[EXCLUSIVE] Killer Mike Talks “Big Beast,” Album With El-P, New Mixtape
You know what Bigga ‘bout. Atlanta rapper Killer Mike (aka Mike Bigga) is back with that same brash brand of Hip-Hop that has him ranked by many as one of The South's most underrated MCs. Not a year removed from his critically well-received fifth album, PL3DGE, which featured the searing track “Burn,” and undisputed fan favorite, “Ric Flair,” Killa Kill is adding to the fire with a new project with Brooklyn producer El-P, entitled, R.A.P. Music, due out May 15 on William Street Records.
The stalwart A-town spitter recently fueled anticipation for the new album by dropping the raucous first single, “Big Beast,” featuring Southern favorites, T.I., Bun B and DTE block burner Trouble. So, Hip-Hop Wired sat down with Mike to discuss how the track came together, why he chose to only rock with the Company Flow front man for his sixth LP and his plans to resurrect his religiously charged, The Sunday Morning Massacre series. Time for some Akshon.
HipHopWired: The new single, “Big Beast,” featuring T.I. and Bun B off this upcoming album with producer El-P is getting a good response on the Internet.
Killer Mike: Man, I'm glad. I was interested to see how people were going to respond to it, but it looks like its positive, man. I had no real doubts about it, but you never know in today's climate. I'm just glad people get it and got it.
If you look at Ice Cube with The Bomb Squad, if you look at Cypress Hill and Muggs and Gang Starr and Premier, I wanted that one producer experience.
HHW: This collaboration seems like it was a long time coming.
KM: Actually the back-story behind it is, when I first dropped Monster nine years ago, I never wanted “A.D.I.D.A.S.” to be my second single. The singles off Monster were, “Akshon” and then, “A.D.I.D.A.S.” The singles were supposed to be “Scared Straight” and “Re-Akshon” which featured a then unknown Killer Mike and T.I. and it was anchored by a veteran, Bun B. For me, I always felt like the music that kept me eating was the music I made off pure instinct, back then. With “Re-Akshon,” I toured that record for three years. I always wanted a chance to present my partner Tip and our OG Bun again. That's a dream record for me. Going in with El[-P], I didn't really want a lot of features but I wanted to get an opportunity to do what I felt went unfinished. And that's to get a single with Tip and Bun and show the world that, Down South, we go in.
HHW: On this next project, you are working solely with Brooklyn producer El-P. What made you want to do an album with only one producer at the helm, and one from New York for that matter?
KM: If you look at Ice Cube with The Bomb Squad, if you look at Cypress Hill and Muggs and Gang Starr and Premier, I wanted that one producer experience. When me and El-P got in, he came to Atlanta for like a week. We did four or five joints. And by the time he left, I was convinced that not only did I want to do the record in full, but I wanted to do the record only with him. Our chemistry just clicked so instantly I was like, Yo, we got to do it. So, last summer, I went up to Brooklyn. I stayed on the Lower East Side for four or five weeks and we knocked out a whole album. That's the way it used to get made. That's the way I feel like albums should and could get made.
HHW: You are coming off PL3DGE where you captured the ears Hip-Hop purists with tracks like “Burn” and “Ric Flair.” How does this album compare to your last?
KM: I feel like I have totally flipped the script and made a classic from another angle. I've never just dropped a solo album the year after another solo project, but I think it's a hell of a one two punch. Coming off of PL3DGE, which people are still talking about and we are still making videos for, going right into R.A.P. Music seems like big sh#t to me.
I wanted to take that church out of the church. Some churches are just a house of lies. Word to Eddie Long.
HHW: How did you come up with the title, R.A.P. Music, which is an acronym for Rebellious African People's Music?
KM: My friend, [writer] Maurice Garland randomly put that up [on Twitter] one day, Rebellious African People's Music. And I told him I'm running with that. When I say, Rebellious African People's Music, I'm not just talking Hip- Hop. From the moment that we were brought from one shore to another shore, from the moment that we hummed a tune, we did chants and calls over a cotton field. From the moment we sang gospel as code words to say we were escaping at night, from the moment that Jazz became a counter culture and Little Richard created Rock ‘N Roll and Soul and Funk all came out of us. Those musics have been in the direct opposition to the oppression, the poverty and the pain that we have faced. All these musics that have come out of us have been a way to express our highs and our lows. So when I say Rebellious African People's Music, I am just saying that the music that Blacks have created while on this American soil is a true testament to the good you can bring out of your own personal suffering and pain. I give all those musics a nod. It's not just a Hip-Hop purist album, it is an album that exposes all my influences.
HHW: Recently you tweeted that The Sunday Morning Massacre was coming in April, but you were kind of hush hush about it, can you expound on that?
KM: I did The Sunday Morning Massacre like four years ago and I never released them as a full-length mixtape. I've compiled them and I'm going to drop them on Easter Sunday (April 8). I'm probably going to give people three new joints on there. The Sunday Morning Massacre created this cult following for me.
HHW: Those were the songs where you mixed Bible parables with street life. What made you want to bring those back?
KM: I wanted to take that church out of the church. Some churches are just a house of lies. Word to Eddie Long. I wanted to bring the true message. Jesus was in the streets. The only time I heard about Jesus being in the church is when he was kicking stuff over saying the church aint no Wal-Mart. I wanted to bring those messages that are generally found in religion to the streets. My way of doing that was The Sunday Morning Massacre and to tell these stories based on actual bible verses. When I talk about Cain and Able, I talk about two brothers who are coming up in the hustling game and one takes a turn for the worst. When I talk about Delilah, I talk about our infatuation with the wrong kind of women. I'm just trying to bring what people always bring to you in a safe sanitized way, to street level. People have been waiting on this for years now and I'm going to bring it to them.
HHW: You have been in the game since 2000 and your message has always stayed grassroots driven.
KM: People who only listen to commercial rap, God bless them, they wonder, “How is this guy still relevant?” I've had people say,”D*mn, I forgot you were on The Blueprint 2 and you were on this and that.” All that was possible because I never stopped feeding the underground. Before I had a record deal with OutKast, I was selling CDs in the streets. And I never stopped that.