Killer Mike leads the pack of rappers-turned-politicians running for office
J eb Bush’s announcement that he will run for president might have stolen the headlines yesterday, but as Jeb! spoke in Spanish, asked his mum for help and turned up the anti-Hillary rhetoric, there was another political candidate who threw his hat (or should that be mic?) into the ring. Michael Render, better known to the world as Killer Mike, the outspoken Atlanta rapper and one half of Run the Jewels, also announced yesterday that he’d be taking his talents to another stage. declaring he wanted to run for office in Georgia’s 55th district.
The development isn’t that surprising to anyone who’s watched his progress over the last 18 months, as he’s used his platform as a prominent, respected rapper to discuss gun crime, police violence and the wave of racial disharmony that’s dominated news in the US. Born in Adamsville, Georgia in 1975, he graduated from the historically black Morehouse College, and emerged as Outkast were developing their trippy brand of hip-hop, appearing on their breakthrough album Stankonia in 2000. But it was his working relationship with El-P, former head of backpack rap label Def Jux, that saw him crossover in 2013 – as the pair worked on solo albums and as a duo in Run the Jewels.
Run The Jewels album review
Render has also become a go-to guy for TV channels looking for an articulate, engaging and no-nonsense talking head from the rap world. CNN, Fox and HBO’s Bill Maher have all given him air time to deliver his message of better police/community relations (his father was a cop) and call for an end to the demonisation of hip-hop culture by the mainstream media.
He’s not the only rapper running for office in 2016. Fellow Atlanta MC Waka Flocka Flame is running for president on the ever-so-slightly niche platform of legalising marijuana and banning dogs in restaurants (despite being a PETA ambassador ). Rappers haven’t flooded to endorse one of their own though, with Ja Rule. 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg all backing Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Meanwhile, 2 Chainz – another Atlanta artist – is also planning to run as mayor of his hometown of College Park, Georgia. Chainz (real name Tauheed Epps) plans to go up against 20-year incumbent Jack Longino, who confessed to not knowing who the rapper was, stating: “I’m a country-western guy. I don’t listen to the rap.” Like Render, 2 Chainz might not be able to run because of red tape – Longino claims he doesn’t live in the College Park area and therefore does not qualify.