Video Exclusive: Mike Bigga speaks on not having T.I.'s presence in releasing "PL3DGE," and why he's not fooled by Jay-Z & Warren Buffett appearing together on magazine covers.
Killer Mike's (a/k/a Mike Bigga) tenure in the Rap game runs deep. As one of Hip Hop's few unapologetic political mouthpieces, the southern lyricist crafts unabashed rhymes about everything from women to extreme distrust of the government. Previously aligned with Outkast's Purple Ribbon posse, Mike joined T.I.'s Grand Hustle in 2008 (exclusively reported to HipHopDX).
A year later, Grand Hustle's fearless leader T.I. entered prison, and a year later he entered again. Now, as Killer Mike gears for Part 3 of his Pledge trilogy, titled the PL3DGE (arriving May 17th), he drops some more knowledge to the masses while simultaneously having them dance in the club.
We sat down with Mike for an exclusive on what he's feeling during the weeks leading up to his album's release. With T.I. still in jail, his subject matter growing in controversy, and blatant name checks to artists like Jay-Z (on the album's "That's Life II"), Killer Mike is ready to roll with the punches. "I'm a book reader, I'm a gang leader," he exclaims on the PL3DGE's thesis statement/opener "So Glorious". Enter the mind of Hip Hop's favorite rhyme Killer.
HipHopDX: When putting out PL3DGE, does it feel unnatural for the album to be coming out without T.I. being here?
Killer Mike: Yeah, I miss my friend. I told somebody that…I can remember still going to buy Trap Muzik, and popping up at Tower Records. He was outside, and I was going in to get [a copy]. I didn’t even know he was there, and he was grabbing my records. You miss your friend more than anything, because you care about what your friend thinks of your records. On a professional level, he texts me. He just got rights to talk back and forth, so we were e-mailing right on the 19th—the day before my birthday.
I just hit him up saying I miss him, telling him how much we love and care about him and that I’m glad his family is good. I told him I hoped he was okay and to keep his head up. He hit me back, and the only thing he could talk about was how he was sorry he wasn’t out to help push and promote the record. [He asked] how [Young] Dro was doing, and said he hated that he couldn’t be out on tour. That just gives a real testament to what a real friend he is. He’s in prison, but he cared more about how me and Dro doing well. It almost made me tear up. I was like, “This guy shouldn’t be giving a damn about that.” He’s watching the way the record is performing. I just miss my friend. I guess that’s the easiest answer.
DX: Do you ever have an concerns about some of the stuff you say on record?
Killer Mike: Yeah, I got concerns that they’re gonna kill me. I’ve got concerns that unless enough people wake up and pay attention to what I’m saying, either I’m going to have to stop saying it or I’m going to get killed for saying it—one or the other. When I say “they,” [that’s] anybody who has those three letters in their title. Usually it’s an alphabet boy or some type saying, “I’m the GFI—Governmental Federal Investigators.” But I do have fears of dying young based on the things I say. I say things that Jesus, Dr. King, Malcom X and Che Guevara said. I also say stuff that Fred Hampton, [Alprentice] “Bunchy” Carter and Huey Newton said.
DX: So if you have real concerns of the government checking you out, then you must not care as much when you make a comment about Jay-Z being next to Warren Buffett?
Killer Mike: Well, it wasn’t so much about Jay-Z next to Warren Buffett any more than it was about Ronald Reagan being a bad actor—when I said that in the third verse. What it was about was, in this country, we’re given idols to worship. I’ve loved Jay-Z as a rapper since ’96 when I was knee-deep in the trap. But I will never allow media to fool me to somehow think that just because a black kid from Marcy Projects becomes a billionaire the tables are fair when he’s standing next to a next to a man who’s worth $56 billion.
[Warren Buffett] can give away his money, and the next year make more money and plus $10 billion. Jay-Z has had to fight, bleed, kill and die for every dollar he’s ever got. And that’s not to say that Mr. Buffett and every other billionaire doesn’t. That’s just saying that I can choose to give Jay-Z another dollar. I can choose to buy his record; I can choose to go to his restaurant. Warren Buffett owns a piece of everything I have—whether it’s orange juice, Polar Springs or the table we’re at. Berkshire Hathaway owns a piece of it! My thing is, if I allow you to start making Jay-Z equal to that in the perception and minds of people, I start judging Jay-Z by those standards. And that’s not fair. He can’t do—socially and globally—what someone with $50 billion can do. It’s wrong to put those expectations on him.
So I view Jay-Z and Puffy as entertaining businessmen who have made moguls out of themselves. In the context of putting their money next to me, I shrink. But putting their money next to Buffett, [Carlos] Slim out of Mexico, the Nigerian and East Indian billionaires, they just become regular people again. I won’t let my perception to be controlled. So it’s not a slight against Jay-Z. It’s just saying that if you allow you idols to be judged on a game or playing field that they didn’t create, you’re gonna be saying you think they’re in the Illuminati. And they’re not, because they don’t have enough money to be in the Illuminati.