Killer Mike, one half of the hip-hop duo Run The Jewels, has co-written an article about how rap lyrics are being distorted as evidence in court cases.
The rapper, real name Michael Render, has penned an op-ed for Vox regarding the conviction of hip-hop artist McKinley ‘Mac’ Phipps, who was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for manslaughter after a fan was shot at his show.
The article, co-written by author Erik Nielson, states that there was “no physical evidence connecting Phipps to the crime” and that “multiple eyewitnesses [identified] a different shooter”. It continues: “The prosecutor went after Phipps’ art, relying on a tactic that dates back to the Jim Crow South: he punished black speech”.
Killer Mike added: “I worry about law enforcement because I’m a black man in America. I have my whole life been afraid of the police. For me it is normal to be as afraid of the police and have fear and trepidation as one who has experienced any kind of abuse would be in the presence of an abuser.”
The rapper also suggests that his moniker is treated differently to white artists such as The Killers. “It only seems to apply in an unfavorable manner when you’re talking about a 6-foot-3 black guy,” he wrote. “And I think that has everything to do with the preconceptions and the prejudices and the bigotry that people bring to the table. It has little or nothing to do with my name.”
Run The Jewels recently shared a politically-charged video for their track ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)’. The song itself is a collaboration with Rage Against The Machine‘s Zack De La Rocha and features on the hip-hop duo’s recent album, ‘RTJ2’.
The video was directed by AG Rojas and stars Boardwalk Empire actor Shea Whigham and Keith Stanfield (who will play Snoop Dogg in the upcoming NWA biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’) as a white cop and an unarmed black youth respectively.
Director Rojas said of the video: “When Run the Jewels sent me this [track], I knew we had the opportunity to create a film that means something. I felt a sense of responsibility to do just that. We had to exploit the lyrics and aggression and emotion of the track, and translate that into a film that would ignite a valuable and productive conversation about racially motivated violence in this country.”