If there are two types of rap I like, they’re:
- Funky, family friendly 80s style
- Hard-as nails South-Western style
Guess which category a man as subtly named as Killer Mike falls under.
Killer Mike is an Atlanta based rapper who has been releasing full length albums for almost 10 years, and has been featured in a gazillion songs from the likes of Immortal Technique, Sly & the Family Stone, and Lil’ Jon (really not as impressive as the other two). Killer Mike has worked also with El-P on numerous occasions, so it isn’t too surprising to hear that El-P produced R.A.P. Music.
This album has two main highlights for me and they’re the tone of Mike’s voice and the beats/ instrumentation.Killer Mike has this really commanding voice. I wouldn’t say it’s anything too special, but I think it’s pretty powerful. I always like the type of rappers who put enough force behind what they say that they slowly start sounding out of breath or strained. Weird? Maybe. Whatever. The production and instrumentation done by El-P is fan-fucking-tastic too. All the beats hit harder than adamantine boot heel, which is A-okay in my books.
Even though Killer Mike and El-P forge this seemingly gargantuan persona for R.A.P. Music, they can keep the songs varied enough that the album doesn’t seem to be a testosterone-fest. “Don’t Die” makes Mike sound almost scared and paranoid, while “Willie Burke Sherwood” still feels strong, but just listening/ reading the lyrics shows Mike’s more melancholic side. Lyrical content on this album varies from boasts, to conspiracy theories, to personal and family issues, to the power of music. All this variation keeps the album fresh and interesting, without ever fully diluting Killer Mike’s tough-as-fuck image.
Big Beast (ft. T.I., Trouble & Bun B): The intro track doesn’t waste time telling you not to mess with Killer Mike and co. Probably my favorite song on the album to blast while in the car with the windows down.
Don’t Die: While “Big Beast” might be my favorite to blast in the car, “Don’t Die” has to be my favorite on the album, period. The song goes from eerie and off kilter all the way until the fantastic audio sample in the middle of the song, then Mike seems to take control of the chaos and push out a powerful ending.
Willie Burke Sherwood: Just a great song to close your eyes and lose yourself to. Look up the lyrics. Just fantastic.
On a Playlist With: El-P, Childish Gambino, Ludacris
Killer Mike and El-P make a great rap album that pulls you in for the whole ride. Blast this when you want to pump yourself up, or just erase whatever’s on your mind. I’d recommend this even to people who aren’t huge fans of rap or hip-hop.