ATLANTA — They arrived together late Monday afternoon at the Busy Bee, a soul food restaurant here, looking like quite the odd couple: Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator seeking the presidency, and Killer Mike, the famous rapper who towered over him.
They slid into a corner booth together, ordered some chicken at Killer Mike’s suggestion, and proceeded to discuss family, the shortcomings of the media and their mutual appreciation for the work of the philosopher Noam Chomsky, among other things.
“It was just a conversation between two angry radical guys, one 74 and white, one 40 and black, finding common ground,” said Atlanta-native Michael Render, a.k.a. Killer Mike, part of the duo Run the Jewels, a social commentator and an aspiring politician himself.
Chatting with reporters a couple of hours later, as he described his rapping, Killer Mike said: “I’m proud, I’m passionate, and I have a flair for using curse words.”
He brought the same spirit — minus the curse words — to the stage of the famous Fox Theatre here, where he introduced Sanders to an overflow crowd of more than 5,000 people as “the next president of the United States.”
“In my heart of hearts, I truly believe that Senator Bernie Sanders is the right man to lead this country,” Killer Mike told the audience, adding: “I have no desire to see us elect our own Margaret Thatcher.”
Speaking to reporters earlier, Killer Mike was even more effusive about Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, saying “if you line up his political campaign next to the words of Jesus H. Christ, it lines up, it lines up.”
Killer Mike said he is willing to do whatever it takes to help Sanders secure the Democratic nomination and argued that it is a “travesty” that he is not better known yet in the African-American community — a big advantage enjoyed by front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Sanders’s bromance with Killer Mike — whom he called “quite a rapper” — was among several signs of his efforts to reach out to black voters in recent days. Sanders’s rally here Monday night capped off a four-day swing through South Carolina and Georgia, two states where black voters will comprise a large segment of the primary electorate.
Earlier Monday, Sanders made a trip to the King Center here, where he met with Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., and toured the civil right leader’s crypt.
Sanders told reporters afterward that King had been “an inspiration to me for my entire life.” He devoted the first segment of his remarks at the Fox Theatre to King’s legacy, saying “he kept his eyes on the prize.”