Essential Listening: Killer Mike brought meaningful lyrics to `R.A.P. Music’


Dominick Brady via Wikimedia Commons

Killer Mike, part of the group Run the Jewels, won acclaim with his album `R.A.P. Music.’

Sean Galentine, Staff Writer

Tired of your Spotify playlists? The Purbalite is here to help with our Essential Listening series.

Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music presents deep and meaningful lyrics about the African-American experience and corruption within government and police. The “R.A.P.” in the title stands for “Rebellious African People,” introducing the listener to the themes of the album before the first track even starts.

The most intriguing track on R.A.P. Music is ”Reagan”, a song that samples recordings of President Ronald Reagan. Killer Mike analyzes negative influences within African-American culture and cites Reagan’s mismanagement of the prison system and the war on drugs as a primary cause of these ills. 

R.A.P. Music is a record that encapsulates the complex world and manages to explore different perspectives through verses. But not every song is entirely reliant on politics. Songs like “Butane (Champion’s Anthem)” reminds listeners that Killer Mike is good and he knows it. This song also features El-P, the record’s producer, who would go on to team with Killer Mike in the group Run the Jewels.

Killer Mike’s demonstration of skill within this album cannot be understated. Every line has meaning and there is nothing out of place. There are several features on this album, including Bun B, T.I., Trouble, Scar, El-P, and Emily Panic. All of these features manage to add to Killer Mike’s lyrics and the expert production from El-P. 

Overall, R.A.P. Music is a record that flaunts its ideas expertly. Despite the lack of Killer Mike’s long-term success as a solo artist, fans who enjoy this style of rap usually consider it to be one of the greatest rap albums of all time.