Pledge (album)

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Pledge
Studio album by Killer Mike
Released May 17, 2011[1]
Recorded 2010–2011
Genre Hip hop, southern hip hop
Label Grind Time, SMC, Tree Leaf, Grand Hustle
Producer Killer Mike (exec.)
DJ Speedy, Flying Lotus, Grand Hustle Productions, No I.D., Raz (Beat Billionaire), Smiff & Cash, Sweatbox Productions, Tha Bizness, The Beat Bullies, Zone Beats
Killer Mike chronology
Underground Atlanta
(2009)
PL3DGE
(2011)
R.A.P. Music
(2012)
Singles from PL3DGE
  1. "Ready Set Go"
    Released: December 7, 2010

Pledge (stylized PL3DGE) is the fifth studio album by American hip hop recording artist Killer Mike, released on May 17, 2011, through SMC Recordings, Grind Time Official, Tree Leaf Records and Grand Hustle Records. The album's production was handled by Tha Bizness, No I.D., Flying Lotus, The Beat Bullies, DJ Speedy, Raz of the Beat Billionaires and Grind Time label-mates Smiff & Cash. The album, which is his third in the I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind series, was supported by the lead single "Ready Set Go", featuring Grand Hustle label-boss and fellow American rapper T.I..

Background[edit]

Killer Mike had started his recordings for Pledge in mid-2010 and throughout the beginning of 2011, bringing together events all characteristic of the southern hip hop and collaborations of this medium, announced as the first recording of the album, entitled "Ready Set Go", with beats proportionate by No I.D., in late 2010. Mike began recording with several artists in the mean time to return the media as radio and TV, as in the track "Charlie Sheen",[2] of his friend Chamillionaire, on behalf of Mike Bigga, still counting on vocals with Rock D, a Southern oriented-track with very peculiar characteristics to the other works of Mike over the chronology of its series "I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind", which is the third event of the series, which had been prepared for his second and third album. The announcement of the album took place so close to release a single in the interview, the track list and a date which was late, March 22 to May 17, occurred in the first quarter of 2011, at HipHopDX.[1]

Music[edit]

Lyrical style[edit]

During an interview for HipHopDX, Mike commented on the political trend[3] of the album saying:

Yeah, I got concerns that they’re gonna kill me. I’ve got concerns that unless enough people wake up and pay attention to what I’m saying, either I’m going to have to stop saying it or I’m going to get killed for saying it—one or the other. When I say “they,” [that’s] anybody who has those three letters in their title. Usually it’s an alphabet boy or some type saying, “I’m the GFI—Governmental Federal Investigators.” But I do have fears of dying young based on the things I say. I say things that Jesus, Dr. King, Malcom X [sic] and Che Guevara said. I also say stuff that Fred Hampton, Alprentice Carter and Huey Newton said.[4]

—Killer Mike

Controversy with Jay-Z and Warren Buffett[edit]

Mike also talks to HipHopDX about Jay-Z and Warren Buffett contents on album, saying:

It wasn’t so much about Jay-Z next to Warren Buffett any more than it was about Ronald Reagan being a bad actor—when I said that in the third verse. What it was about was, in this country, we’re given idols to worship. I’ve loved Jay-Z as a rapper since ’96 when I was knee-deep in the trap. But I will never allow media to fool me to somehow think that just because a black kid from Marcy Projects becomes a billionaire the tables are fair when he’s standing next to a man who’s worth $56 billion.

Warren Buffett can give away his money, and the next year make more money and plus $10 billion. Jay-Z has had to fight, bleed, kill and die for every dollar he’s ever got. And that’s not to say that Mr. Buffett and every other billionaire doesn’t. That’s just saying that I can choose to give Jay-Z another dollar. I can choose to buy his record; I can choose to go to his restaurant. Warren Buffett owns a piece of everything I have—whether it’s orange juice, Polar Springs or the table we’re at. Berkshire Hathaway owns a piece of it! My thing is, if I allow you to start making Jay-Z equal to that in the perception and minds of people, I start judging Jay-Z by those standards. And that’s not fair. He can’t do—socially and globally—what someone with $50 billion can do. It’s wrong to put those expectations on him.

So I view Jay-Z and Puffy as entertaining businessmen who have made moguls out of themselves. In the context of putting their money next to me, I shrink. But putting their money next to Buffett, Carlos Slim out of Mexico, the Nigerian and East Indian billionaires, they just become regular people again. I won’t let my perception to be controlled. So it’s not a slight against Jay-Z. It’s just saying that if you allow you idols to be judged on a game or playing field that they didn’t create, you’re gonna be saying you think they’re in the Illuminati. And they’re not, because they don’t have enough money to be in the Illuminati.[4]
—Mike, Killer

Singles[edit]

Killer Mike released one single for the album. The song, titled "Ready Set Go", is a Southern track. It's the first record to promote PL3DGE. Released in December 7, 2010[5] for digital download, the song was produced by No I.D., and features vocals from friend and musical godfather T.I., who provides a rap verse from it. "Ready Set Go" was never charted.[6]

Reception[edit]

Professional reviews[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[7]
Bonafide (favorable)[8]
Pitchfork 8.0/10[9]
The Smoking Section 4/5 stars[10]
Spin 7/10[11]

The album received favorable reviews overall, with Mosi Reeves of Spin giving the album a 7 out of 10 by stating:

the former OutKast associate tones down the crack talk in favor of diatribes against Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi ("That's Life II") and the Christian church.[12]

The website Bonafide also rated the album as positive, with David Acaster introducing the album saying:

Fortunately he hasn’t taken the route of most New York rappers and declare it the death of hip-hop, an achingly boring tactic that never hides the fact that it’s bitter resentment. Instead it’s just served to make him hungry, and for large parts of Pl3dge he finds his own lane, standing above his peers from his illustrious[clarification needed].[13]

—David Acaster

Track listing[edit]

The track list and its respectively chronology, production team and guests confirmed by the hip hop-specialized website, HipHopDX.[14]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "So Glorious"   Michael Render Smiff & Cash 3:43
2. "That's Life II"   Render Smiff & Cash 3:47
3. "Ric Flair"   Render Sweatbox Productions 3:37
4. "Ready Set Go" (featuring T.I.) Render, Clifford Harris, Jr., Dion Wilson No I.D. 3:42
5. "Burn" (featuring Funkadelic) Render Sweatbox Productions 4:16
6. "Go Out on the Town" (featuring Young Jeezy) Render, Jayson Jenkins Raz (of Beat Billionaire) 5:06
7. "God in the Building II"   Render The Beat Bullies 4:33
8. "Players Lullaby" (featuring Roc D the Legend & Twista) Render Tha Bizness 4:06
9. "Animal" (featuring Gucci Mane) Render Zone Beatz 3:58
10. "American Dream Prelude"   Render Sweatbox Productions 1:08
11. "American Dream"   Render Sweatbox Productions 2:13
12. "Everything (Hold You Down)"   Render Sweatbox Productions 3:08
13. "Follow Your Dreams"   Render DJ Speedy 4:29
14. "Swimming" (featuring Roc D the Legend) Render Flying Lotus 4:01
15. "Ready Set Go (Remix)" (featuring T.I. & Big Boi) Render, Antwan Patton, Harris, Wilson No I.D. 4:51

References[edit]