Run The Jewels (Killer Mike & El-P) / Kool A.D. / Despot The Hoxton, Toronto ON, July 11

Run The Jewels (Killer Mike & El-P) / Kool A.D. / Despot The Hoxton, Toronto ON, July 11
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The Hoxton was bursting with rap heads by the time the show kicked off Thursday night. Former Das Racist space-case Kool A.D quickly won the crowd over with his clever nonsense raps, delivered seamlessly over his DJ's spacy beats. Def Jux vet Despot was up next, breaking up selections off his long-awaited debut album with a choreographed dance routine that could only be described as hipster aerobics. His ratatat beats boomed from the sound system, for the crack analogies of "House Made of Bricks" and the anthemic screed "Crap Artists."

ATL bruiser Killer Mike got up shortly after, prowling the stage like a heavily armed preacher. The set drew heavily from last year's R.A.P. Music though Mike still found time to play the fiery "That's Life" and deliver "God Is In The Building" on his knees as a sermon. Early into his set, he told the crowd, "I don't have a hypeman. Y'all are my hypeman." They responded appropriately, from filling in the blanks on an a cappella rendition of "Go" to "Reagan," backed by DJ Trackstar wearing a Ronnie mask. Mike closed with "R.A.P. Music," bringing church into session.

El-P followed up with a tight, energetic set backed by a three-piece band. Kicking off with the incendiary "Drones Over BKLYN," the band delved into aggressive, sound-bombing renditions of El's career highlights. "The Full Retard" sparked a mosh-pit, while "Tougher Colder Killer" brought Mike and Despot back to kick back-to-back verses. El finished the set with the poetic ramble "$4 Vic/Nothing But You+Me."

He was shortly joined by Mike, and as they donned 36-inch chains, it was time for "Run The Jewels." The villainous duo ran through bangers off their self-titled debut, getting the crowd to sing along with "Sea Legs" and delivered ferocious takes on "DDFH" and "Banana Clipper." Showing off secret handshakes, hyping each other's lines; it was clear Run the Jewels were having the time of their lives, as was the crowd. By the time El and Mike bowed out, there was no doubt the crowd had just witnessed that night's best rap show, period. All while keeping their jewellery intact.