Michael Render, also known as Killer Mike of the group Run The Jewels, will be speaking at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) on April 24. The Atlanta rapper will be giving a lecture on race relations in America as a part of the university’s “Hip Hop Speaker” series.
Render has appeared on CNN during the aftermath of the Mike Brown shooting and also made a statement about Darren Wilson not being indicted during one of his live performances. He began speaking about the criminalization of rap lyrics during an interview with HuffPostLive, and later wrote an op-ed on the topic called “Rap Lyrics Are Fiction – But Prosecutors Are Treating Them Like Admissions of Guilt” in which he states:
When it comes to rap, many people fail to recognize the fundamental distinction between artist and art, author and narrator, making it all too easy to assume that gangsta rappers are the criminals they portray in their rhymes.… Unfortunately, in many instances law enforcement really does treat rap like crime. We’ve seen a troubling increase in the number of cases in which prosecutors introduce rap lyrics as evidence of a crime, (mis)representing the lyrics as autobiography or confession in order to secure convictions when other, more traditional forms of evidence are lacking.
Previous lecturers in the series include Young Guru and Lil B.