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admits the artist who once recorded a song titled “Rap Is Dead.” “But you got to understand that the stance I was coming from wasn’t a criticism of Dre, it was a critique of the state of Hip Hop. Nobody is above critiquing; niggas come to me all the time and tell me they think I sound better over certain beats. I should be open enough to accept that shit. I don’t have a problem with Dre, but I’m just like any other fan. I’m asking, ‘Why the fuck you stop rapping? Nigga, you one of the top 5 emcees I ever heard in my life, why don’t you love rap anymore?’ I genuinely want to know. [Dre] gets in some articles and says Hip Hop done ran its course and don’t have nothing left. How can you say that when you got niggas like Webbie and Boosie putting Baton Rouge on the map and the south approaching its zenith? Or niggas like Talib Kweli becoming your favorite street rapper’s favorite rapper and niggas like Bun B staying in the game 15 years and still rapping hard?”

Being left off that list wasn’t the first time amnesia has fallen on Killer Mike’s name. His lyrically acclaimed but production-critiqued 2003 debut Monster quietly sold 511,000 copies off the strength of the singles “A.D.I.D.A.S.,” “Akshon (Yeah!),” and its crunked-out remix “Re-Akshon.” But, according to Mike, Columbia Records (pun intended) killed the project’s chances of going platinum when they undershipped the record, thus making Monster lovers buy the CD from the local bootlegger. On top of that, his label Aquemini Records’ distribution home, Sony, merged with BMG and laid-off most the people responsible for promoting his record, thus pushing it further down the priority list. That string of events resulted in a failure to completely exploit the exposure he was receiving from his breakthrough appearance on that year’s anthem, Bonecrusher’s “Neva Scared.”

Ever the optimist, Mike hasn’t looked at the situation as a failure. Instead, he’s acting like Dre isn’t the only peer/elder to feel Killer a shark on a mission for its elusive prey after Mike’s compassioncatching the scent of ate wrath. On his DJ its blood. “That situ“I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH [ANDRE Sense mixtape The ation just keeps me 3000], BUT JUST LIKE ANY OTHER FAN, I’M he uses “Dundoing my crunches and ASKING, ‘WHY THE FUCK YOU STOP RAPPING? Killer, geon Family Dedicapush-ups and writing a WHY DON’T YOU LOVE RAP ANYMORE?’ I tion” to both praise little later at night,” GENUINELY WANT TO KNOW.” - KILLER MIKE and plead his extendsays Mike about his ed family to return to album that pretty much attained slept-on status the day it was re- into a Memphis Bleek mold where his mentors the rap game and reestablish themselves. leased. “Who would have thought that a nigga are constantly telling him he’s just one hit from Adamsville would be heard and appreci- away. But, Killer Kill has already come of age, “They did something great,” he says in a voice ated by that many people? But this time I want got The Understanding and is looking to use this hinting that no one else agrees with him. “In album to show he is a M.A.D.E. man. the South it has always been about humility, but to sell 1 to 5 million.” really, fuck humility! Everybody talks bad about “This time” translates into Killer Mike’s sopho- “I’m not just some dude Outkast brought out,” T.O. but no one gave a shit about him until he more release Ghetto Extraordinary, an album frowns the rapper who got introduced to listen- started giving a fuck about himself. So if by asthat has the poise, production, and personnel ers on ‘Kast’s 2000 drum-and-bass romp “Funk- sociation I’m DF, I’ma rep this shit and never to propel Mike to that million-selling mark. anella.” “I’m me. I was blessed to be signed by let you forget what legacy I’m a part of. The DF Monster was recorded on a strict budget that the premiere rap group on earth. It ain’t a gift flag done landed in the muthafucking mud, so I’ma pick it up. I just can’t rep no shit that gets saw him using affordable studios and no big- and curse, its gift man.” overlooked.” name appearances. His new album, however, sees him with more resources, including his own The biggest gift to be received from his assostudio conveniently located across from ‘Kast’s ciation so far is the 2002 Grammy for Best Rap At the same time, he is also planting his own Stankonia Studios and a little assistance from Performance by a Group or Duo for his part in flag in the ground, Grind Time Official. Com“The Whole World.” But the blessing in disguise prised of S.L. Jones, Young Pill, Nickel Plated Three 6 Mafia, 8 Ball & MJG, and Jagged Edge. is the fact that he is now in a fresh situation. Nario, Bigg Slim, Jackpot, G.G. McGhee, Zach The self-proclaimed “King Kong of the South” Aquemini, the label founded and ran by Big Boi Nichols, Sharpshooter, Cuzo and Shawty Mark, continues to spit his brash blend of street in- and Andre 3000, dissolved after Dre decided to GTO is a team of lyricists that Mike feels will do tellectualism, prototypical G shit and flat out pursue a career in Hollywood instead of acting him proud and keep him sharp as well. soapboxing by cranking out the police brutal- like a record exec. Now the new Big Boi-helmed ity addressing “Shot Down,” the semi-auto- Purple Ribbon imprint, which is also home to “I don’t need those industry relationships where biographical “Mama Said,” and “Niggas Down Sleepy Brown, Bubba Sparxxx, Konkrete and we cool one year and we dissing each other next. I’d rather make friends with a bunch dope South,” a reworked version of Master P and Scar, is where the Killer rests. ass niggas who hungry,” he boasts, mentionUGK’s decade old classic “Playaz From the South.” His first single “My Chrome” has all the “You’re gonna get a better sense of who I am ing that all of their recording goes down at his makings of a hit: a cameo from a commercially because I’m out here by myself now,” says the Grind House studio. “I want to be a conduit for accepted multi-platinum selling artist (Big Boi) former Morehouse College philosophy major other niggas who are great. If you ain’t helping who went to school as a part of a bet to prove others then you living your life in vain.” and a dancer-clad video by Hype Williams. a naysaying high school teacher wrong. “You “I don’t want to be a B-level artist my whole ca- don’t see Big and Dre next to me all the time Ultimately, the artist born Michael Santiago reer. And the only way to do that is to crush, kill ‘cause they doing their thing. So that puts me in Render wants to see the culture he loves and knows like the back of his hand help itself. He and destroy,” says Mike, whose cynical voice- the best light I ever been in, totally alone.” feels that the only way to do that is to speak mail threatens, “If I don’t go platinum, I’m going back to robbing niggas.” “Its not about my But loneliness is a feeling that’s hard to deal the truth. art being B-level, it’s just that when you don’t with, and Mike has been dealing with it the go platinum then that’s just what it is. I ain’t best way he knows how, rapping about it with “Niggas telling you the truth about the good shit stupid. Reebok ain’t called me about my en- that brutal honesty of his. The outspoken MC about coming up, but not the whole truth. Part snatched ears like a snagged doorknocker when of the truth is just as bad as a lie,” he says. dorsement deal.” he called out his movie-making mentor on DJ “Yeah, I used to make money off crack, but that Mike’s perception of A-level is a towering one. Drama’s Gangsta Grillz XI. In the society gut- shit ain’t good for the neighborhood. It fucked How can you ever be satisfied with a gold-sell- check “Bad Day Worse Day” Mike emphatically a lot of people up. The first time I ever counted ing record when you’ve been discovered and rhymed: “Q-Tip’s singing, Dre 3000 acting/Got out $10,000 to myself, just from the stench of endorsed by Outkast, who’ve sold over 17 mil- damn, niggas too good for this rappin’?/I’m just the money and the thought of what I had to do asking, what the fuck happened?” to get it, I threw up. That’s the truth.” lion albums? Hell, the way things look, he could easily fall

“That put a strain on our relationship at first,”

Does it hurt yet? OZONE AUGUST 2005

B31

Ozone Mag #37 - Aug 2005  

Ozone Mag #37 - Aug 2005

Ozone Mag #37 - Aug 2005  

Ozone Mag #37 - Aug 2005

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