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Killer Mike, Venerable Rapper/Activist, Talks New Album, Drug War, and Maybe Running for Office

The OutKast affiliate and longtime Atlanta figurehead speaks on the eve of his new album, "R.A.P. Music," aka "Rebellious African Peoples' Music."

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You give people jobs, communities get stronger, houses get bought, cars get purchased. Almost an instant change happens to the community. Gang warfare drops and similar things that are plaguing my community. I need to see that. I need to see a stronger stance on decriminalizing marijuana because I’m tired of riding around in the South being all paranoid about something I know most Americans do. I think that the signing of the bill that would allow Americans more easily identify the terrorists, I almost see that as a fact that the administration—I am not willing to trade my freedom for safety. Because I’ve never felt safe anyway. I could walk across the street and be murdered by a car, get hit by a car and die. But I will never trade—I will jaywalk if I want to. That’s where I am with this administration.

JES: Do you feel optimistic at all? 

KM: I think the best answer is, I’m not hopeless. But I’m not hopeful based on what I have not seen. I’m not hopeful, but I’m certainly not hopeless because I honestly feel that Americans, at our core, are good people. I honestly believe that we want the best for our fellow Americans and for ourselves and if we could let the petty differences of our social caste system of economics, the social caste system of race, the social caste system of geography of middle America, of urban America, I think we could put all those caste systems aside and get to the core of America, what makes us more free, what makes us more happy, I think that all of us would be voting on behalf of each other and it will benefit us all. I honestly in my heart of hearts believe that.

When people say, the Christian Right, they put up some ridiculous video trying to control what—saying that we’re a Christian country. No we’re not. We’re secular as can be. But the beautiful thing about being a secular country, as a Christian, God gave us a choice, he gave us free will. And what better expression of free will than to have signs that say "Do Anything You Want to So Long As You Don’t Hurt Anybody." Me having an open side makes me a better religious person. It gives you the option of living in a secular world. If you don’t, that’s between you and god, but I want to live in a secular, free society.

JES: Would you run for office?

KM: As much as I would like to run for office, I just want for no bullshit. You can look for me in the next four or five years running for a public office in Atlanta.

Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music is out May 15, but  the entire album is currently available to stream here.


Julianne Escobedo Shepherd is an associate editor at AlterNet and a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. Formerly the executive editor of The FADER, her work has appeared in VIBE, SPIN, New York Times and various other magazines and websites.