In her May 22 "Singles File" -- described as "A weekly playlist for the listener with a one-track mind" -- Washington Post music critic Allison Stewart suggested readers might want to download the new single "Reagan" by rap artist Killer Mike.
"The Obama years haven't been fruitful ones for sociopolitically minded rappers, at least until now," Stewart gushed, noting that the Atlanta musician "dusts off some late '80s ghosts on this unblinking and brutal track from his newest [album] 'R.A.P. Music.'" But when you check out the lyrics of the track, and read his May 21 interview with HipHopDX.com, what really becomes clear is Killer Mike's "unblinking" apology for the late terror-sponsoring Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi.
Killer Mike slams Presidents Obama and Reagan for their respective military actions against the Qadhafi regime, explaining that as a "pan-Africanist," he believes Qadhafi benefited his nation economically. From the HipHopDX interview (emphasis mine):
HipHopDX: Let’s kick things off by delving into the most talked-about track on R.A.P. Music, “Reagan.”
Killer Mike: “Reagan,” I knew it. Why do you people only like me angry? [Laughs]
DX: [Laughs] “Ronald Reagan was a actor, not at all a factor / Just an employee of the country’s real masters / Just like the Bush’s, Clinton and Obama / Just another talking-head telling lies on teleprompters / If you don’t believe the theory, then argue with this logic: Why did Reagan and Obama both go after Gadhafi?” Was the Gaddafi connection the only thing that led you to tie Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama together or are there other areas where you see a comparison?
Killer Mike: I didn’t tie Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama together; Barack Obama tied him and Ronald Reagan together. Barack Obama compares himself to Reagan.
In fact, everybody running for President this year, with the exception of Ron Paul, has compared themselves to Ronald Reagan. And I can’t even be a 100% on the Ron Paul thing, because he may have done it before too.
So that’s not me [comparing Obama to Reagan], that’s just me saying “I agree.” [Laughs]
DX: The Gadhafi connection, can you elaborate a little bit on what you were saying there about them both going after Gaddafi?
Killer Mike: Both times we went after Gadhafi in a very illegal way. [In 1986] Ronald Reagan killed his adopted daughter with a bombing. That is – first of all, let’s admit to something, Libya is a sovereign nation. That’s just what it is, it’s a sovereign nation. To go into a sovereign nation, or endorse or back going in to assassinate the leader of a sovereign nation, is wrong. It’s reprehensible.
Now, as an American on some level I benefit from that so I’m not gonna trip. But, as a Pan-Africanist, as a truth-teller, I have to say it’s wrong, because it is. Gadhafi – speaking from the Black experience, from an African-American male and a person who’s a member of the African Diaspora - was an African leader that had been good to his country, financially. He was an African leader that had been good to other African countries. He was a leader that supported dual citizenship for African-Americans. He was a leader that was willing to have a United States of Africa, in which all of the resources of Africa would be for Africans. He wanted to change the monetary system from accepting U.S. dollars to gold for Libyan oil and the next thing you know we were killing him.
Despite all his bluster about Obama, Killer Mike also made clear in the same interview that he considers any African-American voter who votes against Obama's reelection to be a "race traitor," although he believes staying at home and not voting would be an acceptable protest of Obama not being radical enough (emphasis mine):
DX: I don’t wanna stay harping on you calling out Obama but I just have to ask, what happened to the guy who was declaring it an act of racial treason to vote for anybody other than Obama on “Pressure”? [“Ask your Uncle Thomas how he choose master over Obama.”]
Killer Mike: Oh, if you don’t vote for Obama this time you’re a fuckin’ race traitor.
That’s what happened to that guy. He’s still there. [But] I am able to see things in a duality. I just told you that as a Pan-Africanist we took a great loss in losing Gadhafi. [But] as an American, my gas is always gonna be below $5 [and that benefits me]. And no one is gonna be able to get a foothold on North African and East African oil because America now has bases in Libya, the Eastern coast of Africa – under the guise of keeping it protected from pirates – and we’re in friendly countries like Saudi Arabia. I understand strategically what’s going on and I don’t object to that.
As an African-American male, and an African-American father, I understand the importance of imagery in the African-American community. … My people are a people of imagery. It’s almost like Joseph Campbell and his analogies in terms of human beings needing a God in The Masks of God. Where you need a hero, you need God, you need villains. African-Americans have these needs, and I understand our mentality. We have the mentality of wanting to see our goodness on a stage. And Barack Obama represents that, in terms of an African-American man that carries himself in a dignified way, as an African-American man that doesn’t appear quote-unquote to be a sellout in terms of culturally who he is. He’s married to a beautiful Black woman. He has some beautiful Black kids. Eat that Black food, say that Black shit, I need that President because I need my sons and my daughters to understand there’s no limitations on where we can go. So as an African-American dad I need that.
Now, as an African-American business owner, and as an African-American citizen of these United States, he has supported some shit that doesn’t benefit me, and I have to then address him like I would the 43 other guys that were in front of him, that weren’t a member of the African-American male fraternity. I have to judge him on those standards.
So I still think if you don’t vote for Barack Obama and you’re an African-American, especially an African-American man, you’re a fool. Because, his image can help you, in your household, it can help you in the real world and you can profit from it. [But] I’m saying that you also should be demanding of him an African-American jobs program by saying we’re not gonna go vote. If you don’t do something that is a jobs program immediately in this country we’re not gonna fuckin’ vote. We also should be doing that, but we should be voting for him.
So it’s not like I jumped off the Obama bandwagon. I’m still firmly on the train in the first class. But, I am still saying if you don’t have ice for my fuckin’ Coca-Cola, I’m fin to nut up. And by “nut up” I mean I will threaten to not vote for you.