AOTY 2020
Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music
Critic Score
Based on 24 reviews
2012 Ratings: #13 / 1032
Year End Rank: #13
User Score
Based on 430 ratings
2012 Ratings: #16
Liked by 6 people
May 15, 2012 / Release Date
LP / Format
Williams Street / Label
Hip Hop / Genres
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R.A.P. Music has redefined what exactly we should expect hip-hop to be and defies regional categorizations. Not only is it essential listening for hip-hop in 2012, but also one of the few records that pushes musical and cultural boundaries in general.

Pretty Much Amazing

Killer Mike's masterful R.A.P. Music is about questioning the genre's boundaries, pouring this unlabeled chemical into that one, and watching shit explode.

Consequence of Sound

Erudite without being overwrought and passionate without being dogmatic, what we’ve got here may be the best rap album of the year – at least, so far.


Biographical shock value aside, R.A.P. Music provides enough jaw drops on its own merits that it’s sure to be a record that comes to define 2010s hip-hop in some way.


R.A.P. Music, the sixth album by from Atlanta firebrand Killer Mike, is a stunning anachronism.


With El-P as its catalyst, R.A.P. Music puts Mike on display has he doles out unheard levels of indignation, fury, and passion.


R.A.P. Music is ambitious and incisive and frustrated and angry and serious. But it’s also charged with a vital energy, with the life of music that is — beyond all these heavy ideas — exciting to listen to.

Beats Per Minute

The resulting album is one that is deceptively simple, a send-up to the aggressive cultural awareness of old-school rap on the surface, filtered through a hundred different post-apocalyptic scenarios, musical and lyrical.


R.A.P. Music is a synthesis of the confusion and rancid despair pervading every vacated storefront and foreclosed home in every corner of today’s economically bleeding America.


Limiting himself to one producer, legends-only guest spots, and a real sense that he'd better make this one count, Killer Mike rises to the occasion.

The 405

With R.A.P. Music, Killer Mike has made his play for not just the best rap album of 2012, but for the best of recent memory.

It’s the kind of rebellious rap that was once so prominent in the genre, marginalized over the years by noughties economic prosperity and Hip-Hop’s increased commercialism.
A.V. Club

It certainly feels like the culmination of his unusual career. 

Drowned in Sound

This is jazz, this is funk, this is soul, this is gospel… but most importantly, R.A.P. Music is rap music, as fresh as it comes.


While R.A.P. Music is filled with all the heartbreak, pain, anger, and earnestness praised above, it's also an incredibly fly and fun record, filled with that prime MC/producer chemistry while striking that perfect balance of persuasive and powerful. Revolutionary stuff and absolutely no fluff, R.A.P. Music is outstanding.

Killer Mike's ability to rap with a purpose while remaining tactful and balanced within his content is an engaging quality of his music, and the pairing with El-P serves his sound well.
The Needle Drop
On this album-length collaboration, MC Killer Mike and producer El-P manage to complement one another perfectly any major changes in their respective approaches to hip hop.
FACT Magazine

What Killer Mike should be praised for here is making an album that’s shorn of any extraneous nonsense and simply goes hard – regardless of the style he does it in.


The ambition is to be applauded, but half the album’s a grind. And not the good kind. 


Happy birthday R.A.P. Music!
Birth the Jewels. They made such a great team here, how could they not have formed the most dynamic duo in hip-hop this decade? Mike really deserved the breakthrough as he had been toiling away for years with limited success (not even OutKast guest spots could do it). Everything is really top-notch on here from the features, production, and lyrics. It makes it hard to find a weak point really. The Southern Fried hook gets a little annoying, maybe?
what an album!
An alright rap album that gave us a glimpse of Mikes excellent future in Run The Jewels.

Best Track: Willie Burke Sherwood
Worst Track: Big Beast
This is the album that Killer Mike has been building up to. Mike on the mic (pun intended) and El-P's production find both of them in top form. Killer Mike's visceral political commentary (coming in the form of gritty storytelling) paired with El-P's larger-than-life, grand bangers is a match made in Rap Heaven. It does get off on a rough foot after the opening track, but I still appreciate this album as an amazing step up in quality from Killer Mike’s previous material and a setup for ... read more
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Contributions By
Greg Fisher, patton, erik, philthy, domvic
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Track List

  1. Big Beast (Feat. Bun B, T.I. & Trouble) 
  2. Untitled (Feat. Scar) 
  3. Go! 
  4. Southern Fried 
  5. JoJo's Chillin 
  6. Reagan 
  7. Don't Die 
  8. Ghetto Gospel 
  9. Butane (Champion's Anthem) (Feat. El-P)
  10. Anywhere But Here (Feat. Emily Panic) 
  11. Willie Burke Sherwood 
  12. R.A.P. Music
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Added on: April 8, 2012