Killer Mike has a way with words, as a rapper and just as a guy. Across six solo albums and two as a part of Run the Jewels, his duo with El-P, the Atlanta MC has earned a reputation as a wise and sharp-witted social critic. Increasingly, he's been using his position in the public eye to do more than rap. "We are human beings," he wrote this summer in an Instagram caption about the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. "Look at these noble creatures called humans and look at what govt sanctioned murder has done." Killer Mike's relationship with violence and the law, something he's clearly thought a lot about, is complicated by this biographical tidbit: his dad was a cop. We asked him to talk about that.
My grandma used to have a picture of me sitting on my dad's desk, sucking on a lime. He and my mom were teenagers when they had me. A 19-year-old kid becoming a dad—there's not a lot of choices out there. At the time, the police force of Atlanta was heavily recruiting from our neighborhood—the Collier Heights section of Adamsville—and my dad was one of the young guys who got an opportunity to join the force. The city understood that people of power and influence need to look like the people being influenced.
I always liked to see him in uniform. My dad's 6'4" and had a huge Afro, so he looked more like a member of a funk band than a police officer. But he was built to be a cop. My dad was born in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Atlanta. His own father died when he was young, so he had become a guardian of his sisters and brothers and a protector of the other kids in town.