“…these same issues have been going on for 500 years,” Killer Mike told ICON on a call from his home city of Atlanta, Georgia. The date of our conversation was May 21, mere days before unrest would grip America. Of course, neither of us could foresee what would have occurred and how quickly upheaval would erupt, yet following eight days of protesting, our conversation is more relevant than ever.
In light of current protests, Killer Mike made an important and heartfelt speech which has since gone viral, asking citizens to strategise and organise protests rather than resolving to rioting and arson. And his message for politicians and policy makers rings in same volumes.
“What I would like to see in the next four years is more cities and states coming up with more progressive policies to show as an example to the rest of the country that progress is possible without the same brutal capitalistic ways that we have followed the last 50 and 60 years,” Killer Mike passionately told ICON.
“I would like to see more progression from the ground up, I’d like to see more prosecutors who had prosecuted wrongly or badly in the last few years be exited out for a more progressive minded prosecutors who have the ability to say well these people who would normally be on a path to legalised slavery. That’s what prison is in the United States, legalised slavery. Instead of putting them in prison, how could we put them in a program,” he continued.
“A friend of mine, Judge Asha Jackson, she resides in a county right next to Atlanta called DeKalb. She does everything she can to keep people from going to jail including mandating they go to trade schools and things of that nature, where a young man or woman usually heading to a one-year sentence will have the opportunity to one year at a trade school. That way, they have a profession on the other side of the dealing with court systems instead of dealing with an arrest. I’d like to see more of that type of stuff on the ground. From some of the brutal ways we’ve enforced law in this country, and I’d like to see a few more people oriented in terms of who gets an opportunity.”
Nowadays Killer Mike along with producer El-P make up rap duo, Run The Jewels, which will see their next album release on on June 5. Killer Mike is a well known activist and has long been fighting the often silent war against black civil rights, which has also seeped into his chart-topping music. The namesake 2016 album Run The Jewels 3 was dropped during the appointment of Donald Trump as the U.S. President which can be subtly heard in the impassioned lyrics and hard-hitting backing music and after a four-year hiatus, the next full-length project, RTJ 4 is set to be the soundtrack of time where music is needed more than ever.
“These societal things are happening all the time around us. It’s just artists a lot of times, are given a voice to be a voice for the people whose voice if not amplified because they don’t have the place we do… I think rap being political [and] what we made are social observations, rally and call, analysis.”