In Three Words: Witty, Eccentric, Absurd
There's rarely a show that is bats**t crazy in it's content but at the same time really, really necessary. I honestly didn't know what to expect coming into this. Killer Mike as a person is fascinating from all angles. He's had a long career of bubbling under in the Dirty South rap circuit. It wasn't until Run The Jewels that he became a genuine force in Hip-Hop.
But that's probably the least interesting thing about Killer Mike. He's an activist, publicly supported Bernie Sanders in the US Presidential Election, gun & weed advocate. I'm just scratching the surface but all this and more are highlighted in the show.
There is a reason that Killer Mike has his name on the title. Along with him, co-creators Vernon Chatman, Daniel Weidenfeld, Nick Weidenfeld and director Vikram Gandhi. They sought out to create a show that took Killer Mike's wild (but at the same time, somewhat logical) ideas and bring them to life.
Think of this show as a social experiment, with the surreal feel of "Atlanta". Throughout my entire experience of watching this show, there were moments where I was genuinely wondering if this was 100% happening. You know where you watch some documentaries and you just can't quite convince yourself that this is on the up and up? Yea, you'll get that feeling a lot watching this.
Let's get into the episodes themselves. The first episode was all about the "Black Dollar". This hints to how practically impossible it is to spend your money on produce & services by black people. Where other races can spend days, even weeks keeping their money in their race, for black people, it's only 6 hours. That blew my mind. It was great comedic timing by Mike as well, saying 6 and then pausing before he said hours.
So with the challenge set, three whole days eating food from black shops & farms, taking black-made or owned transport and trying to find black-grown weed, it was clear from the jump that this would be depressingly funny. This episode was the simplest of the series. A nice ease into the mind of Killer Mike. It was after this episode that the show went truly off the deep end. In a good way...
How f'd up are we as a modern day people, that we can take a test on trade skills, do terribly, then watch a "Educational Porn" video, (NOT a typo) take another test and do better?! What kind of crazy ish is that?! Episode 1 was light, episode 2 just dived right into the straight absurd. But you know what? IT'S TRUE! Do you know how to replace a door knob? I don't! With that said, Episode 2 may be called "F*** School", but the majority of the episode isn't really about school, it's more about how much the old adage "Sex Sells" is the realest thing on Earth.
Those Porno's were bats**t though... Dude was getting pumped while replacing a door knob! I know, too much. Let's continue.
Episode 3 was my favourite episode by a mile. "White Gang Privilege" is the perfect encapsulation of what Killer Mike wanted to do with this show. Highlight an injustice, give a completely unique solution for it and make it so logical that you can't help but applaud the sheer ingenuity of it all. "Crip-A-Cola", genius. "Blood Pop", genius! If this episode isn't in every single "Best TV Episodes of 2019" articles, the lists that snub it are irrelevant.
To tackle White Privilege in this way is so damn smart. To make gang members bonafide entrepreneurs, to back them up in the focus group was not just amazing Television but amazing example of Killer Mike's attitude and willing to be about it and not just talk about it. It's one thing to do these experiments but it's another thing to take his ideologies and show up people that can't open their mind. Shout out to the Blood member that was Vegan and grilling Killer Mike on the ingredients for their cola. That's that eccentricity that makes this show glow. It's refreshing.
Which brings me to the one thing I didn't like about this show... F*** Mario. I hate people like Mario. Contrarians for no reason other than to be a contrarian. Can't stand people like that. But on the flip-side. Episode 3, 5 & 6 wouldn't be what they were without Mario.
Let me get to Episode 4. "New Jesus". This is one of those episodes where you know where it's going, but you don't know how *far* it's going to go. But if you're binge-watching this series, you can't be surprised by now that what you're about to see is dumb as hell, but at the same time, something worth thinking about.
They create a religion, based on sleep, with their "messiah" being a dude Killer Mike knows, nicknamed "Sleep". You can't write this stuff! I have never seen a nickname so on point. The dude literally looks like he's in an open-eye coma, he doesn't talk! They go meet a publisher to discuss the creation of a new Biblical text (Called, you guessed it, The Book of Sleep) and the dude literally stares at the woman!
But again! In all this madness, is a great message. Sleep and being tired has been something used to negatively stereotype black people. Where slaves were considered "lazy". The biggest reason for whippings, was for oversleeping. That was something I didn't know but I'm glad I do now. As a person that values rest, I rate this episode, even the part where they host a mass in a strip club...
Episode 5 was probably the most predictable of the episodes. Not to say that it's the worst, it was certainly entertaining. But once you realised Mike was going to create a super-group comprised of people from all identities, you just KNEW that the "White Nationalist" guy was gonna say the N-Word.
I don't really have much to say on this episode, other than this. Bringing it back to Mario, he returns for this episode, this time as a musician. Straight off the bat, his music is wack, but Mike had a plan for him. Where I saw Mario as a complete d*** in Episode 3, I kind of felt for him in this episode.
If I'm creating a song, I don't want it to be high-jacked for this social experiment. He didn't say it, but you could see that he didn't want his song to be used for this experiment. A little unfair to me.
BUT THEN CAME EPISODE 6. And my empathy for Mario was GONE. So the last episode is a very smart culmination of the episodes preceding. Killer Mike starts a new country called "New Africa". His citizens, all the people from previous episodes. (Except the "White Nationalist" dude) The plumber from "F*** School", Sleep The Messiah, Mike's wife and yes, Mario.
So Mike buys land, creates a flag (with tons of sponsors on it) and creates a constitution. It's kind of impressive on the face, until you realise that it's basically 20 adults shifting animal poo to make way for tents and live life like it's one of those "No phone" camps that parents send their children to these days. Everybody has their role, except for Mario who has to be "that guy" in every damn situation. And it's his "I'm different" attitude that actually triggers the host of "Trigger Warning!"
The experiment crumbles quite quickly, where the people kick Mike off his leadership via an election, only for Mike to admit to his wife that he actually won the election in a landslide but changed the votes so that he loses.
This series is so odd. Never has my "Three Words" been so poignant. It is super witty, but the eccentric nature of bringing the ideas to life, diving head first into the absurd is truly what makes this show.
Funny story. I was going to watch Episode 2 with my mum, not knowing what it was about. Luckily, my TV was messing up so I watched alone in my room... BULLET. DODGED.