Sasquatch Artist Of The Month: Killer Mike

killer mike

Over the coming months, we’ll be highlighting a series of artists performing at Sasquatch Music Festival 2013 between May 24-27 at The Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, Washington. Instead of a typical overview/introduction to each act, we’ll attempt to highlight what and how they’ll enhance the always wonderful Sasquatch experience. If you missed the initial lineup announcement, you can catch it here!

The Gorge has never been an especially great place to see hip hop, in part because of the Pacific Northwest’s general antipathy towards non-caucasian forms of the genre. That’s not to say that the residents of the Northwest’s urban locales don’t listen to non-white rappers, it’s just that, for the most part, they’d prefer someone, let’s say, a little less challenging. Coming straight out of Atlanta, GA, Killer Mike is the definition of challenging. A long time Dungeon Family (Outkast, Goodie Mobb, Organized Noize, etc. for the uninitiated) affiliate, the man born Michael Render has been challenging what it means to be both a Southern rapper and a “conscious” rapper for the better part of the past decade-plus. A critical darling in some circles, it wasn’t until this past year’s R.A.P. Music LP, entirely produced by El-P, that he became a wide-spread critical darling.

Stream: Killer Mike – “Reagan”

Last week, I was lucky enough to catch Mike at Paid Dues Festival and his performance stood out in stacked day that included performances from Black Hipppy, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib and Mobb Deep. Whether showing off his powerful, stark flow or going on an anti-Reagan screed, Mike owned the stage and managed to flip some controversial/heavy subject matter into an engrossing stage performance. If you’ve witnessed “political” hip hop on stage, you know that an overly passionate (*cough* Immortal Technique *cough*) performer can make the audience rather uncomfortable. Killer Mike manages to put forth thought provoking, anti-establishment ideals without making the audience uncomfortable, which is far easier said than done. I doubt that Mike will have a prime time slot on the lineup, but I promise you that his show will be one of the most powerful, long lasting performances of Memorial Day weekend.

Stream: Killer Mike – “Swimming” (Prod. Flying Lotus)

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