Killer Mike has spoken incisively about the death of Michael Brown since shortly after police officer Darren Wilson shot the unarmed 18-year-old this past August in Ferguson, Missouri. There was an Instagram post. There was a Billboard op-ed. There was CNN. In the meantime, Run the Jewels, the Atlanta rapper’s duo with El-P, released their staggering second album, RTJ2, which wisely offers no answers. But all the while, Brown’s case was rattling through the St. Louis County court system, and last night the prosecuting attorney announced the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson.
Run the Jewels were already scheduled to perform in St. Louis last night, and prior to the verdict they confirmed there was no change in plans. As the Washington Post reports, when Killer Mike and El-P took the stage, they did away with the standard entrance music, and Killer Mike spoke instead.
“I would like to say ‘rest in peace’ to Michael Brown, who will never get to see the next phase of his life,” Killer Mike said. “I would like to give all thoughts and prayers to all those out there peacefully protesting.”
He went on, paraphrasing Martin Luther King Jr., “I also give thoughts and prayers for the people who could not hold that anger in, because riots are only the language of the unheard.”
The 39-year-old rapper, whose real name is Michael Render, had a hitch in his usually booming voice as the remarks took on a deeply personal note. “Tonight I got kicked on my ass, when I listened to that prosecutor,” he said. “You motherfuckers got me today. I knew it was coming. I have a 20-year-old son, I have a 12-year-old son and I’m so afraid for them.”
But fear was not the closing message. “You motherfuckers will not own tomorrow,” he said. “We know you don’t value my skin, and we know you do value his,” he added, alluding to the race of El-P, “but you know what we’re friends and nothing is gonna devalue that.”
Watch the speech below.