Killer Mike – “Reagan” (Official Music Video)

Originally published: Pitchfork Youtube Channel review on October 3, 2020 by Jayson Greene (more by Pitchfork Youtube Channel review) (Posted May 24, 2020)

Ronald Reagan’s presence looms so large in gangsta rap, and casts such complicated shadows, that to invoke his name in a rap song is to summon an entire worldview and refer to a constellation of injustices in two syllables. Killer Mike uses Reagan’s name, smack in the center of his career-defining new album R.A.P. Music, as an artful metaphor for perpetuation of injustice. In “Reagan,” Ronald Reagan is less a person than a tendency, to be stamped out wherever it is found, even within rap itself: “We should be indicted/For bullshit we inciting/Hand the children death and pretend that its exciting/We are advertisements for agony and pain/We exploit the youth, we tell them to join a gang/We tell them dope stories, introduce them to the game/Just like Oliver North introduced us to cocaine/In the 80s when them bricks came on military planes.” Like all of his best work, it has the sweeping clarity of a dissertation, the galvanizing fire of a sermon, and the forcefulness of a hurled brick. This time, though, there is another quality present: the cleansing power of a confession.