Killer Mike is on the “Run.” On Independence Day (July 4), the veteran rapper released his first solo single in over a decade, with a guest appearance from Young Thug and an opening monologue from Dave Chappelle. The song makes his first single as a lead artist, since the release of his 2012 fifth studio album R.A.P. Music.
The Atlanta-bred rapper spoke with Complex about the concept behind “Run,” which was inspired by escaped slave Crispus Attucks, who was the first American to die during the Boston Massacre, preceding the Revolutionary War.
“There would be no Fourth of July without a Black man, and the fact that Crispus Attucks was the first person to die on the behalf of what would become the republic called America,” Mike explained. The fact that all Americans don’t know that is a problem for me.”
In the visual for “Run,” during Young Thug’s verse, a flag is waved bearing the statement “Free Thug, Protect Black Art, Free Gunna.” Another solider wears an armband that reads “Free YSL.” Both Young Thug, Gunna and members of Atlanta-based label YSL (also known as Young Slime Life, Young Stoner Life, and Young Slatt Life) were arrested in May for allegations of street gang activity and conspiring to violate Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
The song and video for “Run” takes a stance against the arrests. Premiering the song during an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, Mike spoke at length about hip-hop not being “respected as an art.”
“I want to stand in solidarity with Black art. So keep your hands off Black art. I want to standard solidarity was Gunna and Thug, who are presumed innocent, according to our constitution, unless proven guilty. They’re presumed innocent, man,” Mike said. “And the two men that I spent two weeks with while we’re recording that were leaders of working people. They were the leaders of creative people. There were the leaders of people in that room who would not have had jobs and opportunity. What I did not see was the leader of a gang in that room. What I witnessed in there was musicians making music, making opportunities for people, making money, creating these imaginary characters, which we are.”
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