While Killer Mike has confirmed that he is in the final stages of negotiating a partnership between his Grind Time imprint and T.I.s Atlanta-based Grand Hustle Entertainment, he wants to reassure fans that this is by no means a sign that he has abandoned the independent scene.
On the contrary, he expects his new situation, which should be finalized in early 2009, to make him a greater asset to thriving Atlanta scene, which has supported him over the years.
Killer Mikes confirmation comes just days after T.I. shared the pending agreement with MTV.
Though the full details are still being ironed out, Mike explained that the new arrangement, which he sees as a direct result of his close relationship with T.I. and the work he has put in since going independent in 2007, puts him in the best position to further his career ambitions.
Ive worked very hard at making sure that I was able to not only live off the independent scene, but become a force in the independent rap music scene, Killer Mike told AllHipHop.com. Tip is encouraging me to be a business man, and hes encouraging the efforts Ive already put forth. This is an industry of slaves and sharecroppers. And most people just try to either enslave you or make you a sharecropper. And sharecropping, it aint perfect, but its a lot more noble than slavery. Ill be happy to work the whole field as long as I can own a small piece or make a profit.
Tip has been in the exact position I am in, added Mike. One of the most distinct memories I have of him is me and him in an Escalade. And he was like, at the time Bad Boy wanted him and Atlantic wanted him. But Atlantic gave him the opportunity to not only be a huge star, which Bad Boy would have done, but also to be a businessman. And Tip is giving me the same opportunity. Not many people have their ego in check enough to offer you that kind of opportunity.
The offer presented by Grand Hustle as it stands extends solely to Killer Mike as a Grind Time artist.
The first project to be released through the new deal will be the highly anticipated 16 In The Kitchen, which Mike has always promised would stand apart from the various recordings he has presented to fans, since his departure from Big Bois Purple Ribbon label nearly two years ago.
The goal of any business is to get the business to a good point to sell it, Mike explained. One of the smaller goals before that is to be able to expand. What Grind Time is gonna be able to do brand-wise and me as an artist is gonna grow by leaps and bounds, just by me being associated with Grand Hustle and Tip. But not only because of his name but because of the work that we put in and the tools Ill now have in place.
Killer Mike is also working on two compilation projects: Underground Atlanta, rumored to feature buzzworthy artists like OJ Da Juiceman, former BME artists Princess and Bohagon and Yung Ralph; and the forthcoming Skulls and Roses, which will bring together street-influenced R&B artists and the rappers who relate similar tales.
Both projects will be released through Grind Times current partnership with SMC Recordings and Fontana Distribution.
First up will be Underground Atlanta, due out in March 2009.
Reluctant to deem himself the leader of the Underground Atlanta movement, or even to call the group of artists hes been working with a movement per se, Killer Mike does want to open the worlds eyes to what Atlanta natives have to offer.
Atlanta has a very eclectic ear, Killer Mike said. I dont want people to get my city misconstrued. I want to be a catalyst for that music to keep coming out in an organized way. Id like to give this music its proper shine. I aint cute as Tip or as wavy as Max B. I dont have the swagger of Jim Jones. I dont have the cool of Jay-Z or the weird loveable-ness of Dre or Wayne, but I think that people sense a certain realness about me and a certain integrity and I think people relate.