Killer Mike and 2 Chainz appeared at a City Council meeting in Atlanta on Monday (Aug. 1) to speak out against a proposed city ordinance they said could have a negative impact on local businesses and nightclubs run and owned by people of color. Chainz, who introduced himself by his birth name, Tauheed Epps, noted in his remarks that he owns two local businesses, Escobar and Escobar Seafood, before turning the microphone over to his friend Mike.
“I’m very blessed and I also like to be a blessing to others, and that’s what my businesses have allowed me to do,” 2 Chainz said in video posted of the appearance. “They need to retract some of the things they have on the ordinance. And I think crime is up everywhere, not just in Atlanta,” he added before introducing his pal Mike (born Michael Render) to paint the “bigger picture.”
Mike, no stranger to public speaking and impassioned advocacy, dove right into the meat of the matter, recalling that he also appeared before Council on May 10 of this year to speak out against the proposed bill and lamenting that “it doesn’t seem like we’ve gotten much done” since then. At that time, Mike said he spoke of the importance of supporting local businesses and warned, “as Atlanta grows, corporations are going to be coming into here.”
The rapid development in one of the fastest growing cities in the nation means that “somebody is gonna have a nightlife,” and the rapper said Atlantans have a choice: “it’s gonna be the owners of Hard Rock [Cafe] or the owners of Hooters or the owners of a W Hotel, or it’s gonna be the little people that went to Frederick Douglas [high school]… and Southwest DeKalb, and schools like that.”
His impassioned question was, “are we going to keep Atlanta a place where local people can grow and thrive here?” He argued that the ordinance at the center of the hearing — which WGCL reported would allow the city to close any establishment that it considers a “nuisance” following two reports of “violent crime or conduct” within a 2-year period — would “wipe out opportunity” for smaller, minority-owned businesses.
Given the large number of athletes and entertainers who’ve grown into a “business class” in the city, Mike warned that when politicians come around asking for donations and votes from the city’s “singer and dancers and club owners… we oblige you.” A local reporter also noted that imprisoned rapper Young Thug’s father also spoke to Council to say that he thinks the ordinance criminalizes businesses that are not tied to the crimes being committed. “If a crime happens by city hall, was it city hall that caused it?” he reportedly asked.
The nuisance ordinance was introduced by Mayor Andre Dickens in April in what he claimed was an effort to reduce violence in and around clubs in the city. “These are businesses that have been habitual and repeat violators of city ordinances,” said Atlanta City Council member Keisha Waites in supporting the effort according to WGCL. “We’re talking about historical patterns of violence where law enforcement has received multiple calls.”
The network also reported on Monday that city leaders delayed a vote on the ordinance for two weeks in order to review the matter.