Despite his rise with Big Boi’s Purple Ribbon All-Stars and a memorable guest verse on Bone Crusher’s 2003 hit “Never Scared,” Killer Mike runs the underground these days with politically and socially conscious dirty South street rap. His May 15 release, “R.A.P. Music” (Williams Street Records), is no different. Killer Mike looks to build on his growing critical acclaim while bringing a heightened social awareness to fans, old and new alike.
“My hope is that very young people in America who have experience with the streets, hip-hop, college, higher learning will fuse all that together,” he told The Juice. “I just want to be the music that can relate to both sides, that stitch together their lives or represents their experiences.”
On “R.A.P. Music,” Killer Mike combines his Southern roots with soundscapes by iconic Brooklyn underground producer/MC El-P. Both create an intersection between Southern rap and progressive East Coast hip-hop. “What I imagine it to be, it’s like when Ice Cube came from the West Coast to record with the Bomb Squad,” reveals Mike, referring to Ice Cube’s 1990 classic “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted.” “I think I’ve made music that progresses rap, that doesn’t just chase what’s out,” he further explained. “It’s not throwback beats and throwback lines.”
Already familiar with Mike through his voice work on animated show “Frisky Dingo” and a previous Williams Street collaborative single with Flying Lotus, Adult Swim’s Williams Street Records offered Mike the right mix of creative freedom and knowledgable personnel. “I had full creative control,” Mike said. “We did like 4 days in Atlanta and a month in New York.” Working with Jason Demarco of Williams Street, Killer Mike found a stress-free environment that let the music just flow. “Jason is a music guy. He really is an artist at heart, even though he’s working the numbers,” points out Mike. “Everything that we did was just easy to do because you were working with people just [focused] on making a dope piece of art.”
As America approaches another presidential election season, Killer Mike has strong messages in “R.A.P. Music” that he hopes will open listeners’ social and political perspectives. “My job… is to continue to remind people that this is not racial, this is not just class, this is not just gender, this is not about straight versus homosexual,” he declared. “This is about social problems that affect us all and if we’re willing to band together around anybody that’s being victimized, we can make the situation better for all.”
“I’m talking about all justice for all America.”