Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike once named his favourite rapper on earth, and the reason why is a wholesome one, and it is not just for his ability on the mic.
Mike isn’t just revered for his role in RTJ or his esteemed solo career before joining forces with El-P, but he’s also a pillar of the community in Atlanta. He opened his first barbershop called ‘Graffitis SWAG’, in 2011 which he hopes to expand, creating more important jobs in the local area in the process.
While hip hop is something that Mike couldn’t live without, the job of a rapper to him is much more than just the albums you release and the bars you spit. For him, it’s about giving back and using your wealth to create income for as many people as possible.
“Kids rap about Bentleys and diamonds because that’s what they want or that’s what they think you’re supposed to do to get rich,” Mike told Believer Mag in 2018 about his belief system. “My job is to offer an alternative, because the people I saw who got rich, they did some diamond-y things, but they also did very practical things that I saw my grandparents do.
“When I think of rich rappers, I’m thinking less of the guys who I see on MTV every day and I’m thinking more of E-40, who independently became rich, got big checks from rap, then diverted that into community and businesses. It’s why I tell people that one of my favourite rappers is Rick Ross,” he revealed in awe.
He added: “The fact that he owns a Wingstop and is in negotiations to buy twenty-five more: when I hear that I go, ‘Wow, he’s probably going to employ two hundred to two hundred and fifty people.’ That’s very significant to me. That’s a reason to congratulate and to support him.”
Even though Rick Ross might not inspire Killer Mike on an artistic level, what he does with the money he’s accumulated throughout his career is a constant source of motivation for the RTJ man. He has a swirling drive in his stomach to leave the world in a more equal place than he found it.