El-P, Killer Mike Defend Ka After Attempted NY Post Hit Piece

The story of the Brooklyn rapper Ka is one of the great inspiring DIY stories in music right now. Ka, a former member of the mostly-forgotten ’90s underground group Natural Elements, has built up a cult audience by pioneering a flickering, meditative, weirdly monastic take on New York rap. He rarely ever collaborates with other artists, and on his new album Honor Killed The Samurai (our reigning Album Of The Week), he produced all the tracks himself and then released the album on his own label, spending release day selling it hand-to-hand on the sidewalk outside the shuttered old Other Music location. He usually directs his own videos, too. And he does all this while holding down a job as a captain in the New York Fire Department. All these things should be reason for celebration. Instead, yesterday the New York Post, the hateful right-wing tabloid rag, ran a front-page story attacking Ka as an anti-cop firebrand.

In the Post story, the newspaper mines Ka’s back-catalog for anti-cop quotes, and there are a few. It also reports which fire station Ka, whose real name is Kaseem Ryan, commands, and it reports on things like his annual salary and how much he and his wife paid for their house. The paper calls out Ka’s Twitter feed for “projecting street cred and an anti-cop image” and quotes New York cop Ed Mullins, who says, “The biases he portrays through his music are indicative of what he believes or feels. As a New York City firefighter, he should be trying to bring people together rather than fracture relationships, especially in communities of color.” (The paper also tried to contact Ka at his fire house, but he hung up on them, which is great.)

On Twitter, Ka has only had this to say about the story:

Meanwhile, his fellow New York rap underground veteran El-P has spent the morning on Twitter, calling out the Post for its bullshit:

Fuck this fucking bullshit. Honor Killed The Samurai is out now on Ka’s own Iron Works label, and it is great.

UPDATE: El-P’s Run The Jewels partner Killer Mike has chimed in with a defense of Ka on Instagram:

So Susan [Edelman]- who is a writer- doesn’t seem to get that like a Walter Mosley novel, Ka creates beautifully written fiction giving us wonderful and tragic looks into mystery and the underworld. I think Susan does understand this and think she knew that when she used these wonderfully poetic Songs that a NYD Fire Capt writes in his spare time when not saving lives to shame him. He cud easily have a record deal and be a legend with a cult following like MF Doom but, instead he like Charles Bukowski lives and works with regular people while also being a writing genius. I know Susan sees this and ignores it too, although using eloquent language and subtleties to call Ka an “Ungrateful Nigger”. A shame too, considering she is a woman. I feel Susan should be an ally considering sexism and racism are supported by the same systems. She should know what being so angry you want to explode feels like and having to confess that in journal only. This man is a hero every day. As a fierce defender of Good cops, I have to say Firemen and Teachers deserve the same and more considerations. A firefighter knows each day brings death as a possible outcome but when it comes they must run to it to save others just like a cop. They have to be fit- mind, spirit and body and all they get is burns, burn out and like cops and teachers are under paid as well. Like Teachers they aren’t really mentioned until it’s extreme or it’s an issue with pay. I salutes Capt Kaseem Ryan for being a real life Super hero who saves our lives by day and Gives us words to comfort our pain and anger at night. Susan is slime for what she wrote and inferred but she has to live with that. From the world of rap & the real world Thank U Capt. Reed aka Ka! 🙏🏾💯. #RealLifeComicBookHero #ThisIsAnAttemptedLynching #SusanWasSayingNiggerStayInYourPlace #IfWeLoveCopsWhyNotPayBetter #WeShudLoveCopsTeachersAndFDTheSam

So Susan- who is a writer- doesn't seem to get that like a Walter Mosley novel, Ka creates beautifully written fiction giving us wonderful and tragic looks into mystery and the underworld. I think Susan does understand this and think she knew that when she used these wonderfully poetic Songs that a NYD Fire Capt writes in his spare time when not saving lives to shame him. He cud easily have a record deal and be a legend with a cult following like MF Doom but, instead he like Charles Bukowski lives and works with regular people while also being a writing genius. I know Susan sees this and ignores it too, although using eloquent language and subtleties to call Ka an "Ungrateful Nigger". A shame too, considering she is a woman. I feel Susan should be an ally considering sexism and racism are supported by the same systems. She should know what being so angry you want to explode feels like and having to confess that in journal only. This man is a hero every day. As a fierce defender of Good cops, I have to say Firemen and Teachers deserve the same and more considerations. A firefighter knows each day brings death as a possible outcome but when it comes they must run to it to save others just like a cop. They have to be fit- mind, spirit and body and all they get is burns, burn out and like cops and teachers are under paid as well. Like Teachers they aren't really mentioned until it's extreme or it's an issue with pay. I salutes Capt Kaseem Ryan for being a real life Super hero who saves our lives by day and Gives us words to comfort our pain and anger at night. Susan is slime for what she wrote and inferred but she has to live with that. From the world of rap & the real world Thank U Capt. Reed aka Ka! 🙏🏾💯. #RealLifeComicBookHero #ThisIsAnAttemptedLynching #SusanWasSayingNiggerStayInYourPlace #IfWeLoveCopsWhyNotPayBetter #WeShudLoveCopsTeachersAndFDTheSame #AllAreHeros #peace!

A photo posted by Killer Mike (@killermike) on