USF celebrates MLK legacy with lecture from Run the Jewels rapper Killer Mike

Published Jan. 20, 2016

TAMPA — Michael Render, a.k.a. Killer Mike, is known for, as he puts it, "killing the microphone." On Wednesday, the politically engaged rapper will rock a different kind of mic: He'll be the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Week speaker at the University of South Florida.

Render will speak at the Marshall Student Center's Oval Theater at 4103 USF Cedar Circle on the Tampa campus. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and his lecture is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. The event is open to the public, but students get priority in seating. His speech will be the signature event in the university's weeklong commemoration of King's life and legacy.

Render is well-known for his activism on social equality and systemic racism. Recently he participated in a panel discussion about King led by Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

During the talk, which was streamed live Sunday, Render said he's been mentored by several people who worked closely with King. He said his grandmother organized and marched with King, and Render started working as an activist himself at the age of 15 in Atlanta.

Render, a Sanders supporter, also produced a six-part series of videos posted to Youtube last month where he interviewed the presidential hopeful about the economy, social justice and health care.

Now 40, Render has been featured on OutKast albums and appeared on their Grammy-winning song The Whole World. In 2013, he collaborated with rapper-producer El-P to form the supergroup Run the Jewels, which released an album of the same name.

Killer Mike's last visit to Tampa was as a performer last year when Run the Jewels performed at May's Big Guava Music Festival at the Florida State Fairgrounds.