Blakheart Broadway and Killer Mike Team Up for Despicable, Appalling and Degrading New Video

Words by Emma Jones and Georgia Bell

Here at Howl & Echoes, we’re big fans of Killer Mike and his baby Run The Jewels. We’ve done interviewreviews and countless news pieces on their epic domination of the hip hop world, from the origin of their iconic symbology, their brilliantly off-kilter project Meow The Jewels and Killer Mike’s unflinching stance on the racial inequality in the United States.

But considering Killer Mike’s usually strong stance on civil liberties issues affecting minorities like African Americans, his latest involvement in confusing to say the least.

The rapper has teamed up with California-based duo Blakheart Broadway to produce Losing Control. The accompanying video is inspired by the 1978 film The Deer Hunter. The resulting product? Disturbing, to say the least…

The poorly shot (perhaps intentional) and choreographed video features the rappers in variety of locations: a bar, a snow covered forest, a darkly lit backroom where men go to… arm wrestle and prove their masculinity?

However, the most concerning part of the video is the women, who are naked except for a giant bunny rabbit mask on their heads, running around the forest being hunted by the men.

Yes. That’s right. Hunted. Naked. IN THE SNOW.

Who thought this was a good idea? Symbolism aside (considering the context, symbolism and metaphors aren’t exactly coming into play here), hunting naked women is problematic on so many levels. It goes without saying that the act of hunting itself is an inherently violent, so replacing animals with women as prey is… completely fucked up. My first initial thought was the actual process of making this clip, with the women standing ready to go in the freezing snow wearing bunny heads whilst the men are rugged up in snow gear. Who the fuck said this was a good idea? Who gave this the go ahead?

For me, a tactic like this instantly draws comparisons to PETA’s infamous ‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur’ campaigns, which have seen a bevy of naked celebs get their kit off for animals rights. The cause is just, but the effect is not. Using the hyper-sexualised images of women’s bodies to promote the cause of animal welfare is demeaning to both parties. It conflates women’s sexuality with animal rights. Even worse in the case of Losing Control, it results in the pornification of women’s bodies with animal abuse. It also legitimises hunting women for sport, propagates rape culture as if women should indeed be treated as prey, reaffirms violence against women as being an okay thing to do and further glorifies the already rampant gun culture prevalent in the United States. 

THEN, just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, the video cuts to a scene where the men are playing Russian Roulette in a display of unbridled hyper-masculinity. The bunny-women are trussed up on the walls in some kind of sick, sado-masochistic fantasy while the men gamble with their lives. The cameras slide up and don the women’s bodies lasciviously and then alas, Killer Mike comes into scene to do his spiel and leave us ever so disappointed in him.

Now, the song in general is pretty bad, so it’s already surprising that Killer Mike would lend his name and his talents to such an atrocity. But the visuals accompanying the track just make it so much worse. And no, for the record, we are not letting the other guys off. Blakheart Broadway, their terrible songs and despicable video clips only came into my life this morning when I saw this song and naturally listened due to Killer Mike’s feature. How wrong I was to think this would actually be good.

For someone who is an outspoken advocate of the racial atrocities committed in American daily, such as Ferguson, it’s a little hypocritical that he appears in a video which demeans, objectifies and sexualises women and reduces them to little more than bait. Why is one human rights abuse more important than the other? How can he be so vocal about race rights in America, then seemingly enjoy being in a video that is LITERALLY HUNTING NAKED WOMEN FOR SPORT. Yes, the clip takes a turn for the worse and sees the bunnies kill their hunter, but they’re still naked, still sexualised and still objectified – all of which are SO not okay.

It makes us sad to see this. For someone who we really admire to be in something that is so offensive and wrong that I felt physically sick watching, it asks more questions than it answers. Does Killer Mike really not see the problem with this? If so, why? How can he seriously be okay with the scenes in the video when he has a wife and children? How can ANYONE not see the deeply ingrained problems here if the answers to these questions are no.

Killer Mike’s involvement in this video raises the question, if you’re on a public platform – how much is expected of you? If Mike is choosing to voice his opinion and use his platform for good in regards to race relations, why is he stopping there? Why is it okay to call out that, but not this? And furthermore, how should Killer Mike fans like us feel after watching this clip – is it just expected that we separate his music or Run The Jewels’ music from this? That it’s okay to like that, but not this? This track isn’t actually his, so it’s okay?

Basically, it’s not okay. It is propagating rape culture at worst with it’s predatory message, as if women are a prize and not, you know, human beings; and it is hyper-sexualised at best. Anyway you look at this video clip, you can probably find something wrong with it. The thing we find most wrong is one of our idols, our champions of free speech who rails against the machine and ingrained societal norms when it comes to African Americans, is pretty okay with women getting their kit off in the snow to be hunted with shotguns. “Art” or not, that’s never okay.

Again, we have to ask ourselves – who the fuck thought this clip was a good idea?