When you hear the name Killer Mike, there are a few things that might come to mind: his activism for racial and social justice, his work as a rapper or perhaps even his appearance on popular television shows like Atlanta. However, what you might not know is that Killer Mike has a dedicated career as a singer that spans over two decades. In this blog post, we’ll explore the evolution of his singing career and how it has contributed to his overall sound and activism.
Killer Mike’s first taste of singing came in the late 1990s when he collaborated with artists like Outkast on their hit albums ATliens and Stankonia. His deep, soulful voice proved to be a perfect complement to Outkast’s funky, experimental sound. This collaboration served as fertile ground for Killer Mike’s own music, which would soon gain a following of its own.
In the mid-2000s, Killer Mike began releasing music more frequently under his own name. His debut album, Monster, was released in 2003 and featured collaborations with artists like Big Boi and Sleepy Brown. His follow-up album, I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind, was released in 2006 and featured more introspective lyricism. These albums were a promising start to an already successful career in music.
Killer Mike’s political awareness and activism also began to come to the forefront of his music around this time. Songs like “Reagan” on his album R.A.P. Music (2012) lambasted the Reagan administration’s effect on the African American communities in the United States. The album was produced by El-P of Run The Jewels and proved to be audience and critical success. Major publications like Spin and Pitchfork lauded the album for its refreshing blend of political commentary and soulful hip hop.
The success of R.A.P music led to El-P and Killer Mike teaming up once again for the formation of Run The Jewels, an underground rap group that has become increasingly popular for its mix of politically charged lyricism and hard-hitting beats. While Run The Jewels features Killer Mike in a primarily rapping role, his singing is still an essential part of the group’s overall sound.
From his humble beginnings as an Outkast collaborator to his massive success with Run The Jewels, Killer Mike’s singing career has been an essential part of his life in music. His political activism and desire for social justice continue to inform his music and keep him in the public eye. Whether he’s singing or rapping, Killer Mike’s voice is one that demands to be heard.