Life in KC

The Big Show: Run the Jewels at the Midland

El-P, left, and Killer Mike are Run the Jewels.
El-P, left, and Killer Mike are Run the Jewels. Timothy Saccenti Photography

Angry, funny and altogether thrilling, the corrosively titled “Close Your Eyes (And Count to F*ck)” is the ultimate Run the Jewels song.

Killer Mike and El-P attempt to incite a prison riot over a looped sample of Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha chanting “Run them jewels fast.”

The incendiary call to arms demonstrates why the collaboration between Killer Mike and El-P has galvanized adventurous listeners in recent years.

Killer Mike repeatedly compares himself to Tupac Shakur, but he more closely resembles a Southern version of Ice Cube. He bellows anguished cries for social justice and lascivious descriptions of his carnal desires with the defiance associated with N.W.A.

El-P is an entirely different type of rapper. He relies on pithy wordplay and provocative punchlines. The native New Yorker is an even better producer. Neither of the men’s previous accomplishments has garnered the acclaim of Run the Jewels.

In an apparent attempt to deflate their lofty status, Run the Jewels released the feline novelty mixtape “Meow the Jewels” last month. The ridiculous project has expanded the duo’s appeal by highlighting their senses of humor.

El-P gets the last word in on the game show-themed “Jeopardy” — “Run the Jewels is the answer. Your question is ‘What’s poppin’?’ 

Boots, Bishop Nehru and Cuz Lightyear open Thursday’s concert. Tickets are $25 in advance through