An old adage warns procrastinators Time waits for no man. Atlanta born and raised MC Killer Mike has lived this first hand. After guest appearances on his mentors Outkasts Stankonia LP and Grammy Nominated Whole World, time seemed to stand still. That was, of course, until 2003 when he, along with Bonecrusher and T.I., turned the Atlanta club anthem into a requirement for sporting events, video and radio Top 10 countdowns worldwide. Shortly after, he released the Gold-certified debut album, Monster.
For present day Killer, it would seem as though father time is still having trouble synching his watch. Hes had a lot to think about (it will be four years since Monsters release) and finally knows what time it is Grind Time. Less than 24 hours after hearing a subliminal diss from a member of his former crew, Purple Ribbon All-Stars, he recorded and released his retort I Promise I Will Not Lose. When Killers not in the studio putting the finishing touches on his highly anticipated sophomore album, he is either doing press or taking care of his Grind Time Records imprint. Time is money he plans to spend it wisely. In the first part of a 2 part interview, Killer Mike spoke with AllHipHop.com about his familys history, the present state of his career and Hip-Hop, and how he plans to use the grind to shape our future. Its time for a new leader.
AllHipHop.com: From our understanding, youre still dealing with the majors. Now you have the side business, and your doing so well you think Why am I not doing this well with the majors? You think, Maybe Im not a valued employee at this company. Is there a time when you respectfully sever ties and move with your own company?
Killer Mike: Thats exactly what happened with me and Purple Ribbon. I dont wish Purple Ribbon no ill, but were competitors now. If theres a radio spot left and its between us, Im pushing for me. I think what happened with me and Purple Ribbon was less about me not being appreciated as an employee. It was more about trying to treat everybody fair, but, the world aint fair. We all want everybody to have a chance and everyone who has been riding with us to get a chance and all that. Thats we all want, but thats not the way it really is. In the real world, passion, desire, and tenacity gets you to the top and I left Purple Ribbon because that wasnt being rewarded. I didnt care about being appreciated I cared about having my hard work rewarded. If Im not top priority and theres not superior urgency behind whatever Im doing, then I dont need to be there.
AllHipHop.com: Is that the same policy for any major deal now?
Killer Mike: I have proven I can come in number 10 on the Top 200 on the Billboard charts undershipped. I have proven that I can sell 500,000 records. I have proven that I can leave a successful company [Sony] at the time they still successful in rap with Lil Flip and other artists and get more media coverage than I did there. Im proven I can sever ties with one of the largest rap groups ever and not be viewed as a has-been or sidekick. I understand what the rules usually say, but Im here to say that Im an exception to every rule. Im an exception to the sidekick rule. Im an exception to the fat guy aint marketable rule. Im an exception to every f**kin rule cause I talk to people at their core. I speak to peoples appetites, I speak about the struggle, I speak about the grind. And thats something far different then what any other artist is doing.
AllHipHop.com: It seems like you are embracing the role model/leader mentality. Usually rappers shy away from that with Im not a role model. Here, it sounds like you are taking a stance as a voice for the people. Is this an accurate assumption?
Killer Mike: It is, Mike. See, I heard a lot of rappers, and it angered me, say Im not a rapper, Im this, Im that And I kept saying why wouldnt n***as want to be a rapper? When I was young, thats all we wanted to be; because those were the only people who told us the truth. [Ice] Cube, Spice-1, Scarface, Phife, Dre, Luke, K-Solo told me the truth. Now, were in an environment where its just ignore the s**t, have a little fun. Rappers have become partners in the pimping of their own people, rappers have becoming nothing more of a motherf**kin . all rappers are MC Hammers now. If you put a bucket of chicken in my motherf**kin hand, Id dance for you. And thats no personal take on Hammer the person, thats just saying the image of Hammer in the early 90s. I do not want Stanley to feel like Im coming at him, for real. I have a lot of respect for that man he came out his trunk. What Im saying is every rapper got a bucket of chicken and a smile on his face.
They dont know to do, how to fight the power or do any of that because they didnt enter the situation as a man. And thats what I represent Im a leader based on the fact Im a man. Im a Black man that comes from nothing thats supposed to matter in this country and people know Im that Im the consummate underdog. Mike the individual and what Mike represents. And if people are willing to get to behind me, why wouldnt I be willing to lead them? If people are will to pick up the torch of hard work and down to grind, Im gonna tell them Hell yeah, youre supposed to shine! Buy your diamonds, bling, floss out because you work and commitment into it. I dont want to leave a music career with a bunch of dead songs for you to listen to. When you were broke you were listening to me and 20 years later youre still listening to me broke. Thats no good I dont want you to do that. Im not gonna wait for success to find me, Im gonna hunt it down. Im not gonna wait for you to like me; Im going to get in your face and ask you to make the decision.
AllHipHop.com: Then why isnt this being promoted? Why are you one of the few who are brave enough to say these things?
Killer Mike: You know why? You can put this is all capital letters: CAUSE IM A REAL N***A, FOR REAL. A lying motherf**ker is gonna do you like a politician. A lying ass n***a is gonna tell you something slick in your ear and hes gonna do the right thing. Hes gonna make you a hoe – every single time. Just like the government do ya, just like private institutions do ya, just like your f**kin jobs do ya theyre always gonna seek to pimp you. You gotta look it at like 80-85% are dumb as a motherf**ker they dont know s**t. Theyre just out here trying to grind, theyre purposely kept ignorant by the educational system, theyre personally lied to by their job and their politicians. Then you got 10% of motherf**kers out here who dont give a f**k. They know the right s**t to tell people to help themselves, and s**t on them every time. Then you just got about 5% of the motherf**kers out here who are willing to do real s**t and be a real n***a about their s**t, for real I guess Im just one of them five. Its just enough, man. Its enough for letting people think crack is still selling man they giving dope away. Hell yeah a n***a can give you a $16,000 brick now: aint no addicts to smoke the s**t! You find me 16 smokers with money. Now, if you talking 16 pill heads, I can give you that times two. You are the new addict thats what people need to start waking up and seein. Hold up, maybe I need to pump the breaks a bit. They find a build a whole other everything off your back again just like they built their prisons off crack convictions. They destroyed our families off of crack convictions. They tore our big brothers, our uncles, and our fathers away from us with crack convictions. They took our mothers away with crack addictions And here we go, setting it up for the motherf**kin second one. Everybody in the 80s and 70s was singing about cocaine and how fun it was. Im not gonna tell you that this stuffs not been a part of my life. What I gonna tell you is that its an other side of that motherf**kin horizon and you better be looking and planning for it.