Today in Hip-Hop History: Happy Birthday Killer Mike!

A long time ago, in Atlanta, Georgia far far away, a baby was born from the womb in a marijuana cloud. This baby was dubbed Michael Render and would go on to become one of hip-hops most socio-politically in-touch MCs: Killer Mike. His career as a rapper and the man we know him as today began in 1995 while he was attending Morehouse College, an all-male liberal arts college in his hometown of Atlanta. It was there that he met Big Boi and since then, everything changed.

Killer Mike first made his debut on the song “Snappin’ and Trappin'” on Outkast’s album Stankonia, and eventually won a Grammy with the group for their 2001 single “The Whole World.” He would appear as a feature on other notable tracks, including “Poppin’ Tags” from The Blueprint 2. After an incredible start that made it seem as if Killer Mike was destined for greatness, he released his first solo project, Monster, in 2003 which includes “A.D.I.D.A.S.” remaining as his highest charting single as a lead artist.

After a couple more notable guest features and some dispute over his second album, Mike released Ghetto Extraordinary as a mixtape to avoid any further delays. He then started his I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind series and eventually R.A.P. Music in 2012, which was produced entirely by El-P. After touring together to promote both their albums (El-P’s being Cancer 4 Cure), the two decided to form the group Run the Jewels. Since then, the group has released two self-titled albums for free with a third entitled Meow the Jewels, a clone of the second album but entirely produced with cat sounds. Their third album is planned to release sometime this year.

Perhaps more impressive than his music is Killer Mike’s activism. An outspoken protestor against systematic racism, police brutality, and an advocate for racial equality, Mike has been able to incorporate his views into his music as well as speak eloquently on said subjects. Recently, Mike has also become an avid supporter of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who recently introduced Run the Jewels during the first weekend of Coachella. Killer Mike is truly an exemplary human being and the world, both hip-hop wise and on a broader scale, certainly wouldn’t be the same without him. Happy birthday Killer Mike, and as you tweet every day at 4:20 PM, happy 4/20.