Killer MIke : Street Hop

By: Todd Davis

Back in 2000, Michael Render, professionally known as Killer Mike, made his “official” music industry debut, alongside both Big Boi & Andre’ 3000, on ‘Snappin’ and Trappin’,’ from their quadruple-platinum, fourth LP, Stankonia. Later, the, now, 33 year old wordsmith collected his first, and only, Grammy trophy, thanks in part to his involvement on Outkast’s smash hit single, ‘The Whole World.’ In ’03, Mike dropped his first major label outing, Monster, and it appeared that his future in music was pretty well sealed. Or, so he had thought…

Mike, who has appeared in the films; 20 Funerals, Idlewild & ATL, and voices a character named Taqu’il in the Adult Swim cartoon Frisky Dingo, eventually had his highly anticipated, second album, ‘Ghetto Extraordinary,’ permanently shelved, due to Big Boi and Sony Records’ inability to come to terms with the set’s, then pending, release. So, rather than sit on the shelf for an indefinite period of time, Killer Mike instead opted to bounce, and is now finally going for self…

You are about to drop your brand new opus, I Pledge Alliance To The Grind II, the follow-up to 2006’s first installment — Why did you choose to title the series this?

This music is about being the soundtrack to the listener’s success. My album was done for real time and right now. So, it’s for people that are on their grind and acting professional. This is the music for them.

Are there any highlights; i.e., cameo appearances, favorite tracks, producers, etcetera?

The record features cameos by 8 Ball & MJG, Messy Marv, Chamillionaire, and Ice Cube. Featured producers are; Chaotic Beats, Heatwave, and The D Majors. My favorite track is ‘God in the Building.’

What sets this record apart from your others?

This is the most cohesive and best album to date. 

I notice that you are now signed to SMC/Fontana — Is this a co-venture with your Grind Time Official imprint?

They offered me a joint venture, and not a funky record deal. Yes, (it) is absolutely a co-venture.

What are your upcoming plans for the label?

Ultimately, I want Grind Time to be recognized as a Roc-A-Fella of the South.

When did it all begin for Killer Mike?

I began free-styling around my uncles, (who) are older, (and) were crooks and criminals, and if I can keep them entertained I could hang around them longer. Rapping was the way I entertained them. Twenty years later, I am still entertaining crooks and criminals.

When did it go from rapping for fun to making a profession out of it?

When I realized that I would never in my life become a real drug kingpin. The rules had become too (much) out of a hustler’s favor. There would never be another Rick Ross, Terry White or Charles Black.

How did you first come to the attention of Mr. Antwan “Big Boi” Patton?

I was using drug money to buy studio equipment and studio time to finance my group, Slumlords. Big Boi’s younger brother, James, bought one of the CDs, let Big Boi hear it, (and) he liked it and signed me.

How did you get your moniker, Killer Mike?

When I was 15 years old I battled like 7, 8 guys, and a big deejay down in ATL, Double D, gave me that nickname.

Success — Define yours?

I am too dumb to quit. I am honestly in love with Hip-Hop. As long as my supports support me, and I have an opportunity to be an emcee, I will stay in this business.

Do you have any other ultimate goals?

Yeah, my ultimate goal is to become a businessman. I would like to own everything (from) gas stations to grocery stores — Anything that services the black community (on) a day to day basis.

You have been dabbling a bit with acting and even some voice over work — Will you continue to expand with these ventures? If so, is there anything coming up for you along these lines soon?

I’m going to go on some casting calls in L.A., so I hope so. I will continue my relationship with The Cartoon Network (, too).

What’s up with Hip-Hop? And, even more so, Southern rap in general?

Most Hip-Hop sucks right now and most Southern Hip-Hop sucks ass. But, I’m happy that my company, Grind Time, is doing the best Hip-Hop in (the) South today.

What are some things about Killer Mike that everyone doesn’t already know?

I am a doting father, and they are all my babies. (And,) I’m a romantic when it comes to my woman. Hopefully, (one day) I will become a household name (, too). 

Outside of your children & Hip-Hop music, what are some of your other loves?

Fishing, firing range, or Kung-Fu — Those are the things I love outside of music.

To date, what has been your career highlight?

I promised myself after I left Purple Ribbon that everything I did after that would be on my own merits and be independent. I would make a name for myself without the association of Purple Ribbon. That is the highlight of my career; to have achieved that.

Futuristically speaking, what do you see for yourself in the years-to-come?

(I see myself) as the face or creative mind behind one of the biggest houses of Southern Hip-Hop since Suave House or Rap-A-Lot (Records).

Any tour plans at this point, Mike?

Yes, I’m a performer first. I love being on the stage, (and) I hate being in the booth. So, being on the stage is my reward for being in the booth.

What can be expected from a Killer Mike show?

Pure energy! I came out during the “Crunk” era, so I don’t believe in leaving the stage without being soaking wet, and out of breath.

Is there anything you want to leave our faithful readers with?

Grind Time Rap Gang; Bang, Bang, Bang! Hit us up on My Space!