Mike Bigga Lets Loose

The Atlanta MC's Pl3dge is an exhilarating, politically charged ride

A lifetime ago, Mike Bigga was mostly known as Big Boi's strip-club-frequenting sidekick. He called himself Killer Mike then, and his biggest moment in the spotlight was snarling, "I lick my blunts and spit/Like she do my dick" on Outkast's "Snappin' and Trappin'." Things are different now. Having spent the past five years doggedly plowing through the independent-rap wilderness, Bigga has emerged as someone else entirely: a titan of Atlanta's hip-hop underground, a proudly independent artist who can pull superstars like T.I., Young Jeezy, and Gucci Mane into his orbit just by virtue of his massive reputation.

In the process, he has also shown himself to be the best kind of rap spokesperson. Bigga, who "went to fuckin' Morehouse, nigga," as he memorably snarled at us on 2006's "That's Life," straddles the middle-class bourgeois and the hard-headed street-rap worlds with effortless, barber-shop-dude aplomb. He can speak his mind on just about anything at this point, without fear that he's letting any of his various constituencies behind. It's the folk-hero balancing act David Banner has been striving to perfect ever since he wrote "Cadillac on 22s"; Bigga makes it look easy as breathing.

Pl3dge, the third volume in his celebrated I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind series, finds him refining this role to moonshine potency. Invective aimed at figures like Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and the police who shot Oscar Grant rubs up against the strip-club songs ("Go Out on the Town") and the fuck-the-club-up songs ("Animal"). But Mike's political rhymes never feel like the homework before recess; instead, they sound like someone who has kicked the town-hall door down and begun screaming what everyone was thinking. Mike is the rare contemporary rapper who grows more powerful and sure-footed the more political he dares to become.

In Mike's hands, the rant is a purification tool, and it has an exhilarating, coruscating power: "In America, the crooks get the castles/Never see a Rothschild or a Rockefeller shackled/While Rockefeller drug laws keep us in the shackle/Eventually, this weed will be as legal as tobacco/By then hope every CEO be a black, tho/Here's a message to the felon: Keep sellin', my brethren," he sneers on "American Dream." In "That's Life II," he unleashes this dizzying torrent: "Mr. Beck, Mr. O'Reilly, Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Hannity/How could you sell white America your insanity?/You tell 'em that they're different and manipulate their vanity/When truthfully financially their lives are a calamity . . . convincin' em that rich Republicans is what they gonna be/So they act like Ronald Reagan and like him, they awful actors/Who look up to the rich like dumb kids look up to rappers."

It's scorched-earth screeds like these that have earned Killer Mike his "modern-day Ice Cube" comparisons, but he's aiming even higher on Pl3dge. "Burn" rides the punishing snare kick of Funkadelic's "You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks," and Mike fills the gaping spaces between the beat with his most calmly focused rage ever, airing out the police, the economy, and the church in a series of short, compressed verses, interspersed with the simple chant "I WILL BURN. THIS MOTHER. FUCKER. DOWN." It's revolution music, and it's easy to close your eyes and imagine the anarchic-uprising montage it could soundtrack.

It would be a disservice to Mike to suggest that he only serves Molotov cocktails, though. "Ric Flair," with its slick soul loop and samples of the titular wrestler screaming maniacally about The Good Life, is a smooth Long Island Iced Tea of NYC braggadocio, while the Gucci Mane–featured, Lex Luger–aping "Animal" provides the PCP-laced Red Bull. Mike is a skilled enough craftsman that all of it works; he does everything well. But he does firebrand better than everyone, and the tracks in which he lets loose are the ones that resonate. Mike's brand of capital-T Truth is in short supply in rap these days, and the world is momentarily a smarter, better place when he speaks his mind.

 
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75 comments
Tierraboo618
Tierraboo618

Mike Bigga been doing his thing for years! People are just now recognizing that he can stand on his own and still go toe to toe with the heavweights. In some cases, he outshines them! You can never put his music in a box because his lyrics are relevant to so many people. He most definately is using that Morehouse education wisely! Much continued success!

Tehancarter
Tehancarter

I played God in the Building 2 for my homeboy and he broke down crying bc verse 2 told his lifestory. Mike Bigga is the truth hands down!!

Ashmorgan Ent
Ashmorgan Ent

Mike makes music for the soul. Every line of every verse is heart felt and thought provoking. His words inspire, uplift, and encourage. He paints pictures and tells stories in ever song. He's consistent & can ride a beat like none other. #SALUTE Cause if ya'll thought real Hip hop was dead Killa Kill just brought it back to life with this album!

J_bras23
J_bras23

Only one word to describe Pl3dge....CLASSIC!

KING_KG
KING_KG

@KING_KG #GTRGBBB been down since the KILLER mixtape...damn that tape was fire...respect

Red Speer
Red Speer

Great writeup. We need more like Mike out here.....

Wally Sparks
Wally Sparks

Mike is one of the best representations of quality Hip-Hop and of manhood. Glad to call him a friend. Anyone who is interested in stepping up to the task of being a responsible adult male should own ALL 3 of the Pledge albums. #GTRGBBB

Pissontrees
Pissontrees

S/o to Michael Render Bka Killer Mike Aka Mike Bigga For Staying positive and influential while maintaining True Grit. Jayson Greene, well written article.......All haters go roll under a rock (WHAT YOU REALLY KNOW ABOUT THE DIRTY SOUTH)

vision101
vision101

Its about time he gets more recognition for the simple fact that more can unite. At the same time let's splash the album on cnn and let america decide if they really want truth. If so then Pl3dge would have us in a better state. We hear about nonsense all day on those news channels and even music channels but Bigga is on a different level so when he speaks, he bring news through his music. And he isn't doing it for no ratings but rather giving people a new vision. GTRGBBB

BigOlAL
BigOlAL

All I'll say is I'm glad the world is FINALLY seein' what we in the A have BEEN knowin'. Since the days Jay Z wanted to sign the cat to Roc A Fella. He is an "Animal". Pun intended!

VRomo333
VRomo333

Jayson Greene is on point with this one. I dont think anyone else could have wrote about Killer Mike any better. If yall dont know, yall need to & better find out Killer Mike is one of the best out there & have been...shit real talk I put him up there wit 2pac & Biggie...he out shines the most in the rap game! Big ups to Killer Mike, one of the hardest & the realest out there!

Adrian8925
Adrian8925

Mike Bigga is the realest mc out, he was sayinbg hiphop was dead years before nas. A brilliant mc, more folks should listen. I pledge allegiance to da grind.

jtilla
jtilla

Killer Mike is the truth. If you haven't heard "That's Life" or "My Chrome", go check that on youtube. Man knows how to spit edutainment and flat-out party ish. I know this album is gonna deliver.

Brunodakid
Brunodakid

Knew dude was real since the red, black and green headband and the Mike Vick Jersey. To take a line from Raekwon, he's speaking the truth to the young black youth. RBG and GTRG hell of a combo right there..

jessica
jessica

Any journalist who says Killer Mike / Mike Bigga's biggest spotlight moment is the verse he did on Snappin' & Trappin' ~ doesn't know jack about the past ten years of Atlanta hip hop.

Abdul_rawls
Abdul_rawls

Bigga or Killa that's always been my Nigga, he had me with Adidas, Bang3 go dumb ass hard.

30
30

It's like at some points on the album.., Kill/Bigga is in my head. Great work!, with greater days ahead, in my opinion. Salute!

NUFACE
NUFACE

In a time where consumers want more from artist as far as substance and still want a great "Street"record Killer Mike aka Mike Bigga comes through and fills those voids effortlessly.I salute his Grind.Im glad conscious thinkers are connecting to the music.-NUFACE

Dqwalk
Dqwalk

Bout time the rest of the world really see what we in THA A, already knew bout my homeboi, it's time for everyone to witness how HIP HOP was intended to be represented!

@MAK912
@MAK912

#Salute to Mike for speaking up and uncovering hidden political truths and agendas in our country. People don't understand that they'll give us a block to fight over, while countries are being fought over! Wake up and see the bigger picture and purpose! - @MAK912

Rayfrdrck
Rayfrdrck

Mike Biggs is modern day hero as a young I strive to have the knowledge he has!

I85ent
I85ent

mike bigga a.k.a Killa Mike is one of the most realest rappers comin outta atlanta and even in the entire game. His story telling lyrics keep u wanting to listen to his music. He has always stuck with his same style of rap which is dat real shit! Never switched his music up to match current music trends such as snap music, swag rappin, & all dat bullshit..Killa Mike real nigga from Adamsville with a educated but raw street flow..don t kno bout these other shrimps but keep keep doin ya thing big bruh! BANGx3 nigga!

efinit
efinit

Mike Bigga's social commentary is very necessary in hip hop. And, the dude is so down to earth: human first, artist second.

Teeluv75
Teeluv75

I have always been a supporter of Mike Bigga, there aren't too many real MC's out there that bring it like he does.

Rtucker27606
Rtucker27606

I keep sleeping on this album. Guess its time to wake up...

ShacoraJa'eL
ShacoraJa'eL

How could you not love this dude!?!? This article makes me want to know even more about the man behind the music. I'm on my way to Amazon now to get my copy. Great article & I'm sure the body of work is awesome! It always has been!!! Substance... I love it!

Motoquik
Motoquik

Killer Mike aka Mike Bigga has always been the realest dude in the streets. Killer will put the facts in yo face like Cube was doing back in the 90's. And that's been since day one. This article really broke it down for the ones that didn't know that thier was still Real Music coming from the A Town. So I suggest you take time out to listen to what Killer has to say you will not be disappointed. So Killer remember that Grand Hustle that was going on in the back of Misty Valley in the 90's keep yo word and just give it to them the Grind Time Rap Gang way.

GoddessCru
GoddessCru

Amen to this review. People are overlooking the unmistakably poignant subject matter and narrowing in on tracks like "Animal". A more scathing and socially aware album remains unseen. Supporter salute to the brother Killer Mike. GTRGBBB!

Peace, Hip Hop & Purple Rain

Yn3elmore
Yn3elmore

@yn3elmore

I remember Killer Mike on the basement with tigga. Big homie really FREESTYLED. Nothing written. He was reading stuff on the wall to prove it. Coolest rappers reside in the south.

@LuckyStarro
@LuckyStarro

Killa Mike has been spitting the truth, glad yall finally catching up..

Tiwaina
Tiwaina

Omg I don't even know where to begin. Every since I got the cd on Tuesday at the first signing at DTLR I've been hooked. It's so amazing i wanna go out and buy copies of the album and just bless people with them cuz it's just that great.....I feel everyone should hear this album. I can't even truly pick on FAV....it's not fair to the other songs. But I do have to say God in the building 2, ric flair, go out on the town, swimming.....and everything (hold you down) just touches me and the 1st few times I heard it...brought me to tears. I'm so proud of my Big Homie. This is just the beginning God is about to do great things in his life. I'm rooting for you Mike! #GTRGBBB

Kevin Tomlinson
Kevin Tomlinson

Wonderful article on Killer Mike! Along with his excellent body of work, Hip-Hop needs Mike to continue to be a spokesperson for the heart & soul of our culture. No matter what your background, from the most hood to the most educated, he speaks to the best in all of us. Hopefully, he continue to gain more success and momentum because he is definitely one of the top 10 most important MCs out today. God-willing, he'll end up one of the most important ever.

Chrome_gentleman
Chrome_gentleman

I don't what is better the album or the review. Well articulated ... both album and review. What I have noticed is the album to me seems more like intelligently emotional! It's kind of like catching a falling star!

your supporter

Danny C. Anderson Jr.

Patti Geiger
Patti Geiger

Killer, or Bigga either way he's Mike. Platinum artist and speaker...Wake up and stop sleeping on the movement.....it's been around for a while

CamBodia
CamBodia

ALBUM IS AMAZING! #THATISALL You can say this and that but records like "That's Life Two" & "Burn" are BIG! The whole album is dope but too make political records and not get caught in the message like some artists do and still produce the record and have it not just musically dope but maintain the message makes the album even crazier!

Abortatron
Abortatron

Mike is that dude. Has been for a minute.

The game needs someone to bring that Social commentary steez without sounding like a pretentious douche bag who just spits shock bars to get attention..

Mike is pulling it off, and I actually think his best stuff is ahead of him.

Carltonwade
Carltonwade

Great album review. On point. Greater album. Definitely one of my favs this year.

TRIXdaBarber
TRIXdaBarber

Great Article on Mike Bigga!! He's been doing his thing for a minute and it shows. Album stays on in my truck! He's a real dude! I had the opportunity to cut his hair recently and I must say.... He's one of the realest people who sat down in my chair. Humbled is an understatement when referring to this man! I wish you much success on this album and future projects to come. PL3DGE

C.R.E.A.M.
C.R.E.A.M.

PL3DGE is dope and motivating as was PLEDGE 2! If "You See It" from 2 and "Follow Your Dreams" on 3 don't motivate you nothing will! Chase it till yo' bones ache!!!

@jtcraig3
@jtcraig3

Killer Mike is one of the best hip-hop artists put there doing it right now; hands down. Of our generation, there is no other "rapper" comitted to touching on social issues, and refusing to conform to the status quo more. He has paid his dues long enough; it is time he is given his rightful reward: The fruits of his labor, and the commercial success he deserves. I not only respect Mike Bigga the artist, but Killer Mike the man as well. - @jtcraig3

Mikebigga
Mikebigga

It does the same thing to me. Salute! Gods Speed!

Mikebigga
Mikebigga

Hey Jes it's killer Mike Here. I was actually very happy he spotlighted that verse and Line from Snapping and Trapping. Most Writers would have pointed out Adidas or the whole world and it usually shows they know little about my whole work. Mr. Greene on the other hand High lighted The actual 1st verse that got my name popping among the Higher Hip hop circles. I appreciate You very much for being ready to get him strait however, in this case he's dead on! SALUTE U Jessica and Mr. Greene!

Mikebigga
Mikebigga

WAKE UP Rtucker I Promise i won't disappoint. #GTRGBBB

 
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