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Killer Mike tells Stephen Colbert about his new show, marketing the Crips, and how Atlanta is Wakanda

Killer Mike, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike was on Thursday’s Late Show to promote Trigger Warning, his six-episode Netflix series premiering on Friday. With the Grammy-winning Atlanta rapper’s long history of political activism—some more on-point than others—viewers can expect some brashly inventive social satire, according to Mike. “The show is, the most absurd thought and arguments I’ve ever had in my life,” explained Mike (A.K.A. Michael Render), “and to see if they’re possible.” Calling his childhood growing up black in Atlanta especially conducive to creative expression, Killer Mike called the city “Wakanda for real,” explaining to Colbert that that means he never felt boxed in to one particular role in a city of skyscrapers, black people, “and we’re nice to white people.” (He also compared his home town to “the black Nashville,” for similar reasons, although Wakanda is a lot cooler analogy.)

As for Trigger Warning, Killer Mike’s description made the show sound like a more socially conscious, all-black, Atlanta-set Nathan For You, in a way, with Killer Mike using each episode to pitch and execute some very outside-the-box entrepreneurial ideas. Like Crip-a-Cola, an actual soft drink product to be marketed by the notorious gang, the Crips. In keeping with his new show’s mission, Mike then set out to make the prospect sound not all that crazy, pointing out that notoriously violent white gang the Hell’s Angels have a lucrative clothing line, and that lack of economic opportunity is one of the things that contributes to young black men joining gangs like the Crips. Or what about starting an entirely new, black Jesus-led religion? Again, Killer Mike told Colbert, the concept of representation and branding in religious iconography is one way to subvert traditional Christianity’s insistence on a white Jesus who “looks like a member of The Doors.” So, calling upon a childhood friend, a local strip club, and an insistence on decentralized, nap-based worship, the rapper has created The Church Of Sleep. Sure, apparently he was unable to enlist a local black megachurch pastor to lead the crusade to “[leave] white Jesus,” but, hey, that’s when you take things into your own hands.

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Trigger Warning With Killer Mike is on Netflix now.

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.