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The No I.D.-produced song begins with a monologue by Chappelle and features a guest verse from Thugger. It arrives alongside a video directed by Adrian Villagomez that depicts Mike and an army of Black soldiers fighting against white fascists in a warzone.
During Young Thug’s verse, a banner reads “Free Thug, Protect Black Art, Free Gunna”. Both Thug and Gunna were among 28 people charged in a 56-count grand jury indictment in May, centring around allegedly conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Both rappers, through their lawyers, have denied the charges against them.
In another scene of the ‘RUN’ video, a soldier can be seen wearing an armband that reads “Free YSL” – referring to Thug’s record label and imprint, which authorities have alleged is a “criminal street gang”.
Watch the video for Killer Mike’s ‘RUN’ below:
Last month, Killer Mike criticised the way in which Young Thug and Gunna’s lyrics were used as evidence to charge them, acknowledging that Young Thug was “a character” that the rapper – real name Jeffrey Williams – created. “These lyrics are no more than braggadocio rap lyrics,” he said during an interview with Good Morning America.
“Hip-hop is not respected as an art because Black people in this country are not recognised as full human beings,” Mike continued. “If we allow the courts to prosecute these men based on characters they created and stories of pretend that they tell in rhyme, then next, they’ll be at your door.”
In court filings by Gunna’s attorneys, it’s argued that it is “intensely problematic” to rely on song lyrics as part of the allegations against him. “These lyrics are an artist’s creative expression and not a literal recounting of facts and circumstances.”
Both Thug and Gunna have been denied bond, with their trials set to begin in January next year. Last month, Young Thug shared a surprise statement from jail during the Hot 97 Summer Jam concert, thanking supporters.
“This isn’t just about me or YSL, I always use my music as a form of artistic expression, and now I see that Black artists and rappers don’t have that, you know, freedom,” he said. He also encouraged attendees to support a petition launched by music executives Kevin Liles and Julie Greenwald, asking legislators to prohibit courts from using rap lyrics during cases.
“I say this with a smile and a wink — me and [Run the Jewels’] El-P were in the studio together,” Mike said while speaking to Consequence. “We may have messed around and started ‘Run the Jewels 5’. So we’ll see what happens.”