The Working Class is Underrepresented in Rap – An Interview with Killer Mike

It was while listening to the horrifically embarrassing clipping. album Sub Pop put out a few months back that I suddenly realized exactly why I fail to connect with the vast majority of hip hop artists I check out (not that I CAN connect with the rich kid hipster lifestyle rock and house beat pop bullshit the corplantations push these days). So many MC’s are far too bamboozled by the hustle of the street that they fail to see the cycles of daemonic exploitation keeping themselves and their community down systematically. Really just a comment on our failed educational system more than anything, which is something Killer Mike addresses in his lyrics quite specifically. For every rap mogul gangsta, there’s a white collar CEO or Wall Street spook colder and richer than they’ll ever be by a hundred fold. They’re the ones funding these bling rap records. I wonder why. You gotta read between the lines.

killer-mike

The movie mobsters these cats worship are small time crooks in comparison to the private prison overlords, weapons manufacturers, and soul deadened billionaires running our country. Those fuckers live in the suburbs. Well also, let’s face it, I don’t really listen to much non-psychedelic anything these days and there just ain’t enough psych-rap out there. Which is why it’s refreshing to hear that at least an ounce of mushrooms was involved in recording the new Run the Jewels album which should be coming out soon enough. I’d never actually read an interview with half of that duo, Killer Mike, before but this one’s a gem. Enjoy (via Believer Mag):

BLVR: You’ve rapped about the culpability of rap artists in terms of the values and ideas that they spread and what they give back to the communities that they came from. When did this obligation begin? Did rappers always have this obligation, or was it when rap became a global and commercial force?

KM: It’s always been. I don’t place obligations on you because you’re a rapper; I place obligations on you because you’re a man. Most rappers are black men. If you’re a black man, you owe something to the community that you came from. If you’re rapping about the community that you came from, and you’re romanticizing parts of it for the entertainment of people who don’t look like you, you certainly owe something to the community. That’s why when people try to criticize a person like my good friend T.I., I remind them that all the shit you want to talk about him, one of the first things he ever did with his money was start a construction company, and they were building houses in the community. How many rappers have the gall to do that, to build a construction company to build houses in the inner city? To me that shows a lot of forethought.

I hold rappers just as accountable as I hold the 100 Black Men of Atlanta. I hold them just as accountable as I hold Herman Russell. I know they don’t have a hundred million dollars like Herman Russell, but you’ve got twenty-five thousand dollars to open a chicken-wing stand, and to make sure that the people working in that chicken-wing stand look like you, and to make sure you don’t have bulletproof glass and the people aren’t being served like animals in cages at the zoo. You can do that instead of buying a funky-ass gold chain.

Continued

BLVR: Do you think hip-hop and the hip-hop community put too much stock in conspiracies?

KM: How can a black man not be paranoid? How can I look at any statistic that tells me that if you’re not an average reader by ten years old, you’re destined for prison? How can I say someone doesn’t have a vested interest in making sure the public-school systems stay fucked-up? How can I trust you when it was less than a hundred years ago that there was something called the Tuskegee experiment, which allowed black men to live with syphilis just to see the effects on the human body. As a rapper, how can I not believe in conspiracies?
That doesn’t mean I believe there’s some secret room of people who had a meeting about gangster rap, and that it was pushed. I’m talking about why public schools are truly fucked, why neighborhoods that never could get fixed, all of sudden when people start gentrifying them, we get public services like trash and regular police patrols. Why are churches getting money to shut up or push certain political campaigns through the community? Those are the real conspiracies I worry about, because those are things that are really affecting us.
I don’t have to think that there’s some grand satanic conspiracy for people to inject reptilian minds into mine; I don’t know about all that. But what I do know is that I don’t trust the church or the government, and anything the church or the government tells me I assume to be a lie or a conspiracy, until proven true.

Anyway, you should really check out the whole thing. It’s no wonder this guy doesn’t get played much on the radio anymore.

@Thad_McKraken on Twitter
(Magick journal on the Facebooks, friend me and point me in the direction of the real trip hop)

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  • Echar Lailoken

    You can do that instead of buying a funky-ass gold chain.

    I dig it. The ego gratiying materialism of rap, and what they call hip-hop today, has always pushed me away from the genres. I like how this dude talks.

    This is the first I’ve listened to his work. First song I found, I like.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lIqNjC1RKU

    • emperorreagan

      I hadn’t listened to this guy before but I dig this, too.

      • Earthstar

        Half Sharkaligator Half Man

    • mannyfurious

      You’d probably enjoy Aesop Rock, Dead Prez, Canibus, Immortal Technique, Reks, KRS-One and Public Enemy–among others. Those guys aren’t your stereotypical rappers with the gold chains and whatnot. They all rap about important, interesting stuff. Or you might enjoy guys like MF Doom or Kool Keith. They don’t really rap about “important” stuff, but they’re entertaining as hell and, again, no gold chains/materialism.

      • Echar Lailoken

        I am familiar with most that you listed. Ill Bill and La Coka Nostra are two others I enjoy.

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