Killer Mike

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Killer Mike
Killer Mike.jpg
Killer Mike performing in May 2008.
Background information
Birth name Michael Render
Also known as Mike Bigga
Born (1975-04-20) April 20, 1975 (age 39)
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, Songwriter, actor
Years active 1999–present
Labels Grind Time, SMC, Grand Hustle, Williams Street, Fool's Gold
Associated acts Run the Jewels, Bun B, Dungeon Family, OutKast, Pill, SL Jones, T.I., Yelawolf, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross
Website Killer Mike on Myspace

Michael Render (born April 20, 1975),[1] better known by his stage name Killer Mike, is an American hip hop recording artist and occasional actor from Atlanta, Georgia. He is the founder of Grind Time Official Records, which he launched through the SMC and Fontana Distribution. Mike made his debut on "Snappin' and Trappin'", from OutKast's 2000 LP Stankonia, and later appeared on the Grammy-winning song "The Whole World", a single from OutKast's greatest hits album Big Boi and Dre Present...OutKast.

In December 2008, Mike confirmed he signed to fellow Atlanta-based rapper T.I.'s Grand Hustle Records. In 2012, he released R.A.P. Music, produced entirely by American rapper-producer El-P. In 2013, the two subsequently formed a duo, branding themselves Run the Jewels. The two signed to Fool's Gold and released their self-titled debut, in June of that year. Mike has been featured in the films 20 Funerals, Idlewild and ATL.


In the mid-90s, Killer Mike briefly attended Morehouse College, where he met producers The Beat Bullies and eventually Big Boi of OutKast. His music debut was a feature appearance on OutKast's "Snappin' & Trappin'" from the 2000 album Stankonia, followed by their 2001 single "The Whole World" and several other features including "Poppin' Tags" from Jay-Z's The Blueprint 2.

Killer Mike released his debut album, Monster, in 2003. The album's lead single was "Akshon (Yeah!)", which featured OutKast on guest vocals, and was included on the soundtrack of EA Sports' video game Madden NFL 2004. He also made a Madden '04 remix of "Akshon (Yeah!)" for the game. The album's second single was "A.D.I.D.A.S.", featuring Big Boi and Sleepy Brown, which peaked at #60 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is Killer Mike's highest charting single to date as a lead artist. The song's title was an acronym for "All Day I Dream About Sex". Following the release of his own material, he appeared on "Flip Flop Rock" and "Bust" on the Speakerboxx half of OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below double album. He also appeared on "Southern Takeover" with Pastor Troy on Chamillionaire's CD The Sound of Revenge. Killer Mike appeared on the song "Never Scared" by fellow rapper Bone Crusher, also with T.I., from AttenCHUN! It peaked at #26 on the Hot 100, becoming Mike's second top 40 hit ("The Whole World" being the first). The song was also used on the Madden NFL 04 game and by the Atlanta Braves for their 2003 season. What was to be his second album, Ghetto Extraordinary, has had its release date pushed back several times due to disputes between Big Boi and Sony Records.[2][unreliable source?]

Killer Mike has also performed as a voice actor. He played a rapper/actor, turned President of the United States, named Taqu'il in the Adult Swim cartoon Frisky Dingo. According to an article published in the June 2007 issue of XXL, Killer Mike addressed why he left the Purple Ribbon roster. He stated that he felt as if Purple Ribbon was the equivalent to the "Clippers," while he wanted to join the "Lakers."[citation needed]

Days after T.I. addressed the rumor and confirmed that he and Killer Mike had been in talks about bringing Mike to his Grand Hustle imprint on Atlantic, Killer Mike confirmed to that he signed.[3]

Run The Jewels[edit]

In 2012, Killer Mike formed an association with rapper/producer El-P, who produced Mike's album R.A.P. Music and guested on the song "Butane (Champion's Anthem)". That same year, he guested on El-P's album Cancer 4 Cure. In 2013, they formed the duo Run the Jewels and released a free album of the same name on June 26.[4] The next year, on October 28, 2014, Run the Jewels released their second free album Run the Jewels 2.[5]

The new album release has come with many promotional efforts. The group has started a Tag The Jewels movement where graffiti artists from around the world tag their rendition of the RTJ2 album cover. The cover features the album's hand gesture of a gun pointed at a fist clenching a gold chain.[6] Also, on their website they released a number of preposterous pre-order packages valued up to 10 million dollars.[7] A kickstarter group was formed to fund the Meow The Jewels pre-order package for $40,000. The funding was reached and El-P and Mike, as well as additional producers, have begun work on a re-recorded version of RTJ2 made entirely from cat sounds.[8]


Killer Mike opened a barbershop with his wife, Shana Render, on November 1, 2011. The two acquired and reworked a barbershop in Atlanta, Georgia, and named it Graffiti's SWAG. He told that he waited 9 years before choosing to open the barbershop, and it took his wife advising him to do it now while he had the time and money to pursue his lifelong dream. He also said he aims to open 150 shops across the U.S. over time, predominantly in cities with large Black communities. The barbershop is decorated with artwork on the walls honoring historic black leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King. Killer Mike said that he hopes to "lift up men in the community who are out of work and help move them toward sustainable, lifelong careers" and give his employees "opportunity for real economic elevation." The shop currently employs six barbers, and they plan to add four to six more licensed barbers to the team. Killer Mike also says that he hopes to pursue his own barber license in the winter of 2012. Graffiti's SWAG Barbershop is located at 3461 Roosevelt Highway, Suite 316, Atlanta, Georgia 30349.[9]


Killer Mike is an outspoken social activist focusing on subjects including the for-profit prison system, police brutality, and same-sex marriage. This is reflected in his music, as well as interviews with the media. As a publicly viewed figure, Mike feels it is his responsibility to represent African-Americans: "I feel I have to be politically active and I have to be a credit to my race."[10] He has been vocal on the subject of police misconduct, his father being a former police officer. His anti-brutality sentiment can be found on the song "Reagan"[11] from his album R.A.P. Music, and the song "Early"[12] on Run the Jewels 2. In response to the 2014 Michael Brown controversy in Ferguson, Missouri, Killer Mike said "I'm appalled that regular Americans are apathetic. I'm appalled that people choose to use the word 'thug' as a code word for 'n-----.' I'm appalled at everyday citizens" and "When will we, as an American constituency, tell our politicians enough's enough? Enough mayors supporting murderous police departments. Enough police chiefs having to give excuses for murderous police officers."[13]

Killer Mike and El-P performed at The Ready Room in Saint Louis on November 24, 2014, the same night that the Grand Jury verdict was announced stating that Darren Wilson would not be charged with a crime. Killer Mike opened the Run the Jewels set about two hours after the announcement was made with a heartfelt speech.



  1. ^ Bush, John (May 20, 2008). "Killer Mike > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved May 8, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Killer Mike:Beautiful Struggle". Xxlmag.Com. 2006-03-03. Retrieved 2012-04-13. 
  3. ^ "Killer Mike Confirms Signing With T.I.]". Retrieved December 9, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Killer Mike & El-P "Run The Jewels" Release Date, Tracklist & Album Download". 2013-06-23. Retrieved 2014-11-19. 
  5. ^ "Killer Mike and El-P Detail Run the Jewels' RTJ2 Album, Announce Tour". 2014-09-02. Retrieved 2014-11-19. 
  6. ^
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  8. ^ "Meow The Jewels Is Happening". Stereogum. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Physioc, Heather E. (2012-07-02). "Killer Mike's Barbershop in Atlanta, GA - Graffiti's SWAG". Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  10. ^ Shepherd, Julianne. "Killer Mike, Venerable Rapper/Activist, Talks New Album, Drug War, and Maybe Running for Office". Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  11. ^ Mike, Killer (May 15, 2012). Reagan - R.A.P Music. Williams Street Records. 
  12. ^ Early - RTJ2. Mass Appeal Records. October 28, 2014.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  13. ^ Barshad, Amos. "Killer Mike, J. Cole, and Hip-Hop’s Response to Ferguson". Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
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