El-P Shares Hilarious Story Of Opening For The Beastie Boys In 1998

Run The Jewels have just kicked off their 2017 tour in Philadelphia, where they’ve performed songs from Run The Jewels 3 live for the very first time.

A few videos have surfaced on Youtube and across social media, giving us an idea of how exuberant and energetic the pair were for their opening night. One video in particular features El-P regaling the crowd with an amazingly funny story of the last time he performed at that venue, The Electric Factory, back in 1998 – 19 years ago – with his former group Company Flow. Co Flow has just come off a European tour, having broken up at the very start of the two month long run, and were invited to open for the Beastie Boys. At that time, it was by far the biggest room they had ever played in.

In this video, El-P began by saying, “I was like, ‘have I been here before?’ And I realised, 19 years ago I had been here before, it was with my old crew Company Flow. 

“Now, Company Flow had just come off a two month long winter tour through wonderful, disturbing winter wonderlands like Germany.” At this point Killer Mike pipes up, repeating the word “Germany” a few times in an hilariously ominous tone.

“To add even more pain to that, Company Flow had broken up the day we left for the tour. So we went on the tour for two months…[“Germany”]… I was frazzled, I was fucked up, my whole crew was fucked up. Everything that I had been building was falling apart. But we got the call while we were on tour: ‘You guys are opening for the Beastie Boys in Philly when you get back.’

“True story. So we did it. We came here to Philadelphia, I think it was the Check Your Head tour for Beastie Boys [note: it was actually the Hello Nasty tour]. It was a very big thing for us, we had ever been in a room of this fucking size, we had never seen this many people in front of us before…. Meanwhile, we’re just wrecks, human wrecks of men. So the first couple songs come on, shit is going okay. Let’s just imagine you guys aren’t here for Run The Jewels, you’re here for the Beastie Boys, and you see… someone else. So, you’ll probably be a little bit polite but you’re not gonna be that excited. Fair enough, totally fair. At the time I was about 21, so I didn’t have that much experience.

“There was one person in the crowd one – how many thousands of people are here tonight?… There was one person in the crowd while I was doing a song, that one person was like, ‘Boo, fuck you, bring on the Beastie Boys.’ [Killer Mike puts on a high-pitched voice and repeats in the background, ‘Boo! Fuck you! Bring on the Beasties! Fuck you!’]

“So somehow, I managed to hear that one person, and the song is going, but I was like, ‘Cut the fucking sound off!’ And I look, and I’m just like, [now yelling], “I will jump down there, and I’ll beat the shit out of you, and I’ll strangle your fucking neck if you don’t stop yelling! I will come down there!’

“Needless to say, they booed the fuckin’ shit out of us, not just the guy, it started with the guy… They booed us so hard that we had to walk off stage after three songs. It was my fault.

“It’s 19 years later… and we’re here tonight with you guys, our name is on the headline of this fuckin’ bill, and I can’t tell you how amazed and thankful I am to be here tonight.”

Coming full circle never sounded so damn good.

RTJ last visited Australia over the 2014-2015 new years period for Falls Festival. Our fingers and toes are crossed that they’ll be back super soon to perform material from their phenomenal new album.

Image: Red Bull