Watch Run The Jewels discuss Kanye’s meeting with the president as well as their thoughts on grime.
In an interview with Channel 4 News, Killer Mike said: “It didn’t bother me, why wouldn’t you [meet the President]? Black people shouldn’t have permanent friends or enemies, they should have permanent interest. If it wasn’t for Dr. Martin Luther King being willing to meet with people like [Governor] George Wallace, Wallace would have not have ended up – starting as a racist bigot and ending as a person who found God in some way, and appointed more blacks to his office than any other governor since.”
As a long-term civil rights activist, Killer Mike’s words carry weight. The rapper campaigned for left-wing Vermont senator Bernie Sanders during the US presidential election and has been a prominent voice of the Black Lives Matter movement, penning a Billboard op-ed in 2014 on the militarisation of the US police.
But he also pointed out that public figures with a history of campaigning and activism meeting with Trump may be more significant than West: “A musician meeting a presidential candidate isn’t important to me, unlike [former NFL player] Jim Brown,” he continued. “Brown, for the last 50 years, has fought against oppression of all people. Him sitting with President Trump was a significant thing for me, because I know on the other side of the table he was telling the truth.”
In the same interview, Killer Mike’s Run The Jewels bandmate El-P spoke about his love of grime ever since the genre’s early days: “I worked with Dizzee Rascal back in the day – he was kind of my entrance into the grime scene, and, you know, people like Wiley and the earlier stuff. And I’m a fan of it.”
Run The Jewels have just finished a UK tour in support of their third album as a duo, RTJ 3.