In an interview with Huffington Post following their Lollapalooza performance, El-P and Killer Mike spoke about addressing community issues in their Run The Jewels music. In the feature, El-P also speaks briefly on the increased relevance of Hip Hop performers at music festivals.
“I don’t think there’s a festival now where people would feel right about [it] if there wasn’t that representation [of Hip Hop],” El-P said. “And it wasn’t always that way—it used to be that Hip Hop was an invading force on the larger music scene. [The change] speaks to a lot of things: The cultural and community significance of where Hip Hop comes from.”
“That’s really what Hip Hop is, it’s the most inclusive music of everything around it,” he added. “The roots of it come from people who were really listening to everything that was out there, applying their ideas and making something beautiful of their own.”
“Most kids raged out there today,” he said of the Lollapalooza crowd. “They ran around, they swarmed but they didn’t hurt each other and they took care of each other. That’s what I love about this and this community of Run The Jewels…We talk a lot of shit on our records, but I think it’s apparent that it’s all in good fun. Our vibe is very inclusive. We can say something totally screwed up and people can still smile about it because they know they’re in on the joke. We’re not making the joke out of you.”
Speaking about the place of politics and community involvement in music, Killer Mike explained advocating for the importance of youth mentorship among audience members.
“I told our audience this last night [at an after-party show],” Killer Mike said, “I say it every time I play in Chicago: ‘Please find one child and mentor them. If you don’t believe it can really change that child’s life, my name is Michael Render, and my mentor is from North Chicago. Her name is Alice Johnson.’”
Apparently responding to a question about vulgarity in his lyrics, Killer Mike shared feeling like his rhymes should exist in a safeguarded artistic space.
“People have restraint put on them for [moralistic reasons], because of government or religion—but human beings also need a place to put something that’s at times profane or decadent, something that may shock,” he said. “The blame game is still a problem,” he added.
Tomorrow, Killer Mike and El-P will appear at the first of a handful of Canadian venues for their currently running tour. While they are currently working on a follow-up to their group debut a date has yet to be confirmed for its release.