Kemp and Killer Mike try to clear the air after their sitdown sparked uproar

Gov. Brian Kemp greets Atlanta hip-hop star Killer Mike in his ceremonial office. Credit: Kemp's office.

Gov. Brian Kemp and Atlanta rapper Killer Mike tried to dial down the uproar over their meeting with a joint radio appearance that featured the conservative Republican trading compliments with the progressive activist.

Killer Mike, whose legal name is Michael Render, faced scathing criticism from some fans and Democrats after he posted a picture of his sitdown with Kemp on Wednesday in his ceremonial office at the state Capitol.

Both appeared Thursday on Shelley Wynter‘s Word On The Street show on WSB radio to clear the air about their get-together, revealing they discussed Kemp’s efforts to crack down on sex trafficking and Killer Mike’s push to increase minority participation in state contracts.

And Kemp said his administration planned to connect Killer Mike’s team with Georgia’s technical college system to promote a workforce initiative aimed at training more workers for jobs in the construction industry.

“It’s really kind of interesting that some people are upset about us having that conversation. Quite honestly, we need to have more of that in today’s world, in my opinion,” said Kemp, who added that he planned to soon visit the hip-hop star’s barbershop to grab a haircut.

Killer Mike acknowledged the stinging backlash from critics who said the discussion undercut his reputation as an advocate for liberal causes, including some who invoked Kemp’s narrow victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ended her campaign without conceding the race.

Gov. Brian Kemp meets with Atlanta hip-hop star Killer Mike in his ceremonial office. Credit: Kemp's office.

The artist said one reason he chose to meet with Kemp was to serve as a “messenger” for his community and that he left the sitdown feeling there was “no question left unasked.”

“I feel like that was the first meeting of many, and I look forward to sitting down again and gauging our progression, because I want this state to be the most progressive, the most money-making, the most educating, the most wonderful, dynamic state in the union.”

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Here are excerpts from Wynter’s interview:

Killer Mike on why he sat down with the governor:

“More than anything, I’m a Southerner. I’m a Black man. I’ve been raised in a traditionally Democratic city. But my state is pretty conservative, always has been. So as a Southern man, I connected pretty much instantly with him. Politics and policy don’t matter to me as much as human decency and principles, and he seemed to be a principled human being when I talked to him.”

Kemp on his impression of Killer Mike:

“We had a great conversation. It was great to see Mike. I have a real interest in hearing what’s going on in his world, in the community, a lot of things we certainly need to focus on in the state, when you think about human trafficking. We talked a little about the entertainment industry and how tough that is on folks right now, but also workforce development and making sure we put inner-city youth with folks that can help them get trained and get back to work.”

Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp pose for a picture with Atlanta hip-hop star Killer Mike in his ceremonial office. Credit: Kemp's office.

Killer Mike on one of his pitches:

“I told the governor I believe he has a strong chance of being a two-term governor, and if that’s going to be the case, I’d like to see minority contracts rise from 2% to between 8-10%. I’d like to see a program created, as early as high school, pushes in particular working-class poor men and African-American young men into trades.”

Kemp on a collaboration with Killer Mike:

“We’re going to get the technical college system of Georgia into contact with Mike and his team about construction job training programs. We’ve been working with the construction industry – they need people, and we have programs people can do very quickly and get a job right away with good companies.”

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