Without a doubt, the buzziest act of 80/35 was Run The Jewels. The hip hop duo, comprised of Killer Mike and El-P, has gotten rave reviews for its second "Run The Jewels" album and has been a big draw at festivals like SXSW and Coachella.
Run The Jewels doesn't have many Midwest dates scheduled for this summer, but Des Moines was one of them.
"You guys are f---in' great," El-P told the crowd. "I didn't know."
Though for a moment, he also didn't know what city he was in, saying "Thank you, Iowa City!" after some half-hearted boos came out of the crowd, Killer Mike corrected him.
The duo took the stage to Queen's "We Are The Champions," setting the tone for a boastful set. "We're gonna set this city on mother f---in' fire!" Killer Mike told the crowd before kicking off the show with "Run The Jewels."
Killer Mike and El-P danced across the stage in together. At one point El-P seemed to be river dancing. The two traded off on providing the dominant vocals in songs, with the other acting as hype man. Both regularly threw up the pistol and fist, the hand signs that have composed the covers of both Run The Jewels albums. The crowd through them back. The pistol and fist aren't quite as easy to pull off or as iconic as the Wu-Tang W, but both rappers seemed thrilled as how into their set Des Moines was.
"Crowd of the year, Des Moines," Killer Mike told the crowd.
If Killer Mike had a high opinion of Des Moines, he had a higher one of Run The Jewels. "I say this with conviction every night: we're the best." If Killer Mike and El-P weren't backing it up so strongly lyrically, that might just seem like an empty boast, but they very well might have been the best show of the festival.