Shannon Stewart for Fuse

During his knockout set at SXSW late Thursday night, Killer Mike dropped some major news on his exuberant fans. He and El-P—the rapper who produced his last album, the outstanding R.A.P. Music—are halfway finished with a brand new joint album that will drop this year.

"I can confirm our joint album is half done," the ATL rapper revealed at Austin's Bar 96. "I'm headed to New York on Monday to finish the album." FYI, he's also playing Late Show With David Letterman on Monday, which he advised fans to watch under the influence of certain recreational smokes.

Live shots of Killer Mike and more are in our daily SXSW gallery

Given how remarkable R.A.P. Music was—the transcendent title track was one of the best rap songs of 2012—this is great news for hip hop heads. And luckily, we won't have to wait too long for it to drop. Mike offered a tentative release time for the album while on stage, telling fans it should drop two weeks after his upcoming tour with Big Boi wraps. That puts it coming out around July 2. Nice!

The only thing holding up the process, actually, is how much he's enjoying SXSW. Mike said El-P "is mad at me right now" because he hasn't got around to listening to the new beats his producer-partner sent him. The reason? "There's too many girls and drugs down here," Mike said, laughing.

Album news aside, the outspoken rapper also offered his take on Christopher Dorner, the former LAPD cop who killed two police officers earlier this year, setting off an enormous manhunt that eventually ended with his death. "Now he was crazy, I'll give you that," Mike told the crowd. "But when I remember getting my ass kicked by cops when I was younger, I gotta say I have a warm place in my heart for that crazy motherf-cker."

That comment elicited everything from cringes to smiles to quizzical stares from the audience, which was made up of devoted fans who clearly love Mike even if his more controversial statements give them pause. But as the iconoclastic MC told his fans later during the show, "I'm not just here to make you smile. I'm here to make you think."