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Killer Mike talks community, cops, and 'R.A.P. Music'

Choice excerpts from CL's interview with the outspoken Atlanta rapper

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Killer Mike's stunning new album R.A.P. Music drops today (read our feature over here). I recently sat down with the Atlanta-based rapper at Graffiti's Swag Shop, the Southside barber shop he owns with his wife. Mike talked about the new album, working with El-P and the blowback surrounding some controversial comments. Read some choice excerpts below.

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You've been outspoken in your advocacy of black entrepreneurship and community involvement. What does it mean to you to have this shop now?

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Killer Mike: It's like, you can have not a penny in your pocket, you can have on old clothes, but if you get a decent haircut your confidence just goes through the roof. And it's a place where men can just be men. It's hard to find man spots. When I was little I used to go to the barbershop with my grandpa, see him get shaved, and I always loved the atmosphere. I found the shop on Craigslist. I was in New York recording R.A.P. Music, and sight unseen, I bought it. It was a lot wrong with the shop when we came in (laughs). Since then, the old staff left, the new staff came, and they've just been great. I'm into the fact that barbershops provide cash options for young men trying to figure out what they gonna do with their life. My son's 17 years old, he's about to go to barber school while he's prepping for college. I think that trades are important. I'm a college guy, so it's a lot of days I regret I didn't go get a trade. I had to get a bullshit job or two, you know?

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It's interesting to me, because you see a lot of rappers who buy restaurants or clubs and don't seem that invested in it, really. You're obviously really invested in this.

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I'm invested in people for real. At base level, I'm just down with the people. So this is giving me a chance to interact with the people. People come in here, they tell me whether they like my records or they don't. I just like my brothers. It's really no other way to put it. I like brothers. Black men are great people. They have interesting conversations. I just wanted to create an environment that was first-class. And we're growing toward where we wanna be. I'm not gonna be comfortable 'til brothers come in here like, "I gotta come in here weekly, I gotta get swagged up."

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People were talking about that clip of you talking to MTV, where you advocated NRA membership for African-Americans.



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