As tipped here last month after his headlining appearance at SPIN’s South by Southwest showcase in Austin, Tx., acclaimed Atlanta rapper Killer Mike will release his first solo album in more than a decade, MICHAEL, on June 16. A song from it, “Don’t Let the Devil” featuring his Run the Jewels cohort El-P and thankugoodsir, is out today (April 20) in honor of Mike’s 48th birthday.
MICHAEL is the follow up to 2012’s R.A.P. Music and marks his first major solo work since the start of his now decade-long partnership with El-P in Run the Jewels. This explains why he chose “Don’t Let the Devil” is the project’s first proper single, which was produced by No I.D., El-P, and Little Shalimar.
“My favorite group (us) with my favorite producers!,” Mike says of the track, which follows the previous standalone singles “RUN” featuring Young Thung and “Talk’n That Shit!.” “It’s our 10-year anniversary and MICHAEL is an origin story, so I wanted to start with El.”
Although the track list for MICHAEL has yet to be revealed, it is expected to include a number of the new songs Mike performed at the Austin showcase, including “Shed Tears,” which made good use of a gospel choir atop a deep bass-and-drum groove. The aptly named “High + Holy” is a tribute to his wife, who he says encourages him to always search for a higher purpose.
As previously reported, Mike will also be busy in October with Run the Jewels. The duo will mark its 10th anniversary with four-night residences in New York. Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago, during which it will perform each of its four albums in its entirety.
Following his prior work in Netflix’s Ozark, Mike showed off his acting chops again last week on the FX show Dave. Click here to watch SPIN‘s recent conversation with the rapper about free speech, criminal justice reform, and his family history of activism.