Netflix’s Trigger Warning with Killer Mike: Provocation and pessimism from the Atlanta rap artist
8 April 2019
Netflix is currently airing Trigger Warning with Killer Mike, a six-part documentary series developed by and starring Atlanta rapper and political activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render (born 1975).
The show consists of episodes in which Render conducts social experiments in a manner that seeks to address particular social problems confronting the population in the United States. His “experiments” tend to range from the sincere but misguided and intentionally “provocative,” on the one hand, to the quite reactionary, on the other.
Render, a Grammy award-winning rap artist and one-half of the successful “independent” hip hop group Run the Jewels (formed with Brooklyn, New York with rapper/producer Jaime “El-P” Meline), is a highly contradictory artistic figure. At his most thoughtful, Render is capable of articulating certain truths about American society in both his music and public statements.
Render’s outspoken criticism of police brutality and militarism (such as his denunciation of Democratic President Barack Obama’s war in Libya in 2012’s “Reagan,” for example) has struck a chord in the current political and artistic environment, winning the artist a devoted following and credibility among his supporters.
Unhappily, Render combines occasional flashes of insight and intellectual courage (and humor) with a tendency merely to shock or resort to juvenile behavior, albeit with something of an anti-establishment “twist.”
In 2016, Render joined the campaign of “socialist” Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Whatever Render’s…