Grammy-award winning hip-hop artist, activist and car aficionado, Killer Mike was the perfect person to star in Cadillac’s “Black Future” visual campaign, featuring the auto company's all-new, 2023 Escalade-V. Directed by Spike Jordan, the campaign was created to acknowledge the Cadillac's commitment to uplifting Black ingenuity as well as our community of creatives impact on the world in general with the tagline “Black promise, Black art and Black music.”

Cadillac 2023 Escalade-V, Image: courtesy of Cadillac.

The powerful "Black Future" commercial showcases Black artistry through compelling visuals and music. It begins with Killer Mike's profound prose, a description of Black excellence, as he drives the new ride with his wife Shana Render. In harmony with his moving manifesto, the video displays futuristic visuals, from rising NFT artists 13-year-old Nyla Hayes and Nick Davis, and instrumentals from Mike’s newest single "Run" to the backdrop of the Cadillac's new Escalade's hum. The result is a medley of inspiration, artistry, and performance. 

Below, the Atlanta MC discusses with EBONY, the cultural significance of the campaign, Cadillac’s evolving history with the community and his commitment to empower the next generation of Black creatives. 

EBONY: What was your motivation in partnering with Cadillac on a campaign that celebrates the impact of Black Music and Art?

Killer Mike: Cadillac was one the first car brands to desegregate their dealership lots and welcome the Black community, while the rest of America grappled with Jim Crow. Cadillac has held a unique relationship with the Black community that started at this moment. [Personally], between one of my uncles proudly driving a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham to some of my fellow musicians driving Escalades starting in the early 2000s, Cadillac is a brand that is woven into the diverse fabric that is Black culture. The Black community helped build Cadillac into a world class brand it is today.

It must feel great to merge your lifelong passion for both music and cars. What ignited your interest in cars?

My passion for cars started when I was a child and being influenced by the men in my family who were avid “car guys”. Between watching them race, customize their own rides, and truly participate in what we now recognize as car culture, I truly come from a family of car aficionados. From them, I learned to love classic “American muscle” [cars] and am glad to see its tradition continued by Cadillac, in combination with all the new technologies that make their vehicles feel like a modern spaceship. Having an SUV like the Escalade, that can fit big guys like myself, along with my whole family, while still driving like a race car makes these cars special and like a home on wheels. 

The "Black Future" campaign video has a scene of you delivering a passionate speech to an auditorium of kids about the importance of music. How important is it to you to pass on an appreciation for the arts to the next generation? 

The arts have always served me well so I’m always going to encourage kids to explore their creative interests. Shoutout to my elementary orchestra teacher, Mr. Dyson! Ironically, he was one of the only white teachers I had in my k-12 education, as I lived in iconic black neighborhood in Atlanta known as Collier Heights. Mr. Dyson taught us to really appreciate the value of art and how it can positively impact our lives and the greater state of the world, whether it be through building a career through it or simply using it to channel your emotion and spirit. I was also a member of the West Side Orchestra and was further influenced by my choir director, a Black woman, who traveled the world as an opera singer. I’m proud to have Cadillac as a partner in sharing my creative mantra with the younger generation. 

The video also takes a journey through your vision of Black Excellence. What does this mean to you?

As a Black person you are from one of the most diverse diasporas in the world, so you are already from a special community. Celebrating that uniqueness in everything you do, always pushing to unapologetically be yourself and the best person you can be, is what I believe to be “Black Excellence”.