all the guests, the focus never wavered from Run the Jewels. Mike was especially jovial and dance-happy, shaking his hips before declaring, “I’m having fun like a motherf—er — this is my cardio!”
The two friends embraced at the end of the set, and Killer Mike congratulated El-P on the hard work it took to command such a large Coachella audience. El-P had summed up his feelings earlier in the set, telling the crowd, “From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making our dreams come true.”
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