Killer Mike gives us the scoop on his new show ‘Trigger Warning’

The Run The Jewels rapper and activist takes his message to Netflix -- and loudly gets his point across

He told y’all suckahs, and you still didn’t believe him — so now Michael Render, a.k.a Killer Mike, is taking his message to new heights in the form of his Netflix series, Trigger Warning with Killer Mike.

Dropping this Friday (January 18), the six-episode maiden voyage explores the willful dismantling of cultural taboos from an unfiltered, tongue-in-cheek perspective. The way the Grammy-award winning rapper and one-half of Run The Jewels sees it, the show is about a lot of things. It’s about ‘what if’ and ‘why not.’ It’s about the ability to say ‘what if it was this way and not that way,’ and when someone says ‘it won’t work that way,’ then it’s about figuring out why it won’t.

“[The show] is about an anarchist having control of the status quo. It’s about not being judged because you’re a gang member, and how you can participate in capitalism and use your street fraternity affiliation to your advantage,” Killer Mike tells Vanyaland by phone this week. “It means that you do whatever it takes to help people understand the importance of education paths, education that only deals with reading, writing, and arithmetic, or education that teaches you to fix, repair and take care of oneself. For me, ‘Trigger Warning’ challenges the status quo, and it brings people who are unlikely to be together, together.”

While he will be grappling with current hot social and cultural topics (as well as marketing campaign for Crip-a-Cola, an entrepreneurial endeavor with the notorious gang), this isn’t a new idea for him. In fact, this has been a labor of love for the better part of a decade, where he and co-creator, and longtime friend, Daniel Weidenfeld have tried to sell the show a few different ways over the years, and have now finally gotten it right.

“We’ve been trying this in different versions, whether it be a skit here and there, or a demo show, and then we finally figured it out, got it right, and Netflix agreed to carry it,” says the Atlanta native. “Hopefully this is the first season of many to come in which we’ll push cultural taboos and help to progress social thinking in this country and beyond.”

Although this film project is a new venture for Killer Mike, the idea of using satire to get a point across in his art is something he is very familiar with. While it is separate from his music career, he acknowledges that there are a few parallels in his creative approach to both mediums.

“There’s really a lot of dark, satirical comedy in Run The Jewels,” he admits. “El-P raps about shooting a stuffed bunny, and I rap about smoking woolies with Snoopy, and I don’t think Snoopy actually ever smoked cocaine-laced joints… People who really know Michael beyond Killer Mike, they see me on the screen, and they see one half of Run The Jewels in his full character, and not just the one people are comfortable with.”

As the premiere inches closer, Killer Mike is confident in what the show can accomplish, but he also admits that he is still a “nervous entertainer” who is “sensitive about his shit,” and hopes that the reactions from viewers are genuine and solid, regardless of whether they like it or not.

“I’m looking forward to people’s reactions to the show,” he says. “I’m a nervous entertainer, and an artist who is sensitive about his shit. I want everyone to get it. You can love or hate it, but I want people to get it, and I want people to feel passionately about whether they love it or hate it. I don’t want people to be indifferent about it. If you love it, then love it, and if you hate it, then hate it. I don’t want you think it’s ‘kind of cool’ and average, I want it to be something extraordinary.”

Featured image by Dan Medhurst.