If one thing is certain, Killer Mike’s ability to speak on the ways of the world is worth gathering around the fire for.
His rhymes are richly vigor, from the days of bodying features with OutKast (“Snappin’ & Trappin'” and the Grammy-winning “The Whole World”) to his recent journey with El-P as rap duo Run The Jewels. Somewhere in between, the MC allowed the culture buzzing around him to be focal points in his music, with 2012’s “Reagan” and his sixth solo album R.A.P. Music being the result.
Those camping safely outside of rap state lines quickly fangirled over the rapper, born Michael Render, leading to him to easily infiltrate the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with Huffpost founder Ariana Huffington in 2015 after co-signing Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. His views against the criminalization of black and brown people, heavy policing of low-income neighborhoods and gun rights for African-Americans were heard in and out of the booth.
But with his latest creative leap—the bold and hilarious Trigger Warning with Killer Mike on Netflix— Mr. Render has come full circle. “I think Americans often celebrate the villains and often times we’ll celebrate the villains who pass the paper bag test,” he tells VIBE in relation to Crip-A-Cola, a black business made by street fraternities on the series. “I can go to Godfather’s Pizza, I can go buy an Al Capone t-shirt, but I think these guys should be providing their own products in the free market.”
Mike is the first artist featured on Then & Now, our latest video series that highlights the journeys of acts who have secured their legacy in hip-hop culture and beyond. The rapper also goes into detail about the backlash he received from his single “Reagan” (Run The Jewels was banned from House of Blues in Orlando), what he’s learned from Trigger Warning and his strong chemistry with El-P.
Check out Then & Now with Killer Mike up top.