When: Sunday, June 2, at 7:45pm on the Monster Energy Stage
Run the Jewels has been something of a slow burn when it comes to the crowd knowing what name to yell. A hip-hop duo consisting of Killer Mike and El-P, their particular brand of hip-hop, rap, and well, whatever the hell they want it to be has continued to evolve over the course of three albums and a handful of singles. Even with their own successful careers before and during the rise of RTJ, both members still seem surprised at the impact the duo has had on the culture, as the kids might say.
Their latest, RTJ3, is something of a revelation. It’s a bit more palatable than their previous two efforts - no less caustic or weird - but a more straightforward interpretation of their particular brand of mischievous and playful skewering of the standard hip-hop formula. And, frankly, it has some absolute bangers. From start to finish, RTJ3 does a couple of things, and it does them really, really well: tests the strength of whatever sound system you’re playing the album on, challenges your preconceptions of what hip-hop and rap is or can be in 2019, and stakes their claim as liberal figureheads who have no time or tolerance for bullshit. They’d just as soon tell someone to f*ck off as explain to them, eloquently, just how wrong they are and why, in witty, humorous, and explicit detail.
With their set slated for near the end of this year’s Bunbury Festival, it’s only fitting that they’d be helping to close out what’s going to be an already exceptional weekend of music in Cincinnati. Join the crowd, yell out RTJ!!!, and have some fun. I can only imagine how much fun they’ll be having.