Killer Mike: Time is Money Part Two

AllHipHop.com: You’re from Atlanta. I’m from New York. You killed Hip-Hop. Speak on it.

Killer Mike: [Laughs] If I killed Hip-Hop, what the f**k did the jiggy era bring to the game? [Laughs] Let me tell you something, Hip-Hop ain’t dead – it’s growing. A lot of people in Hip-Hop are getting old… there’s nothing wrong with that because at least we know we’ll have 40 and 50 year old people listening to Hip-Hop – and I’ve waited on this day. But, in regards to Hip-Hop being dead, as I remember there are four elements to Hip-Hop: you have rap, you have dance, you have graffiti, you have DJing. Mike Watts is a what? Snap music is driven by what? Me, T.I., Wayne, Jeezy do what very well? Everything in the South – even down to freestyle flows out in Texas – everything we do here is based around on one of the basic principles of Hip-Hop. So my argument is simply where is Hip-Hop dead?

Look at everybody who f**ked with the South out of New York: 50 came out said his s**t sounds southern, did 50 do well? Fat Joe is known for f**king with the South, did he do well? The Dipset has been f**king with the South since… s**t… I was in their first video, did they do well? You see, we f**k with whoever f**ks with us because we “too dumb and country to know any better.” We wouldn’t even know anybody hated us if they wouldn’t have said they hated us. But guess what? We don’t give a f**k! Because for 15 years, nobody gave a f**k about what we were doing. Nobody gave a fuck about Kilo, Luke and 2 Live Crew, Outkast when they boo-ed them, 8Ball and MJG, UGK until “Big Pimpin’,” Juvenile when he was originally on DJ Jimmy’s tapes, Triple 6 [Mafia] before the Oscars… they didn’t give a f**k about a lot of shit, so we were forced to give a f**k about ourselves.

When I first heard Hip-Hop it didn’t give a damn where I was from because it spoke to me in a way that no music has ever spoken to me before. It’s whatever though. I dare a n***a to come f**k with us lyrically now, I’ll tell you that. And I did “Rap is Dead” three years ago so I’m a little taken aback. I’m not mad about it, because any conversation in Hip-Hop besides “who sold the most records” is a f**king great conversation. I thank Nas for being a conduit for that conversation. Please print that. We started to sound like old White men arguing about motherfuckin baseball. I didn’t give a f**k what ‘Pac sold; ‘Pac moved me.

AllHipHop.com: What other conversations should start having in Hip-Hop? Where do you think Hip-Hop is gonna go?

Killer Mike: We just celebrated 30 years, first off. Beyond Hip-Hop is the only Black music, besides Gospel, to say, “Nah, we ain’t gonna get pimped.” If you look at a Gospel artists and Country artists, they walk amongst there people. They go shopping with them, in the mall, selling CDs and what not… Hip-Hop does that too. But Hip-Hop said, “Nah, dog. You’re not about to motherf**kin’ pimp me. You’re not gonna cut the deal and I’m not gonna be a part of the deal.” What I see next for Hip-Hop is growth economically and being a fundamental resource. I listen to NPR a lot, I heard that the diamond companies had done a great job of getting people to buy stones that were bigger than three carats. De Beers ain’t did a good job at that by themselves. They were assistant by a hood dude out of New Orleans named Bryan “Baby” Williams. He and a group of little skinny boys from New Orleans created a term called “Bling Bling.” They created a fad of wearing ridiculously huge diamonds. So what happens when a bunch of White women see these country-ass n***as wearing these huge stones? What do you think they turn to their white rich-ass husbands and say? You get where I’m going now? They aren’t saying “I saw the new diamond commercial I want to get a four carat stone.” No, what do they say? “I want to get some bling bling.” Therefore Jay-Z is a prophet in that he did this. He stopped predicting the future and started dictating the future. A lot of us pre-dictate the future – Ice Cube pre-dictated that the Watts Riots were gonna happen. Jay-Z dictated Roc-A-Fella clothing line and wield it to be. Rap is the only American music to put forth action through words. It expects its participants to be business people, to be astute, and expects you to become a man. The audience expects every rapper to own a business, am I lying? I don’t expect Aretha Franklin to own a business. I don’t expect Little Richard to own a business. The expectation on us is to be leaders.

AllHipHop.com: Being that Hip-Hop started as a social movement in the Black community, how do you feel what’s happening in the community as an artist with Rap not taking an active role. Meaning, you won’t hear a song promoted about Katrina, Sean Bell, or the elderly woman in Atlanta as quickly as you’d hear the latest beef record.

Killer Mike: You don’t own rap no more. It’s not owned by us no more. That’s why there’s a William Wallace in check now. You got cooning, but f**k who killed rap…

AllHipHop.com: What if the argument is who sold rap?

Killer Mike: Who sells the images of rappers to companies? You got an artist who does business with these companies and makes money. But does he keep his integrity in any of the business that he does? When Ice Cube did a deal with St. Ides, Ice Cube made St. Ides donate money to the community. Did any other rappers do this in their deals? You get what I’m saying? It’s not that these businessmen are demons – the magazines give them so much s**t, and it’s not right. These businessmen can only help his client do everything they name. But, he cannot give his clients integrity. I’m not trying to go at anybody, I’m trying to solve a crime: at what point did we lose control? What’s happening to rap now has happened to graffiti before. Graffiti has been exploited already, hence, they are more protective of their art. They have already went through being all the rave in the New York art scene and then being the step children. Break dancers have been exploited in the same way. Remember the ‘80s? Remember those corny ass commercials? What happened to all those kids after break-dancing wasn’t “cool” no more? What I’m saying is the exploitation of rap is not going to happen that hard, quick and fast because we have voice.

If we don’t seize the control we have, it’s gonna become “Kenny G Jazz” and not “Miles Davis Jazz.” Rap is something that can be bled longer. They can bleed it slow… it’s worth more. We gotta protect that, assume some control, make sure that much more creative things get out there. If Hip-Hop is dead because Atlanta has “assumed control,” I’d love to Nas bring the original Juice Crew to give a free show and educate the kids on Hip-Hop. I love to be a part of anything. I had Afrika Bambaata’s image in my first video. I’m a member of the rap fraternity now. A member [for] three years or member 30 years – I’m a member all the same. Along with creating this dialogue, what are we all going to be responsible for? I’m going to be responsible for making sure battle rap keeps living. We’re doing this thing called Kill the Mic. It ain’t about nothing but bustin’ your ass off in a freestyle and we’ll put it on a Grind Time tape and put it out. It ain’t about money or nothing – we just want you to come and Kill the Mic.

AllHipHop.com: What do you feel that Hip-Hop listeners need to do preserve Hip-Hop?

Killer Mike: Diversify what they listen to, open their f**kin’ mind. Stop letting people tell them who the f**k they are. All y’all who listen to conscious rap, the conscious rappers f**k White girls and spend amazing amounts of money at the strip clubs too. Everybody who listens to trap rap and think these n***as are still in the street – no. These motherf**kers have White attorneys and counselors; and yup, they date White girls too. And they hiding their money in something more than a Nike box. There’s the truth of it all. We all are a lot more 2Pac-ish then we want to admit. Because we’re pulled, we’re men, we have faults. The audience needs to stop being so polarized. I bought A Tribe Called Quest, Snoop, Prince, N.W.A., Geto Boys, Luke 2 Live Crew… everything that I liked at that time at my life through any time of my life. What I did was never allow anyone to tell me what I should be. Y’all really don’t wanna know what a trap look, feel, tastes, smell like. So it’s cool if y’all like more then trap music. Y’all really don’t wanna be George Jackson – that don’t mean you don’t hold any of his ideals. Y’all really don’t wanna be Huey. Why? ‘Cause y’all wanna have a Lexus. But it’s okay for you to listen to whoever you want to listen to. I’m sick of people who are “conscious” acting as though it’s some shame in buying diamonds or gold; yet, they wear $500 sneakers and $800 blue jeans with $13,000 glasses. None of that s**t can you take to a pawn shop. You can take at least jewelry, and that’s just common sense at the end of the day. It’s just a little pretentious and snobbish that that audience chooses not to support street rap. It’s a little stupid of street rap, or the audience that listens to street rap, to act as though there aren’t dire consequences and that maybe they need to educate them-f**kin’-selves past the trap. When you get banged up, everyone you call got a better education that you: your lawyer, your uncle that knows a lawyer… you feel what I’m saying? It’s time for that dumb s**t to die. It’s okay to like a lot of different s**t. But it’s not cool to only dictate your life by only one person’s set of rules and standards, and that’s what you do when you only listen to one artist. All you’re doing is buying a campaign slogan. Rap is more libertarian than it is Democratic or Republican.

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