I will never forget Killer Mike screaming “POW MOTHERFUCKER POW” at the crowd to open his set about as dramatically as he could. The powerful down beats of “Big Beast” smashed especially hard live and it was the best way I could have imagined Killer Mike’s set to start. I was immediately jumping up and down and turning up as he spit his rhymes with a look of pure aggression etched across his face. It is an aggressive song and R.A.P. Music is an aggressive album and I had not fully anticipated how forceful and almost punk like the music was going to be live. I jumped around with the best of the crowd though and I knew more lyrics than I thought I would and I tried to scream them as loud as I could pretending sometimes I was at a punk show. The energy he had on stage and created in the crowd was simply incredible and his opening run of R.A.P. Music tracks were amazing. The whole crowd worked up quite a sweat as we all kept our jumping up each time he played another banger.
As people around me kept breathing heavily, the DJ ducked down and re appeared with a Ronald Regan mask on for the obvious track, “Ronald Regan.” Killer Mike, in good performance form acted surprised he had the masked individual behind him and encouraged the crowd to boo. It was a funny little interaction but I was just worried about hearing the song, one of my favorites by Killer Mike.
When he finally took a break, it was as much for the crowd as for him. And as soon as he opened his mouth I realized I was in for quite a treat. Killer Mike is a funny motherfucker. There is no other way to say it, the guy was frank and fresh and held nothing back from what he said. He preached to us, he raged to us and he cried for us. It was the realest performance I had ever seen and it felt incredibly intimate even though we were in a park, in the open air without a roof or walls to in close the emotion that was flowing from the crowd and from Killer Mike himself. He preached to us about change, he preached about stopping violence in Chicago and really just preached about being a better person. He told us that he realized early on in life that even though all of his mentors and people he looked up to looked down on the fact he was a rapper, it was going to be the best way for him to help people by using his famous face to popularize his messages. I never realized Killer Mike was so heartfelt and the longer he talked, the more emotional he got about his life and how much he wanted to help people. Eventually he teard up and I felt the crowd shed a tear as one for this loveable goofball just trying to help the world.
Those old ladies and family that had showed up unbelievably early turned out to be there for Killer Mike and he shouted them out often as the source of his inspiration. I wish I could have seen their faces because I am positive they had nothing but pride etched across their faces looking up at Killer Mike not only doing what he loved but also attempting to try and help the world out along the way. He did get into one sticky situation when he told a story about he and his lady enjoyed smoking weed and going to strip clubs together, which obviously is not the kind of thing he wanted his idols to hear. But he laughed it off and I assume they smiled the whole time because honestly, who can’t smile when Killer Mike is talking.
Killer Mike eventually started playing songs again but I would say almost a 1/6 to 1/5 of his set was dedicated to preaching. When he did finally start playing songs again they were songs from earlier in his career and I had shamefully forgot he had quite the career before R.A.P. Music. He still kept taking breaks to discuss his plans for the world and the longer he talked, the more I realized that first off, this was the most based individual I had ever observed, and second, that I was going to be seeing the actual most based individual within hours and the whole realization of where I was and the fact Lil B was within a mile radius of me began to sink in. Killer Mike was easily one of the best sets of the weekend, but Lil B was next and soon that’s all my thoughts could wrap themselves around.