The release of Killer Mike’s fifth album, PL3DGE, has been pushed back a month so label executives can invest more money in what they’ve christened a “cultural classic,” the ATLien told yesterday (March 30) during our live UStream show, Spotlight.

Originally slated to drop on April 19, PL3DGE is now scheduled for a May 17 release. Killer Mike a.k.a. Mike Bigga learned of the decision during a 3 a.m. conversation with Ron Spaulding, president of Fontana Distribution.

The Atlanta native and Outkast affiliate said he was “lighting up in one of the best hotels in New York” when Spaulding contacted him in the early morning via Twitter.

“I’m like, ‘Am I high?’” Mike told XXL. “And then I answer, ‘Yes motherfucker, you are.’ I say, ‘Is he high?’ So he’s like ‘Hit me with your number.’ So I DM the number. And he calls me at 3 in the morning … and he just talks to me for like an hour. He tells me his background, his history. He comes out of Priority, so he’s used to working with [Ice] Cube – my rap God, Master P, Eazy E. He gave me a history lesson. He said rap went pop in the late ‘90s. Budgets, videos, everything went pop. And now you have this dichotomy in rap where you have rappers that’s pop acts who are only as good as their last song, and then you have cultural artists who make music that pushes and extends the culture forward. And he said ‘PL3DGE, man, is a cultural classic.’ He said, ‘This record, it defines hip-hop in 2011.’”

At that point, Mike waited for the letdown.

“You know, you’re kind of hearing that, you’re like OK, when’s the bad news [gonna] happen?” he said. “At the end of the conversation and them just inflating my ego an enormous amount … [Ron] says, ‘And I want to push your album back … But before I do that, I want to give you more money to make that sure we have the radio life we need, and I want to double your promo budgets in radio. And I want to make sure that you get the press that you need.’ And at the point I said ‘God bless you, white man. God bless your seed.’”

Mike said it was the first time he’d gotten that kind of feedback – and budget boost – from a label exec.

“It’s very interesting,” he said. “Five years into this process, [for them] to say ‘You’ve made a record that the corporation wants to put money in and push forward, because we think it progresses,’ it’s just fucking dope. And Ron Spaulding is the fucking man. He’s the man right now. My next daughter might be named Ronnie.” —Lauren Carter