Welcome to another volume in our [ed: quite possibly endless] series, Doktor Paimon’s Leftover Meds. Once a week [ed: ahem... uh huh] I’m going to hit random on my phone and review the first album to come up in my not-inconsiderable collection of varied music ranging from total crap to beloved crap to things I’m a little bit pissed nobody else has listened to.
There were a lot of thing I disregarded for too long because I first encountered them at a time in my life when I felt like I had to dislike things because they weren't metal. I've eaten a lot of crow over the years, but nowhere have I eaten more than in the world of rap. Killer Mike's incredible R.A.P. Music solidified my burgeoning interest in rap music and forced me to admit that I wasn't just wrong, but almost terminally stupid. Other albums have a better claim to greatest of all time, but Killer Mike kicked through my arrogance.
Where does one start on an album like this? Out of the gate, Killer Mike delivers snarling threats of robbery in stripclub parking lots with the help of Bun B and T.I. Images of violence are a common theme on R.A.P. Music, but Killer Mike manages to make it personal and meaningful rather than lurid, threading just enough gangsta bravado to maintain genre standards but never enough to feel like he's putting on airs. Woven between these expertly delivered (and often hilarious) rhymes about Kimbers and bucking .45s at the fillings of cops is a distinctly political, sometimes outright revolutionary, message about life as a poor black man in the American South. It's in these moments, juxtaposing violent masculinity with pining for a woman like Coretta Scott King or the lessons learned from his grandfather about how men should act (with a heavy dose of regret for not having always measured up), that Killer Mike manages to write lines that more than just technically sound but emotionally resonant. The range of emotions, of expressions of manhood, of ways of being that Mike manages to convey is startling. For all his talk about being “real bad guy shit,” Killer Mike manages to bring a vulnerability and genuineness that demands close attention.
Backing the “AK wordplay” is LP's (who would go on to form Run The Jewels with Mike) massive production, delivering whatever is necessary for the song. The only unifying theme in LP's sound on this album is that he delivers whatever is appropriate for a given track. His knowledge and understanding of various streams of rap allows him to deliver sounds from Afrika Islam to Earthtone III and everything in-between, blending styles and beats with a skill and cleanliness that rarely distracts from incredible lyrical work that Mike and his stream of features bring to the table.
Bottom Line: If you're into rap, buy this album. If you're into the English language, buy this album. If you're not sold, listen to it on youtube then buy this fucking album.
Standout Track:Southern Fried.
Looking at the bezel of my Breitling thinking that I used to sell raps for enlightenment
But I got lapped by them guys selling lies for the white man
Now I sell pies for the white man and my tour bus is a moving indictment