Atlanta Rapper Killer Mike Calls Out Grammy Snub
Atlanta-based hip-hop artist Michael "Killer Mike" Rendon joined a roster of other musicians calling out the Grammy Awards, offering congratulations to the other nominees but criticizing "whoever ain't with us" in an expletive-laden tweet.
Rendon is one half of the hip-hop duo Run the Jewels alongside New York rapper El-P. The group did not receive a nomination for its album Run the Jewels 4, despite it receiving critical acclaim earlier in the year.
Pop artist The Weeknd was also snubbed for a nomination, in spite of having two top-charting singles and being tapped as Super Bowl halftime show performer for 2021. He also called out the Grammys on Twitter, saying the academy owes his fans "transparency."
Hip-hop artist Drake also criticized the academy on Instagram, saying it may be too late for the Grammys to recover the relevance with musicians they once had.
"It’s like a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can’t change their ways,” he continued. “The other day I said @TheWeeknd was a lock for either Album or Song of the Year along with reasonable assumptions and it just never goes that way.”
Rendon made national headlines in May when he appeared alongside Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at an emotional press conference following violent protests in the city in response to police violence against Black Americans after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“It is the responsibility of us to make this better right now,” he said. “We don't want to see one officer charged. We want to see four officers prosecuted and sentenced. We don't want to see Targets burning. We want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burnt to the ground.”
Destructive protests broke out across the city — including fires damaging restaurants near Lenox Mall, police cars engulfed in flames and the iconic CNN sign being vandalized.
Rendon spoke to GPB News' Sarah Rose at the time, saying the duo decided to release the new Run the Jewels album because of fan demand.
"Obviously, we just got a relationship with fans where, you know, they love the music," he said. "We had promised them they'd have it right before Coachella, then Coachella and the world ended up kinda closing on us. We just got tired of waiting. We got tired of kids wanting to hear it. So what better thing to do than give it to them?"
On the track "Walking in the Snow," Rendon invokes the phrase "I can't breathe," which has become a rallying cry against police brutality. While it was written in November 2019 about Eric Garner's death in a 2014 police encounter, he said the timelessness of the phrase reflects the dark reality of the present — or the more recent past, as with Floyd in May under similar circumstances.
"At this point, we have become accustomed to seeing police murder with guns and putting chokeholds on black men," he said, "And it's a shame that I was talking in November about a past incident that can be relevant right now."
GPB News reached out to Killer Mike's representatives for additional comment, but had not heard back as of the time of publication.
The Grammy Awards will take place on January 31, 2021.