Unlikely pairing that they seem, Run the Jewels proved to be a match made in Gangsta’s Paradise. Oozing with confidence after last month’s stellar self-titled, Killer Mike and EL-P unite to tag-team the mic with a distinctive blend of tough talk, geeky humor, and lyrical skill unheard of in today’s hardcore rap. El-P’s beats are raw, splitting the difference between Crunk and the Bomb Squad, and the pair’s rhymes cover a dazzling thematic range that reveals the group’s chemistry to be the result a mutual dedication to cerebral, well-informed thuggery. Run the Jewels are unabashed intelligent hoodlums in an era where street knowledge trumps book learning, and the music is so refreshing because its mix of street smarts and brains reflects the very essence of hip-hop.
Wed., Aug. 14, 7 p.m., 2013