Monday night, prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced a grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Minutes later, El-P and Killer Mike, the two MCs who make up acclaimed hip-hop duo Run the Jewels, took the stage to perform at a club just outside St. Louis. It was about as close as one could be to Ferguson that night without being affected by the chaos of the protests.
But rapper Killer Mike wasn't just there to make music. He was there to make a speech — one of the most potent, gripping speeches anyone has made about civil rights this year.
"It's about poverty, it's about greed, and it's about a war machine," he said. "It's us against the motherfucking machine."
This isn't the first time Killer Mike has spoken on Ferguson, but it is the most powerful. He has been one of the most articulate and valued voices in the conversation since its beginning. His Instagram post after the news broke cut to the core of the issue — a mother's son was killed, a family was destroyed. He continued his exploration in a brilliantly conceived Billboard op-ed. And his interview on CNN is still one of the most insightful breakdowns of the feelings and forces involved in the conflict.
His speech at the Run The Jewels show Monday night was no different. These are the most powerful quotes:
"I would like to give all thoughts and prayers to the people who are out there peacefully protesting. I also give thoughts and prayers for the people who could not hold their anger in because riots are only the language of the unheard."