Maybe it's just because they both played the same stage, but it was hard not to think of Killer Mike and Fucked Up's Damian Abraham as twins separated at birth: Both burly, big-hearted dudes that share the same humility, unstoppable energy, and incredible generosity of spirit. Killer Mike had to work much harder: Compared to Fucked Up's sprawling crowd, the Atlanta rapper had barely gathered a quorum when he launched into his set, but from the moment he began, there was little doubt that this was the only place to be at Primavera. (Fortunately, the crowd's numbers grew steadily, as did its energy level.) Assisted by his DJ, Trackstar, and barreling his way through songs like "Big Beast," "Untitled," and "R.A.P. Music," Mike mustered the requisite gruffness, but when it came to the between-song banter — and there was a lot of it — the lovable underdog always came to the fore.
Early in the set, he told us, "I am Killer Michael, and I have said it before, but I am so very happy to be out here tonight. I don't know if you ever fell off a bike, if you ever didn't make the team, if you ever fell and bust your ass, but if you have, you know it's hard getting the fuck up and working your ass off. I have worked my ass off to be on the stage with you tonight. So what I need you to know is, I appreciate you so much, and I appreciate you for appreciating me and having rap music. So thank you, thank you, and motherfucking thank you!" He kept up that level of empathy throughout the set, whether it was lambasting Ronald Reagan for setting the world economy on its current course, leading the crowd in a salute to his wife, or turning the show's climax into a full-on revival meeting: "Whatever that feeling that my grandmother felt from church, I feel in a rap concert. And I can honestly say, from the bottom of my heart, I know there's a god, when I look at you and you and you and you and you and you all standing here in the name of rap music. So the final two records, now that we've been angry with politicians, we've smoked some marijuana, we did some ratchet shit, I'd just like to say, 'Welcome to rap church.' This is 'R.A.P. Music by El-P and I, and this has truly been a spiritual experience."