Review: The Peculiar Politics of Killer Mike

The rapper is a Bernie Sanders supporter who speaks out about gun rights and free speech.


In the run-up to his first solo album release in a decade, rapper Killer Mike dropped two new singles: "Don't Let The Devil" and "Motherless."

The first song, a collaboration with El-P, is pretty standard fare. Backing vocals and drum samples complement a flow of lyrics about smoking weed, sipping syrup, and interrupting church services. "Motherless" is a heavier, more personal reflection on the performer's late mother. Killer Mike's instruction to "don't let the devil coerce you" is about as close as either song gets to the rapper's normally heavily political lyrics.

The rapper is famous for his outspoken, heterodox political views, which land somewhere between Bernie Sanders' socialism (he was a Sanders campaign surrogate in 2016) and a distinctly black capitalism. His 2012 track "Reagan" was a scorching attack on the late president's role in the drug war and mass incarceration. He has also ruffled the feathers of his lefty allies with uncompromising defenses of the Second Amendment and, more recently, free speech.

His lyrics with his collaborative act Run the Jewels are also shot through with an appreciation for at least some of the Bill of Rights ("one for the freedom of speeches, two for the right to hold heaters, skip to the fifth if the cops in your house."). A single from last year also goes after his politically correct critics' "woke-ass shit." His appreciation for individual rights makes Killer Mike a rare and interesting figure in the hip-hop landscape.