Killer Mike will receive the first-ever Change Maker Award at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards this week, Billboard announced. The Atlanta-born rapper and activist will be honored in recognition of his extensive work on community activism and social justice.
"This award highlights and recognizes the attributes of a true social justice warrior in the field of music who has made exemplary strides to lead the community in positive change-making advocacy," Datwon Thomas, MRC's VP, and cultural media and consulting producer for the Billboard Music Awards, told Billboard. "In partnership with a diverse committee of colleagues at MRC and our cultural inclusion committee, BLAC, we selected Killer Mike for his contributions to the current movement and culture and his tangible efforts to make national and grassroots change."
Killer Mike has been in the music industry for more than 20 years, both as a solo artist and as part of hip-hop duo Run the Jewels, alongside El-P. During his rap career, Mike was always vocal against police brutality, racial and social injustice, and systemic racism, as highlighted in songs like "Reagan" and "Early." More recently, the rapper-activist has been supporting early voter registration, as well as Black entrepreneurship and financial responsibility.
Following the tragic death of George Floyd, Killer Mike and El-P dropped their long-anticipated new album, RTJ4, two days before the scheduled release date, June 5. Along with the surprise release, the group gave fans the chance to download the album for free on their website.
"F*ck it, why wait," the group announced on Twitter. "The world is infested with bullsh*t so here's something raw to listen to while you deal with it all. We hope it brings you some joy. Stay safe and hopeful out there and thank you for giving 2 friends the chance to be heard and do what they love."
The 2020 Billboard Music Awards will take place this week, October 14 at 8 p.m. Eastern at the Los Angeles Dolby Theatre. Hosted by Kelly Clarkson, the award ceremony will see performances by Alicia Keys — her first time back in eight years — Bad Bunny, Post Malone, Luke Combs, and others.
This year, nominations are led by Post Malone, who's running for 16 awards, followed by Lil Nas X (13), Billie Eilish (12), and Khalid (12). Meanwhile, Kanye West counts nine nominations in Christian categories with Jesus Is King, such as top Christian artist, top gospel artist, top Christian album, top gospel album, top gospel song, and top Christian song.