September 29, 2022

It’s Independence Day, and Killer Mike is back with his first new solo song in 10 years. Following the success of Run the Jewels, “Run” is his first music as lead artist since 2012’s R.A.P. Music. The track features a guest verse from Young Thug, production from No I.D., and in the Adrian Villagomez-directed video, an introductory monologue by Dave Chappelle. Watch it below.

The video portrays a narrative of Black people fighting against fascists attempting to return the South to the Confederacy. During Thug’s verse, a flag featuring the words “Free Thug, Protect Black Art, Free Gunna” is waved on the battlefield. Another soldier is seen wearing an armband that reads “Free YSL.”

On May 9, Thug was arrested on charges of participation in street gang activity and conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. His arrest came as the result of a 56-count indictment that named 28 alleged affiliates of Thug’s label and imprint YSL (aka Young Slime Life, Young Stoner Life, and Young Slatt Life), which was defined in the indictment as a “criminal street gang.” Among those indicted were Thug, Gunna, Yak Gotti, Peewee Roscoe, Duke, and Thug’s brother Unfoonk. 

Following the initial RICO charges, Thug was charged with seven additional felonies, including marijuana and weapons charges after police raided the rapper’s home in Atlanta. Thug was denied bond on June 2.

Last month, Mike spoke to ABC’s Good Morning America in Thug and Gunna’s defense—the latest example in his long-held commitment to the argument that rap lyrics shouldn’t be used as evidence in court cases. “Hip-hop is not respected as an art because Black people in this country are not recognized as full human beings,” he said. “If we allow the courts to prosecute these men based on characters they created and stories of pretend that they tell in rhyme, then next, they’ll be at your door.”

Mike has also spoken frequently about Confederate monuments and the Confederate flag as symbols of “traitors and losers.” He’s also sold anti-Confederate merch. 

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