Killer Mike Calls His Grammys Arrest a ‘Speed Bump’

Hours after he was released from police custody in Los Angeles after police said he was involved in a physical altercation on Grammys night, the rapper Killer Mike said in a radio interview Monday morning that the arrest was a mere blip in a triumphant night when he won three Grammys.

“We hit a speed bump and then we head back to the party, man,” the rapper told the hosts of the Atlanta-based Big Tigger Morning Show, saying that he had just left his final party in Los Angeles following the awards show.

On Sunday night, his “Michael” won best rap album and one of its songs, “Scientists & Engineers,” took the awards for best rap song and best rap performance. The nominees he was up against included some of the most popular and lauded rappers of the moment, including Drake, Travis Scott, Doja Cat and Nicki Minaj. A prolific rapper who won his first Grammy in 2003 for his collaboration with Outkast on the song “The Whole World,” these were Killer Mike’s first Grammys as a solo artist.

Details about the arrest remained unclear on Sunday. The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement that he was booked on a charge of misdemeanor battery and released after an altercation at Arena, the site of the awards ceremony, but declined to elaborate; he has a court date scheduled for the end of February. A representative for the rapper, born Michael Render, did not respond to requests for comment, and the Grammys directed questions to the police.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that, while detained on Sunday night, Killer Mike sent a text saying that “overzealous security” was to blame for the encounter.

The rapper has a nuanced relationship with policing: He has criticized law enforcement in the past, rapping about police violence and advocating for systemic changes to policing. He has also defended the police at times, standing alongside the Atlanta mayor and police chief at a news conference in 2020, identifying himself as the son of an Atlanta police officer as he urged protesters “not to burn your own house down” when demonstrations escalated in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

On Monday, the radio interviewers repeatedly tried to get Killer Mike to address the dramatic moment, captured on video, in which he was led through the arena in handcuffs, not long after he was onstage celebrating his wins for his album “Michael,” his first solo album in more than a decade.

Asked by the show’s host, Darian Morgan, about the incident, the rapper sidestepped what became one of the most talked-about moments of the Grammys on Sunday.

“We partied all night,” the rapper responded. “Ain’t nothing had happened, man. But we winners. That’s it.”

Morgan pressed him for details, laughing as Killer Mike recounted the night as if nothing particularly consequential had happened. “I saw you leave and then I heard you came back,” Morgan prodded, leading Killer Mike to gently change the subject. “Didn’t I look good? I was fresh.”

Then, the show’s co-host, Jazzy McBee, made another attempt, asking if he felt that the arrest had overshadowed his big Grammys night.

“We gone get back to the real question: How did he do it?” the rapper said. “Three Grammys, 30 years in the game, 48 years old. Beat out everybody in the thing, man. He beat the best of the best.”

Ben Sisario contributed reporting.

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