Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike calls for more minority-owned record labels during university speech

Rapper gave a lecture on race relations at MIT on April 24

Run The Jewels rapper Killer Mike called for more minority-owned record labels in the music industry during his speech at a leading US university yesterday.

The rapper, real name Michael Render, gave a lecture on race relations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) yesterday (April 24) as part of the university’s Hip-Hop Speaker series.

As Billboard reports, Killer Mike compared the major label system in the music industry to slavery and urged any artists listening to remain independent.

“We have been used and abused and we know that.” said Mike, equating the major label system to “sharecropping.” He also called for more minority-owned labels, saying: “We need more Rocafellas, we need more Bad Boys.”

“What El-P said 20 years ago was right–be independent as fuck. If you want to pull out of that construct, you have to start your own farm. If you’re an abolitionist, you’re not going to get money from the federal government, so you have to get it on your own.”

Elsewhere in the two and a half hour talk, the rapper spoke to students about subjects including police violence, education, how Occupy Wall Street shares similarities with the early days of hip-hop and even Run The Jewels music.

He also had a message for mainstream rappers who want to discuss politics in their lyrics. “Dumb rappers should just shut the fuck up and make dumb music that I hear on the radio in the middle of the day.”

Killer Mike also attended this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner today (April 25). The annual event sees key journalists and notable figures coming together to discuss key issues. President Obama was expected be in attendance.

Run The Jewels were recently announced as among the acts set to perform at Field Day and this year’s Reading & Leeds Festival. They also released a new song for Record Store Day 2015 called ‘Bust No Moves’. The track was made available on a limited-edition seven-inch and features Arkansas rapper SL Jones.

The pair also appear to be teaming up with Massive Attack, with images recently appearing on Twitter alongside a post from Killer Mike which read: “in the studio with massive attack right now. so… no big deal or anything. not bragging a lot. just talking here”.