Photo: Durty Harry
“Opening for the Wu is for real,” Killer Mike (Michael Render) tells SLUG in his boisterous Southern drawl. El-P recreates the experience, saying, “We walked into it assuming the crowd was there for Wu-Tang and we were just the opener. So the fact that we had 10,000 kids screaming our lyrics back to us was legitimately a surprise.” While the members of Run the Jewels were surprised by their overwhelmingly positive reception in Salt Lake City—opening for Wu-Tang Clan as part of the Twilight Concert Series this past summer—they probably should’ve expected it. After dropping their self-titled debut album in 2013, they became coveted festival performers and showed up on a lot of “best-of” lists at the end of the year. There’s a magic to Run the Jewels. There’s an energy and enthusiasm that is rarely found in hip-hop these days that makes it feel hard and dangerous, but also smart—and most importantly, a lot of goddamn fun. So really, it’s no surprise how well Run the Jewels fared in their first visit to Salt Lake City. “I was happy as a goddamn little girl,” Killer Mike says.