Mike won three awards — Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance — at the awards show on Sunday (February 4), but the celebrations were bittersweet due to him being taken away in handcuffs and booked on a misdemeanor battery charge.
The Run The Jewels rapper reportedly got into a confrontation with a female security guard at the ceremony, but there are conflicting accounts on what exactly led to his arrest.
Discussing the incident in an interview with the Atlanta radio station Hot 107.9, T.I. decried his former Grand Hustle signee’s brush with the law and said it typifies the struggles that Black men have faced in the U.S.
“It was an atrocity,” Tip said. “To be honest with you, Killer Mike going and sweeping the Grammys, winning three Grammys and then getting arrested and going to jail at the same event in the same venue, is the story of the Black man in America.
“You can’t really celebrate success. You can’t really reap the benefits, enjoy the fruits of your labor, because there’s always somebody who tryna bring you back to the reality of a Black man in America, ya dig?”
He continued: “[Rap] Album of the Year, that’s hard. Congratulations, man. You know, even though, what does a Grammy mean, for real? What is it worth if you can’t even enjoy the night and celebrate without getting arrested?
“What is the true value? I’m asking the question, like for real. Why should we really aim for that when we go to jail in the same building we get the Grammy. I mean, how valuable is it?”
T.I. went on to joke about the time he was arrested for attempting to illegally purchase firearms hours before he was scheduled to perform at the BET Hip Hop Awards in 2007.
“And plus, I’ma tell you, and I done already said it to Killer Mike, he’s infringing on my intellectual property,” he said.
“He can win as many Grammys as he want, but I’m the only one going to jail at award shows! I don’t know what he thinking! That is the most T.I. thing he could have possibly did!”
Watch the discussion at the 5:08 mark below.
Killer Mike has since issued a statement about winning three Grammys and his subsequent arrest, saying he’s confident that he will be “cleared of all wrongdoing.”
“I first want to extend my appreciation to the Grammy’s Committee for recognizing me and my team for the work that went into MICHAEL,” he began. “We are incredibly proud and are basking in this moment.
“I am also grateful that one of my prayers has been answered – the day after my Grammy win – I learned that my son, who has been on the list for a kidney for years, finally has a match. Obviously, we are elated.”
He continued: “I do want to note that last night, my team and I fielded a number of calls from concerned fans and colleagues wanting to know if I was OK. I greatly appreciate the concern and support, but I am better than OK.
“As you can imagine, there was a lot going and there was some confusion around which door my team and I should enter. We experienced an over-zealous security guard but my team and I have the upmost confidence that I will ultimately be cleared of all wrongdoing.”
He added: “Until that time, keep listening to Michael, and keep going after your dreams.”