- Read more: Run The Jewels: “The world’s gonna reset and then we’re gonna burn that motherfucker down”
The protests began after George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, when officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring Floyd repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe.
Speaking to NME for this week’s Big Read cover story, Mike said the global protests had made him optimistic for the future. “Instead of the audience just looking like me, because it’s a Black issue, it’s a combination of all people, races and ethnicities coming out,” he explained.
“I’m optimistic about the opportunity to organise, even though I’m not optimistic about government or world leaders. I’m not optimistic about times led by oligarchs, but I am totally optimistic because of what I’ve seen from people in the American streets and globally over the last 60 days.”
The rapper added that he was able to have that hope because he is “an organiser first”. “I was an organise before I was a rapper, and I’m a mobiliser now that I am a rapper, helping people get the resources, funds and attention they need to do what to me is the Lord’s work.”
Run The Jewels released their new album ‘RTJ4’ at the height of the protests, with it becoming a soundtrack to the movement. Speaking about the record’s unintentionally timely arrival, Mike said: “I’m happy that this time we landed right on time so our music can be the soundtrack to progress – and that’s what it feels like.
Upon its release in June, NME gave ‘RTJ4’ five stars, calling it “Mike and El-P’s best work to date”. “‘Run The Jewels 4’ couldn’t be more appropriate for the times we’re living in,” the review read.