Killer Mike: Gangster's Paradise

posted July 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM CDT | 50 comments

Hands down, Atlanta native Killer Mike is the most powerful voice in independent Hip Hop today. Theres no need to debate who his competition is, because there is none. A fact made abundantly clear since his I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II was released this week to rave reviews [click to read] and the type of buzz usually reserved for Hip Hop heavyweights backed by bloated major label budgets.

Since traveling a long winding road to his new independence [click here for all the details on that journey], Mike has sold over 35,000 copies of his 2006 street album, I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind - without any formal distribution it should be noted and subsequently netted a rare partnership for his Grind Time Official label with Bay Area based SMC Recordings (in which Mike retains ownership of his masters) to distribute its sequel.

Boasting high-powered cameos from Ice Cube, 8Ball & MJG and Chamillionaire, as well as nearly flawless production courtesy of NO I.D., Tha Bizness, and Smiff & Cash among others, Grind II should bring Killa Kills powerful poems about poverty, pushing, pimpin, politics, and most importantly progressing to an even larger audience, serving as the perfect prelude to the January 09 release of Grind III, and his potential return-to-a-major-label release, 16 In The Kitchen [Me and NO I.D. working on it right now, Mike noted].

The King Kong of this rap shit took a break recently from his seemingly never-ending grind to once again deliver an interesting and insightful interview to his good friends at HipHopDX, this time with the names Lil Wayne, T.I., Shawty Lo, Big Boi, Andre 3000, Pimp C, Ice Cube, The Game and Snoop Dogg all surfacing within the course of our convo. He also made time to speak on fake-ass Bloods in Hip Hop, new arrival ATLiens who are on that fagged-out Midtown shit, why less kids need to be gangstas and more kids need to be Souljah Boy, and that he is bigger than every rapper you name, in addition to many more jaw-dropping statements Mike offered up in this must-read interview.

HipHopDX: I just wanna start off by congratulating you for making a dope-ass album a skill most artists dont seem to possess anymore.
Killer Mike
: Thank you, man. I been waiting my whole life to hear that, man! And even though cats like[d] me rhyme-wise before, they always liked songs, or they liked the fact that I could rap good. [But] this is my first what I feel like is a cohesive and classic album. So thank you, man.

DX: Well enough of the pleasantries, lets get to the funkiness. I got a good chunk of questions based off your own words Im gonna ask you to elaborate on. So lets just start with your most recent barb on Killionaire: I see these fake-ass Bloods, I keep a tight lip. Was that a shot at Lil Wayne or no?
Thats a shot at every rapper who is going against the words of T. Rodgers. See, I dont want you to reduce me or my words to anything petty. And the reason I say that is I accept and acknowledge the accountability that I have as a rapper in influencing the greater public. Now, that being said, when any grown-ass fucking man 25 to 35 will put on a gang bandanna and will represent that to the public as though this is something thats gon progress your life when original gang member[s] who first helped to build that are saying, No, no, no amongst those members being Jeff Fort from the original Black P.Stone Nation, Larry Hoover, who changed the direction of The Gangster Disciples into growth and development, and T. Rodgers of the original Bloods of Los Angeles when they are saying, No, turn away from this culture, and you as any rapper, I dont give a fuck what your name is, if you promote that you a piece of fucking scum. Cause you promoting death to children who look like you.

And if the originators are saying that See what I mean by that, if you not from Chicago, and if you not from L.A., please recognize what you doing. When you watch Game [click to read], [he] not only told dudes, "Okay, yeah this is what it was [to gang bang]." But Game dont hide the fact he [also] played basketball with Baron Davis. Game dont hide the fact he likes being an intelligent brother. When you look at a Snoop, [he] doesnt mind coming outta Crip mode and going into intelligent father mode. But if youre promoting something thats unbalanced, then that [line is directed] to you, whoever you may be. Because we are risking the lives of millions of black children.

DX: I think you just did it, but you said on that track that youre about ready to go Pimp C part 3. You know theres no better place to get something off your chest than HipHopDX. [Laughs]
Man, to me, Im so blessed to be a rapper [that] anytime I grab a microphone I just say Ima say something true. Even if everything aint true, Ima say something true. Ima say a truth that somebody can live with or eat off of, or do something more than just remain a flunkie.

DX: Was that Pimp C part 3 reference though to anything in particular, are we gonna hear about down the line?
Nah, it was about Pimp C See, Im not looking for controversy. Im looking for a measure of manhood, brother. Like, you know Pimp didnt get out of jail and get reformed and find Jesus. Pimp was saying before he ever went to jail: The motherfucking feds in town. Go back and listen to that off Super Tight. Go listen back to that. Go listen to The Feds In Town [click to read]. Go listen to how youre supposed to appropriate yourself when the police crackdown comes. Dont listen to a muthafucka telling you to ball out during a recession. Its fucked up, man. And whats gonna happen is you gon ball out, you broke, and a dope dealer gon turn into a robber. So you gon go from a muthafucka who coulda caught a case for selling dope and got probation, to a muthafucka that kick in somebody mama door and kill her looking for dope and money. Thats the part of the story niggas dont talk about. But if you had actually lived that life, then you would at least have the humanity enough to let somebody know that this is what really fuckin happens in that life. Thats what Ice-T did for me. Thats what Ice Cube [click to read] did for me. Thats what KRS-One [click to read] did for me. Listen to 6 N The Morning [click to read]. Listen to Death Certificate in its entirety.

DX: Loves Gonna GetCha.
And I was fin to hit you with it. Not only listen to Loves Gonna GetCha, listen to Edutainment [as a whole]. But definitely listen to Loves Gonna GetCha. I dont have no problem with my brother. I love the fact we can rap and make money, and we can use all that fucked up experience the government heaped on us through the Reagan years and I wanna send shouts out to [Juelz] Santana we can use all that fucking bullshit that we went through taking music out of schools, taking recess, taking free lunch we can use all thatnow we can use that as an opportunity for us to make music, entertain the world and edutain at the same time! Then we can tell kids get off that same bullshit we was doing in the 80s and get on this new shit and get to your money. Less kids need to be gangstas and more kids need to be Soulja Boy [click to read]. And I dont mean in making that [kind of] music, I mean in being innovative and knowing at 16 years-old, "I can conquer the fucking world." I aint gotta join this [gang] shit cause a nigga want me to join. I aint got to be a part of a nigga flunkie squad. I can be a leader.

Im interested in seeing the people who listen to me be leaders. Hence, I dont sit around and rap about how much more shit I got than you. Hence, I dont try to demean you for the decisions you made with your life that have caused you to come to the point you work a nine-to-five job. I ask most people: How the fuck can you listen to these niggas and when you listening to these niggas for 60 minutes these niggas tell you how much better they are than you, how many cars they got, how many bitches they fucked, how much dro they smoke? If a nigga sat in your car and did that for real you would put that nigga black ass out your car. So my thing is how the fuck you gon pay a nigga to talk down to you? This is music that I make to support your success. Im not here to demean you. Im not here to tell you you aint shit.

[Do] I say "nigga, bitch, hoe, cunt, muthafucka" and whole bunch of other words George Carlin said? Yes I do. Because Im speaking the language of the day. So dont give me your petty-ass [argument], But you say these words. Cause that goes into a deeper conversation. What Im saying is we have the power to reorganize and uplift. Im not telling any real Blood or real Crip theres anything wrong with real people organizing. The Crips and Bloods started out as self-organized groups of children. So my thing is whats the evolution of that organization? Whats the evolution [of] the Bloods from Athens Park that Bone wants to see? Im interested in what the fuck he got to say. Im interested in what T. Rodgers had to say. Im interested in what Jeff Fort had to say. Im interested in what 15, 16 and 17-year-old children who are Bloods and who want to organize in The Jungle, who want to organize in places like that, Im interested in what they have to say. Im not interested in the theatrics of fucking rappers acting like gangsters. Im not interested in that. I saw Colors already.

And just so you know, the line [about fake-ass Bloods from Killionaire] in itself was against no rapper and all rappers. Because most of the guys that are rapping to you today, to the audience out there reading this, most of them were children and they saw Colors in the late 80s. And when they say Colors them, me, and every other little nigga that saw Colors wanted to be in the Crips because thats what Rocket was. And because we saw that [repeats line from movie] Rocket don't joke and Rocket don't smoke; Rocket peel the cap of a nigga. Like, thats what we all wanted to do. Now, 20 years later Don Cheadle is a successful fucking actor. And in our dope minds we know that Don Cheadle wasnt Rocket. And we saw the 90s happen, and death and destruction happen. So how can we as 20-something and 30-something-year-old men now the same little boys who wanted to be a Crip cause we saw Rocket how the fuck they putting on different colored bandanas today and influence kids to do the same bullshit we was on? Thats my question to the niggas who asking.

DX: Alright, well lets move over from that particular verse to your words on Grind II specifically, the most stand out to me of which is your shot on what I think is the hardest record on the album in my opinion, Bang
: Oh, thank you, man. A lot of people tried to hate. I love that record. Thats our anthem.

DX: Yeah, well lets get to the shot
Sidekick niggas dont wanna see me conquer/Fired my boss, I dont need no sponsor.

DX: You just told me in January that you and Big Boi are back on good terms [click to read]...
We are on good terms. That record was written in November. [Laughs]

DX: Oh okay, but I think you spit the fired my boss line in that [Killionaire] freestyle though too. KM: I fired my Let me tell you something, most people who listen to a rap, what are they gonna do if they like that rap? They gon repeat the rap, right? So my thing is I dont care if you think Im talking about Big Boi, cause Im not. I want whoever rappin that verse to wanna one day fire they boss. I met a kid at a shoe store I shop at the exclusive shoe stores. You know, the bullshit sneaker addiction, I got one the kid said, Mike, I was working at [a chain sneaker store] for $10-an-[hour] last year. I heard your song Promise I Will Not Lose. I fired my boss, came and worked for this shoe store, and now me and my partna doing party promotions, and we doing our own New Era design and selling em. Like, thats inspiration, man! So please dont marganilize me saying [the] I fired my boss [line] down to me and Big Boi. I had 20 bosses before Big Boi. From the dope trap to the Auto Zone, I fired em all.

DX: Big Mike used to work at the Auto Zone, okay.
At the Auto Zone and the Advanced Auto Parts.

DX: [Laughs] Okay, but in your last interview you said you had been calling Big to get on a song called Pimpin Mayne with Sleepy Brown and Pimp C.
Yeah, he didnt get on the song [so] I didnt put it on the record. Hopefully one day hell get on the song and itll come out. If he never gets on it, its never coming out. Cause I believe The Dungeon Family fans deserve that.

DX: Yeah, lets get to that, cause you also said Andre 3000that you would basically go [looking for] him until he got on the album. Did that pan out?
Yeah, it panned out. He jumped this verse off. And itsI think we putting it on Pledge III, which comes out in January.

DX: Oh okay, word. You know the title of what that joint is gonna be yet?
Yeah, its called Guns & Glory.

DX: Wow. Is it Andre 3000 at his A+ peak?
It better be cause Im at my A+ peak. And this is what the world been waiting to hear.

DX: Yeah, go into that a little bit. You said previously that Dungeon Fam faithful deserve to see you and Kast working together again, why do you think that is?
Well, The Dungeon Family in my mindand what the fans say to me is [that] they never got that song from me and Dre they wanted. So we gotta give em that. And they wanna hear me and Big do a Southernplayalistic [type] song. Hence, I gave him Pimpin Mayne. And the one with Dre is just lyrically gon be some animal shit. Like, Im doing my [lyrical] exercises, my crunches and shit, making sure Im up [to par]. Cause I see what he doing to niggas on them verses. Hes killing niggas, and laughing about it. He think I dont know that though.

DX: [Laughs] Alright, lets get back to Grind II. I know you dont wanna keep talking about this kinda stuff, but you know I gotta ask about 2 Sides. Youre on a track with the infamous Shawty Lo line talking about those that lie about their location. So are you in any way joining Shawty Lo in his condemnation of T.I.?
Let me tell you something, brother, Michael Render, Carlos Walker, and Clifford Harris are all from the Westside of Atlanta. Thats what that is. So Im not taking no sides [in their battle]. Im from Martin Luther King [Street]. If two Bankhead niggas wanna argue, two Bankhead niggas can argue the rest of they life cause Im arguing with some Martin Luther King niggas over here. Thats what we do on the Westside. The Westside [of Atlanta] is [like] Watts if you from L.A. The Westside is Southside Chicago if you from Chicago. The Westside is Brooklyn if you from New York. Its a bunch of muthafuckin grimey, gritty, hungry [people]. [So] whats going on with Shawty Lo and Tip, its as normal as me arguing with my cousin last week. So no, this [song] is in no way a campaign against the king. I love the king. This aint a campaign against the King of the South or the King of Bankhead, or whichever kings either of them are. I love both them brothers.

This is a campaign against people coming in and reshaping my city. This is a campaign against muthafuckas coming in talking about, Im from Atlanta, but they talking about they a fuckin Atlanta Blood or an Atlanta Crip. Or, Im from Atlanta and niggas on that gotdamn fagged-out Midtown shit. Thats not Atlanta, homie. My town is not black Hollywood. My town is a rich, black, cultural diverse center of many black people with different kind of money, different kind of social experiences, different kind of everything. But what we are not is New York part 2. We are not L.A. part 2. We are not San Francisco part 2. We are not any of those other cities part 2. So Im not gonna accept those labels.

So when I go to a club in Atlanta and a muthafucka tells me that I gotta be dressed like your favorite rapper to get in that club, Ima tell that muthafucka the clubll be burnt down if he dont get his mind correct. Because this is my city for real. And thats all Im saying [in 2 Sides], brother. So it aint against no other rapper. I am bigger than every rapper you name. And Im not talking about, Oh, Ive made the most money. You know how many retarded muthafuckas done hit the lottery? That means nothing to me. What I mean is I have seen the same shit that your Jay-Zs have seen, that your 50s have seen, not because I had the money [but] because I paid attention. When I went to Paris with Outkast, I went to the Louvre muthafucka. You know what I mean? I used rap to get me to Africa. [But] Im not where these [local] niggas at [mentally]. Im not worried about block supremacy. Get the fuck outta here. Im worried about people from the hood realizing that the world is bigger than that, and we can accomplish anything. I wanna see more Master Ps, man. I wanna see more Jay-Zs, more 50 Cents. I wanna inspire that outta people. I dont wanna constantly be in the muthafuckin position of trying to down a muthafucka to make me look better.

Like, let me say this to you, why is every rapper whos telling you hes the best, the boss, or the president of something work for somebody? Every muthafucka talking that shit to you work for somebody else. I own my own masters. This is only the second interview I said that in. But if we wanted to start a brand game, we could do the slave/master game. See, I dont give a fuck how much jewlrey you got, nigga. Like Tony Draper said to me, Which one of these niggas gon own they shit 10 years from now? And like Pimp C said to me, Which one of these niggas shit gon even be getting played 10 years from now? Thats what Im talking about! Whats your catalog worth, nigga? And do you own it?

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