The Run the Jewels rapper opened last night’s show in St. Louis with an impassioned reaction to the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson.
In the fray and fury following the decision by a grand jury in Ferguson to not indict police officer Darren Wilson, there’s no shortage of public figures chiming in with their own opinions and frustrations. With a history steeped in racial politics, the hip-hop community has been particularly vocal, with the likes of J. Cole, Lauryn Hill, Talib Kweli, and more speaking out by joining protestors in the streets in Ferguson or penning songs inspired by injustice and heated racial divide.
Rapper/actor Killer Mike, of hip-hop duo Run the Jewels, emerged early on as one of the particularly insightful music figures weighing in on the tragedy. Last night, about an hour-and-a-half after the grand jury’s announcement, a clearly incensed Killer Mike, whose father was a cop, delivered a blazing speech to a rapt crowd before a Run the Jewels performance in St. Louis.
After offering his thoughts and prayers to the peaceful protestors, and adding “people who could not hold their anger in because riots are only the language of the unheard,” he fought back tears, expressing his anger and indignation at the decision. “You motherfuckers got me today,” he said, voice cracking. “You kicked me on my ass today, because I have a 20-year-old son and a 12-year-old son and I'm so afraid for them.” Growing more impassioned, Killer Mike goes on to speak more pointedly towards law enforcement, “You motherfuckers will not own tomorrow. We will not live in your fear.” Show-goers shouted in solidarity, with occasional bursts of “Hands up!” heard around the room.
He wrapped up his speech valiantly. “But I can promise you today, if I die when I walk off this stage tomorrow, I’m [gonna] let you know this: It is not about race, it is not about class, it is not about color, it is about what they killed him for. It is about poverty, it is about greed, and it is about a war machine…So I might go today, I might go tomorrow, but the one thing I want you to know: It is about us versus the motherfucking machine."
In addition to his show last night, Killer Mike has weighed in on the Ferguson shooting as the controversy has unfolded. Soon after Brown’s shooting, Killer Mike appeared on CNN after publishing an emotional op-ed in Billboard citing a police culture that has allowed and perpetuated “bad policing, excessive force, and the hunt-and-capture-prey mentality,” warning that “if we do not press back against this Blue Wall of Silence and gang-like mentality of our local police, we all are in danger.”
He added: “I will use my camera, my pen, my pad, and my network to do my part, to make sure that American[s] will no longer fear their government. Or its employees. They work for us—not the other way around.”