Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music

Production: El-P

Lead Single: Big Beast

Avg Rating: 43210   4.3 ( 4 total votes )

     

PREVIEW BUY READ REVIEW

The story of Killer Mike’s career is the story of non-fu*k giving. When Mike first came onto the national stage Snappin & Trappin alongside Outkast he had the cojones to call his own verse a classic, a move some considered arrogant, but he didn’t give a fu*k. He called it like he saw it. As he fought to establish a solo career he could have caved to the pressure to simplify his music, to either be a “street” rapper or a political rapper, but Killer Mike is more complicated than that. He’s both a reader …

Fans can also check out Killer Mike's previous albums: Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels | Killer Mike - Pl3dge | Killer Mike - I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II


DJBooth Album Review


The story of Killer Mike’s career is the story of non-fu*k giving. When Mike first came onto the national stage Snappin & Trappin alongside Outkast he had the cojones to call his own verse a classic, a move some considered arrogant, but he didn’t give a fu*k. He called it like he saw it. As he fought to establish a solo career he could have caved to the pressure to simplify his music, to either be a “street” rapper or a political rapper, but Killer Mike is more complicated than that. He’s both a reader of the books and leader of the crooks, so nary a fu*k was given. Mike could look at the success of his last album, Pl3dge, and do his best to replicate it…but that would be something a fu*k-giver would do. Instead, he linked up with Def Jux founder and post-apocalyptic producer El-P, in his own right a man with a long history of non-fu*k giving, to create R.A.P. Music, a project that’s the best of his career precisely because it’s the complete and total absence of a fu*k given.

Make no mistake, Killer Mike absolutely cares what you think, there might not be another rapper alive as vocal in responding to both the media and public, but that doesn’t mean he lets the world influence his music. Perhaps the presence of consummate outsider El-P pushed him even, perhaps Mike has simply reached the point in his life where he’s completely confident in his abilities and ideas, perhaps both, but R.A.P. Music sounds like exactly no other album to come out this year. It’s a project that’s simultaneously heavily historic and recklessly progressive, a project that’s both a street fight and college lecture. In other words, if you prefer your racks stacked up on other racks, you might want to look elsewhere.

We might as well start with the street fight portion of the program. Scratch that, Big Beast isn’t so much a street fight as it is a riot. In addition to one of the best T.I. verses we’ve heard in a minute and Bun B's as solid as ever, Big Beast is Mike at his biggest and baddest, an emcee who can weave Boogie Down Productions and old school Def Jam references into aggressively uppercut flows. Southern Fried also finds itself on the “turn the volume up” side of the spectrum showcasing Mike’s ability to really ride a flow, as does the aptly titled Go!, which ups the tempo and goes heavy once again on the rap references. And while unlike Big Beast and Go! it demands some more serious mental energy to follow, JoJo’s Chillin is one of the more impressive exercises in storytelling rap you’re going to here. No doubt about it, the man can rap.

But we’ve known about Mike’s ability to First 48 a mic since the Akshon days. Where R.A.P. Music really makes its mark is in its ability to touch on both global politics and the effect those international decisions have on the average block. Don’t Die uses heavy narration to explore race and police brutality with a depth we almost never get – not all cops are bad, but the ones that are can end your life – and Ghetto Gospel is an intensely personal track that takes its cuts at everything from religion to the justice system. But it’s Reagan that stands out the most. Rarely, if ever, do we hear an emcee blame both himself and the world’s most powerful men for the plethora of ills plaguing our communities, but on Reagan Killer Mike gives us: “…all we seem to give them is some balling and some dancing / And some talking about our car and imaginary mansions / We should be indicted for bullshit we inciting / Hand the children death and pretend that its exciting.” Yeah, you’re gonn have to think that sh*t over, and that’s exactly the point.

Those who measure the worth of an album on copies sold will likely dismiss and discredit R.A.P. Music, but in doing so they’d be dismissing one of the braver hip-hop albums we’ve heard in years. Actually, on second thought, maybe it’s not brave at all. Maybe when you don’t give a fu*k making an album like this is easy. Frankly I don’t know, I’m still prone to giving a fu*k what others think about my work (on occasion). But with R.A.P. as my guide, maybe someday I too can learn to simply speak the truth at all times, regardless of the consequences.
DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins

Listen to More: Killer Mike     Written by Nathan S.

Featured Songs From This Album


Killer Mike - Ghetto Gospel Artwork

Killer Mike - Ghetto Gospel

Considering Killer Mike‘s debut collaboration with El-P dropped in May of 2012, it could be said that new single Ghetto Gospel and its official video are a little bit late. Seen from another perspective, though,...Read More

Average Rating: 32121
Killer Mike - Reagan Artwork

Killer Mike - Reagan

By materially supporting the Nicaraguan Contras, who contributed to the crack epidemic by shipping large quantities of cocaine into the country, and funneling domestic drug arrests into for-profit prisons, the Reagan...Read More

Average Rating: 43211
Killer Mike - Willie Burke Sherwood Artwork

Killer Mike - Willie Burke Sherwood

For all the records dedicated to rappers’ mothers, there’s a distinct drought of odes to dads. On newly-released album inclusion Willie Burke Sherwood, Killer Mike takes the first step toward changing that,...Read More

Average Rating: 43210
Killer Mike ft. Bun B, Trouble & T.I. - Big Beast Artwork

Killer Mike ft. Bun B, Trouble & T.I. - Big Beast

During a childhood trip to the zoo, did you ever stop in front of the elephant habitat and just stare with wonderment, marveling at the fact that a living creature could be that f*cking huge? I did—and, though I’ve...Read More

Average Rating: 32101
Killer Mike ft. Emily Panic - Anywhere But Here Artwork

Killer Mike ft. Emily Panic - Anywhere But Here

Who said Grand Hustle ain’t got that mass appeal? On the heels of B.o.B’s Strange Clouds comes Killer Mike, who’s taken a more emotional route on stand-out cut Anywhere But Here, off his brand new album,...Read More

Average Rating: 32101
Killer Mike - Don’t Die Artwork

Killer Mike - Don’t Die

If you really think about it, the goal of everyone’s life comes down to two words: Don’t Die. Unfortunately, that’s a motto that eventually proves impossible for everyone – and eventually can come a lot sooner if...Read More

Average Rating: 43210
Killer Mike

Killer Mike ft. Scar - Untitled

When a record or album is Untitled, you know what you’re gonna hear will be raw, real and straight from the soul. Which is weird, if you think about it—why pour out your deepest thoughts and feelings on a cut and then...Read More

Average Rating: 32101
 

Member Reviews and Ratings






Flame

TOP 20 MUSIC CHARTS


Discover the best new songs, videos, and albums added to the Booth.