Killer Mike stopped by Billboard News to talk about creating Michael — his most personal album yet — the start of his career, Atlanta rappers such as Latto and Lil Baby, his thoughts on Georgia politics and more!

Killer Mike:
Run the Jewels is the X-Men, right? It’s us as a group — me, El-P, Trackstar. We have this world that’s the uncanny X-Men. Well in my character, you get the superhero of Killer Mike. But there’s still this story that this 9-year-old kid is just a regular human kid.

Hey, what’s up? This is Killer Mike, and this is Billboard News.

Tetris Kelly:
It’s Tetris with Billboard News, hanging out with Grammy-winning rapper Killer Mike. Man, what’s up?

Killer Mike:
Man, trying to get back to more Grammys, man.

Tetris Kelly:
Hey, I like to hear that. I actually think this is the first time I’ve had another Georgia brother on the couch, man.

Killer Mike:
Red Clay brothers, man. Good to be here.

Tetris Kelly:
There we go. I’m happy to have you. We’re gonna get back to Georgia. But let’s jump into this music, right now.

Killer Mike:
Let’s do it, let’s do it!

Tetris Kelly:
So Michael, the album, obviously naming the album that, you know, it’s got to be really personal for you. So why did you decide to name it Michael?

Killer Mike:
It really is. If you look at the cover, it’s a bucktoothed little kid with a halo and some horns popping out. And that really is the spirit of that record. At 9 years old, when I did that school picture, I decided I was going to be a rapper. And there’s something about a kid’s imagination, once he says you can do it, it’s not impossible. But this record is about a 9-year-old Black boy, essentially, grows up in an all-Black enclave in Atlanta, Ga., which is a Black city, in the Deep South. And he blossoms and he and the city and this music all grew up together. And it’s that journey.

So there’s deeply personal records on there like “Shed Tears” that talks about, you know, as a man, you’re going to endure some hardships and pains. And the women who love you — whether it’s your mother, your wife, your lover, your daughters — people cheer for you and sometimes you just got to go in the bathroom and shake yourself up. Let a few tears flow and then go out and conquer the world.

I just wanted people to understand that the superhero Killer Mike created an image of his 9-year-old boy, it was really started by this 9-year-old boy named Michael.

Watch the video above to see what else Killer Mike shares about his new album, the rise of Atlana rappers and more.





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