June 14, 2013


Killer Mike Lampoons NSA Spying During Bonnaroo Set

Ariel LeBeau for Fuse
Ariel LeBeau for Fuse

Given Killer Mike's outspoken, unabashed approach to politics—he chants "I'm glad Reagan's dead" on one R.A.P. Music track and told SXSW "there is a warm place in my heart" for cop-killer Christopher Dorner—it was inevitable he'd touch on the recent government spying controversy during his Bonnaroo 2013 set. But what was surprising was how effing funny he'd be while laying into the National Security Agency and its boundary-free approach to privacy.

"This week class, we learned the government is listening to us all," the Atlanta rapper intoned in a faux schoolmarm voice. The crowd—an all-ages bunch that stuck around until his 12:30am start time—booed its disapproval for the systemized privacy invasion. Mike smiled triumphantly, and for good reason: He's been saying this kind of stuff for years. He's gotta be happy the rest of the country is catching up to him on this one.

"You and the homeboys are not the only ones watching porn of you and your girlfriend," Mike said, putting the NSA controversy in a light that you're unlikely to glean from a Hardball debate.

Fortunately, the rabble-rousing rapper has a novel solution to our country's legal and moral conundrum: Synchronized drug use. "If they're watching us all, they can't arrest us all for doing drugs at the same time," Mike shouted as the Tennessee festival crowd—nearly all of them already buzzing on something by that late hour—roared their approval.

Killer Mike immediately launched into "Reagan," his vitriolic diatribe against the primarily beloved late president. It was a perfect selection. The penultimate lyric, "If I say any more / They might be at my door," no longer sounds like the slightly grandiose paranoia of a conspiracy theorist, but rather a sadly appropriate and prescient critique of our system.