A twist on the Run The Jewels star's stage moniker was submitted online to Atlanta, Georgia city officials as they tried to find a name for a 400-foot (122-metre) long tunnel-boring machine, and "Driller Mike" was selected as the winner of the public contest.

The hip-hop star, who campaigned heavily earlier this year (16) for former U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, admits he was amused by the unlikely honour, which came as quite a surprise.

"I laughed hysterically," he told The Associated Press. "It was the funniest thing in the world to me. I didn't take it seriously, because I'm a rapper. Cities don't associate themselves with rappers. But I'm a business owner, a dad, an active member of politics in Atlanta, so I was honestly honoured that people in Atlanta saw fit to name something after me."

The big drill will help Atlanta authorities dig a tunnel large enough to store a month's supply of water underground.

Despite being flattered by the drill naming, Killer Mike, real name Michael Render, hopes he will one day be promoted and recognised with a street accolade.

"Before I die, I want a street named after me, maybe Michael Render Way," he smiled. "But this is a great midlife goal. This is truly an honour."