The last show of a tour can be the worst show of a tour--a bunch of travel-weary souls rushing through their sets with their minds on sleeping in their own beds rather than ripping a stage.
Rapper/producer El-P wrapped his “Into the Wild” tour, with Atlanta rapper Killer Mike and Brooklyn rapper Mr. [Expletive] eXquire, on Sunday night at the Rock & Roll Hotel, and he admitted that the crew was a little beat. “We’re all a little bit ragged, a little sweaty and dirty,” El-P said.
But they were also hype. As Killer Mike put it: “Last show on tour--my intention is to burn this [expletive] down.”
Both El-P and Killer Mike seemed pumped to give one last live show highlighting two of the best albums of the year: Killer Mike’s “R.A.P. Music,” produced by El-P,” and El’s own “Cancer for Cure,” the Def Jux founder’s first solo full-length release since placing his influential underground indie hip-hop label on indefinite hiatus in 2010.
Killer Mike, who has transitioned from party-starter to protest leader on his last couple of albums, seemed giddy at the prospect of performing radical tracks from “R.A.P. Music” and 2011’s “PL3DGE” in D.C. After heavy-hitters “Big Beast” and “Southern Fried,” he got into “Reagan,” a lengthy, dense track where the rapper links many current societal ills to the 40th president’s time in the White House. He said it was a “dream” to perform the track in the nation’s capital.
El-P performed “Cancer for Cure” in an ordered album set, from the muggy, mostly instrumental “Request Denied” to closer “$4 Vic/FTL (Me and You).” Exquire joined El on the aural fist fight that is “Oh Hail No,” but the guest appearance that got the biggest reaction was that of Mr. Killums--the dope-shooting, murderous squirrel puppet who co-stars in El-P’s video for “The Full Retard.”
El-P celebrated the end of the tour by pouring some liquor down his throat--taking a long, horrible guzzle was one of the tour’s rituals/pranks, he said. But despite that monster gulp of alcohol, fatigue, and what he called “oppressive” heat on stage, he still gave a 10-minute encore (which included “Deep Space 9mm,” from 2002’s “Fantastic Damage,”), and even then seemed like he didn’t want the show to end.