Killer Mike is best known for his music. For the past ten years, he has seen significant success alongside El-P as Run The Jewels. This year, Killer Mike is releasing his new album, Michael, his first solo project in over a decade. We recently looked back at his last solo album, R.A.P. Music, for its 11th anniversary. Though his success can be attributed to his skills as a rapper, Killer Mike has expanded his repertoire. He has ventured outside of music into other businesses.
The Atlanta rapper often emphasizes the importance of Black ownership in his various business ventures. He has appeared as himself in a number of movies and TV shows such as ATL, Baby Driver, and Ozark. Killer Mike also has his own docuseries on Netflix called Trigger Warning with Killer Mike. On the show, he investigates social issues within Black communities.
Killer Mike & Politics
Aside from music and other forms of entertainment, Killer Mike is also very politically active and outspoken, fighting for causes he believes in. He has spoken out against issues of racism and police brutality. Additionally, he has given lectures at various universities, bringing a course on race and hip hop to Morehouse College. Killer Mike also campaigned for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Presidential election, endorsing various other political figures in their elections. Most recently, Killer Mike endorsed Raphael Warnock for Senator in the 2022 election in Georgia.
Killer Mike’s politics and beliefs appear in his lyrics on his solo albums and, most notably, in the Run The Jewels albums. The RTJ4 album in 2020 was a direct response to protests following the death of George Floyd. He was also vocal about the proposed bill to use rap lyrics as evidence in court, teaming up with JAY-Z and many other rappers to block the bill from being passed. Killer Mike’s success as a rapper has allowed him to explore other businesses and help give back to the community that raised him.
Killer Mike's Businesses
Outside of his rap career, Killer Mike has given back to his hometown of Atlanta, starting various businesses and emphasizing the importance of Black ownership and economic empowerment. He also stresses the importance of Black and generational wealth in addition to his activism and social justice work. Here are Killer Mike’s business ventures outside of music.
SWAG Barber Shop
In 2011, Killer Mike and his wife Shana opened a barbershop called the “SWAG” shop, an acronym for “Shave, Wash, and Groom.” In a short documentary, Killer Mike told Noisey that aside from being a rapper, his dream was owning a barbershop. The SWAG Shop has done so well that Killer Mike and his wife expanded their barbershop business into multiple locations in Atlanta. They have shops in Edgewood, Southside, and a barber shop inside the State Farm Arena where the Atlanta Hawks play. At one point, the SWAG Shop was planned to expand into cities outside of Georgia, including Tampa and New Orleans. Aside from cutting hair, Killer Mike’s barber shops have become places for social gatherings for Atlanta residents.
In 2020, Killer Mike’s next business venture was Greenwood Bank, an online bank. The bank's goals are geared towards "Black and Latinx communities and anyone else who wants to support Black-owned businesses.” The digital banking system helps people who have been denied the opportunity to build credit to do so, and it has its own set of benefits. Preceding Greenwood Bank, Killer Mike partnered with Black-owned bank Citizen’s Trust in 2016 and encouraged people to join.
Alongside Ryan Glover and Andrew Young, Killer Mike launched Greenwood Bank and received a high demand from people on the waiting list who wanted to use its services. Following the George Floyd protests, Greenwood Bank grew in popularity. The bank is named after the Greenwood Neighborhood in Tulsa, known as “Black Wall Street” before it was destroyed in 1921. Greenwood Bank has seen much success since its initial launch.
Bankhead Seafood was once a staple restaurant in Atlanta and operated for 50 years before closing its doors in 2018. Alongside fellow Atlanta rapper T.I., Killer Mike’s latest business venture plans to bring back Bankhead Seafood. This time, the restaurant will run on a larger scale. They plan to stick to the restaurant’s original foundations of being a staple for Atlanta residents. Parking will be expanded, as will the size of the actual restaurant. The place will grow in seating capacity and will be a two-story establishment. The food and location will remain the same, but prices will increase. Still, the neighborhood seems to favor the restaurant’s reopening. Bankhead Seafood has yet to reopen as its building has been delayed numerous times but is currently set to open later this year.