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Run The Jewels wishes old-ass Stephen Colbert a happy birthday on The Late Show

Run The Jewels
Screenshot: The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Rap duo Run The Jewels and Late Show host Stephen Colbert have beef. No, not about Killer Mike’s deeply disappointing recent endorsement of the infamously racist gun lobby trade organization masquerading as a civil rights group, the National Rifle Association. Instead, as watchers of The Late Show know, Killer Mike and El-P intermittently pop up to despoil Colbert’s holiday-themed musical comedy sketches with some of their signature (but more so) explicit flow. After working their foul-mouthed magic on Colbert’s Halloween and Christmas ditties in the past, RTJ made a return appearance on Friday’s show in advance of Colbert’s birthday. (And we can all be thankful that they chose that occasion to rap about, rather than Sunday’s Mother’s Day.)

Starting out with a sincerely off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday,” the duo broke out, unsurprisingly, into a profanely insulting rap about how goddamned old Colbert is getting. Cue lyrics about adult diapers, underwhelming obituaries, erectile dysfunction, and the fact that Colbert’s show is on past Colbert’s bedtime. Damn. Not to take this lying down, Colbert retorted that Killer Mike and El-P themselves must be in their mid-forties, “which is pretty old for rappers.” El-P tried responding, “We’re 43—that’s early 40s,” but the damage was done. Look for the next holiday rap battle to commence soon. What rhymes with Labor Day?


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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.