Slim Thug is probably trending on Twitter right now, considering the amount of recognition he’s receiving from artists like Drake, A$AP Rocky, and Kendrick Lamar. The Houston sound, chopped & screwed vocals, slow-tempo beats, drawled out rhymes, promethazine-codeine, is all back in style, as young cats browse their iTunes catalogues to recapture a vibe similar to when Still Tippin came out in 2004. Hell, we all have a Still Tippin moment. Personally, I was spending Spring Break in the Bahamas, schmoozing it up with other eligible bachelors and experimenting with the high life, chicks in bikinis, hehe...
Damn, that’s as much of a lie as calling Slim Thug an OG today. After all, the dude’s just turned 31, but is on the brink of releasing his 13th mixtape, entitled, Houston. At such a tender age, Slim admits to retaining his fair share of bad habits, from smoking dope to sipping lean (occasionally), leading me to believe us kids will still be hopping to and fro the wagon come 2020. Might as well drink up while it’s cold, young bruh.
I was just watching you on YouTube talking about your new book. Looks pretty interesting. When’s that coming out?
December 26th. I got a book and a mixtape coming out the same day, December 26th.
What’s the mixtape called?
The mixtape is called Houston, and I’ve been leaking songs from it. Traditionally everyone does a mixtape and they just put it out. They might drop a mixtape today and they put out three songs out over the internet, and then it’s over. I’m doing this mixtape, every Thursday I leak a song that’s going to be on the mixtape, so people have a week to deal with that one song. December 26th, I have extra songs people never heard before, also the ones that already leaked.
I just listened to Houston, with the NFL theme music.
The good thing about the mixtape is that it should be fresh. It’s the freshest music you can get. We usually go Wednesday night, do the record, Thursday morning mix it, then as soon as I get it I send it out. It’s a real fresh process.
I imagine that’s a gruelling process. Do you feel pressure having to put one out every week?
No, not really. It really just falls into place. Everything’s been falling into place, man. I might go to the studio and do that, but also do three extra songs. In the studio we usually average two or three songs every time we go. We just take the best out of that.
Kanye set the bar pretty high with the G.O.O.D Friday weekly releases, but your music is sounding pretty cold too.
Appreciate it. Appreciate it.
I wanted to go back to the book for a second. You said you stay pretty frugal with your expenses. Don’t you think younger artists are already getting better at this? I heard A$AP Rocky, he signs a deal for 3 mil and it’s just sitting in his bank account, gaining interest. Do you think rappers are getting better?
I don’t know, man. I don’t know. I hope so. That’s what I’m really going to try and hand down to them. As a rapper, my opinion is that we do a lot of dumb shit. A lot of shit that’s cool, or is supposed to be cool, is pretty dumb, when it comes to being an investor or thinking about your future. Muthafuckers are dropping thousands on bottles when it only takes one to get you wasted. That’s dumb. It don’t make no sense. You make it rain on a bitch, spend 20 grand on her, and go home with the desert dick. It’s dumb, but it’s cool to everyone else. So I’m trying to let muthafuckers see it from both sides. Really the book was a line I said in I Run, on Boss of All Bosses, you know, How to Survive in a Recession, ‘I’m about to put out a book’, I was just bullshittin’. Then people started asking for it.
You had to live up to it.
Right. Slowly I’d just be writing shit, all along, tips or whatever. And for every tip, I’d break it down, what I mean. It ain’t just all about that though. It’s about different quotes and shit I do on Twitter, some funny shit people might have liked on Twitter. There’s a section on how to make it in the rap game, that type of shit. It’s also got a section telling about my life, and how I got in the game, where I’m coming from. You might hear stories from my mother, from different people around me, close friends. It ain’t like a story, an autobiography or nothing like that, it’s more of a fun book.
You’ve always had side hustles, with the real estate and you owned a record store. How do you balance these things, how do you put yourself in a position that you can juggle multiple responsibilities? Is there a specific recipe?
Man, it’s really not that hard. You’re not going to be doing all the work by yourself. Whatever you do, you got to form some kind of team, so I wasn’t working in the record store or nothing like that. I wasn’t always dealing with the real estate we bought or whatever, like I got people around me who I would hire for that. It’s really about having an idea, setting up some sort of plan, executing it, and hiring people to run that for you, and just collect. People don’t understand that shit. It’s not that hard. It’s just getting out there and shooting the dice with it. You got to try it, if you don’t try it- A lot of muthafuckers got ideas that come to them everyday that could make them millionaires, but they don’t act on it. It’s all about acting on it.
It’s better to try and fail, than not to try at all.
Now, is Le$ one of your Boss Hogg Outlawz artists?
Yeah, yeah, he’s one of my artists. He’s got a mix CD dropping November 22nd.
Yeah, Settle 4 Les 2, right?
Yeah, he’s actually in the other room.
I was listening to Shut Your Hood Down. Great record!
Is that a Forever sample buried in that beat?
That’s a what sample?
Forever, you know the song with Drake, Kanye, and Wayne?
Oh, yeah yeah yeah. I don’t even know that [laughs].
Is that sample in there? I was going to ask you.
[Shouting to Le$ in the other room] Le$, is that a Forever sample in that Shut Your Hood Down beat? The one with Drake, Forever. Is that sample in there? He says he don’t know. He says it’s a blues sample. It’d probably be the same one.
You know that Sprite commercial with Drake, it was on before the BET Awards?
Where he drinks that in the studio and shit?
Yeah, the song goes ‘duh, duh, duh’ [imitating the Forever beat]? It sounds like that.
I’m going to check it out. I’m going to check it out, homie.
How did you become familiar with Le$? What were you doing when you were first introduced to him?
I was actually talking to my brother and my DJ, DJ Mr. Rogers. He was really working with Mr. Rogers first. He put out a mix CD called Beautiful Struggle a while back, and everybody was talking about how it was crazy. People kept talking about it, and the music was real and I liked it. So really he teamed up with us through my brother and my DJ, they brought him to me, and the first music I heard from him was on that mixtape, Beautiful Struggle. We clicked immediately, got in the studio. I like his work ethic. It’s as good as mine. It ain’t got to be no recycled raps. We go in the studio and turn nothing into something. That’s why I like working with him.
You almost went through a makeover last year. You slimmed down, cut off the hair, stopped wearing the do-rags and baggy polos.
[Laughs] For real.
When did all this click? What made you realize you had to make some changes?
I always said for the longest time when I get to 30 I’m cutting my braids off and taking out my grill. Because I thought I’d be entering a different part of my life, and that stuff’s kind of childish. I’ve really been planning it and stuck to it. And then with braid ladies and waiting on them, you’re getting your hair braided and I got to go to the store and get some food, I got to take a cigarette, man... so fuck that. I cut that shit off my head, got a $15 dollar haircut and that shit be over with. I don’t got to wear this fucking do-rag. I don’t got to look dumb for a week when I can’t find this crazy bitch. I hate having people have power over me. And with the grillz shit, I wanted to take that step into manhood where I felt I needed to put that shit up and get grown right quick. With the weight shit, I was going to the doctor and I used to be on 5 mg of blood pressure pills. Then they upped my shit to 10 mg, or maybe higher than that, I don’t remember, they upped my shit and was saying my shit was real high. So I was like, “How do I get off this shit?” I don’t want to take no pills for the rest of my life, and they were like, “Well, you got to lose weight. That might help, and change your diet.” And I did that. It still ain’t fucking helped. I’m still taking the pills but I got used to it, working out, running. We run. I do some shit called Fun Fitness. I invited everyone out to come run three miles. We usually get 30 people out there.
That’s awesome. It seems like you’re taking the steps. They’ll pay off eventually.
I feel good though. I’m straight on the weight side. I’m good. I’m comfortable. I run that shit like it ain’t nothing. I’m alright right now, got a good little system going, keeping this work in the studio going, working out, I feel like I’m moving.
Mike Jones and Paul Wall have slimmed down too. It’s almost like you guys do everything in a pack. You blew up together, now you’re losing weight together. Is that just a coincidence?
[Laughs] Yeah, that’s a coincidence like a muthafucker. I know Paul had to get the Lypo shit or whatever, but I haven’t even seen Mike, honestly. I don’t know, I can’t even speak for him. I ain’t even really seen him so I don’t know if he works out as much as me or what.
Yeah, and speaking of that movement, the Houston movement from a couple years back, now you have this growing fan base from the East Coast, because you’ve got guys like A$AP Rocky and Drake pushing the Houston sound, and people are revisiting the Houston movement. Is it surreal to think of something like Still Tippin as nostalgic, or old, because it wasn’t that long ago?
That’s how I feel. People are calling me OG right now, I’m 31. It gets real crazy, like muthafuckers think I’m older than I really am. I started rapping when I was 17 so I guess that’s what it is, because I’ve been in the game a minute and muthafuckers been hearing my name and shit, so they probably think I’m older than I am. Like muthafuckers like Rick Ross are 34 or 33, muthafuckin Jeezy, all the hot muthafuckers are older than me now, you know what I’m saying? They’re looking at me like I’m OG, and I’m like, “Naw, man.” But with the Houston shit, it seemed Houston was trying to get away from the fucking sound, but everybody else was jumping on it. It seemed like a lot of the Houston artists were like, “Man,” because we’ve been doing that shit, muthafuckers be like, “We don’t want to be talking about shit like candy paint, talking about Houston.” Muthafucker say that. Even different producers, the one who made the Shut Your Hood Down beat actually, before we did the fucking song he was like, “Man, don’t be saying this Houston shit, you know, candy paint.” Man, fuck that, that’s who we are. Muthafuckers don’t want me to come out and do an album and sound like Wale. They going to know that ain’t me. They want to hear me do my Houston shit. They know that’s where I’m from. They want me to talk about that shit. They want to see Houston through my music.
It’s your sound, after all.
Right, that’s my sound. That’s what I’m going to stick to, and a lot of muthafuckers probably felt like that, and heard that from different producers, and tried to switch the swag up on it and make others songs and go away from that sound, but now it seems people are running back to it.
Yeah, definitely. I was trying to get a Mike Jones interview, because I thought people would go crazy over that, even more crazy than before when he had the records out.
[Laughs] Yeah, yeah, man. I haven’t talked to that dude in a minute. I heard he lives in Atlanta though.
With all the Houston nostalgia comes the promethazine-codeine epidemic, the whole Everything Purple craze. Do you ever regret promoting this kind of lifestyle, because you’ve got the lyrics, “Lean a little smoke a lot”, “Henny with the purple mix it up in a circle”? I know first-hand kids are going to the doctor and they’re trying to score cough syrup. What’s your opinion on this stuff?
Man, let me tell you, I don’t go to kids’ schools and talk to them, and I get a lot of requests, “Come to this middle school and talk to the kids, tell them to.” They acting like I’m tripping, I don’t want to give back. But on the cool, really what it is is that I know who I am, and I know that I’m not perfect. I do a lot of fucked up shit. I’m still trying to find myself in a lot of ways. I don’t want to go talk to kids and be their mentor or anything. Because I’m fucked up, I’d go to the school and say, “Hey, man, don’t do drugs,” and then they see me on Twitter smoking a joint. That’s what I do. It’s kind of confusing. Do you stop being yourself and start living your life for other people, or do you remain who you are and don’t get in the mix with other people who would try to guide kids? Maybe when I get a little older and I feel like, “Fuck that. I ain’t going to do that anymore or whatever, just do this for the kids...”
People forget you’re still young, like you said.
Exactly, like I said, I still fuck up. Last thing I want to do though is promote it and have some kids doing that shit. Because really I don’t sip syrup at all no more, just for health reasons. I’m a hustler and I don’t like looking dumb all day. I can move and work on weed, but when I’m on drank I just sit there and look dumb, and my day is over. The minute I’m done with a cup or two my day is over, I’m sitting and relaxing and chillin’ and watching TV and doing some dumb shit. So I can’t sip as much as I really would want to. I don’t promote it. I say over and over again the bad shit, like one of the NFL players you’ve probably seen on ESPN if you’re a sports fan. Just the other day he got six years because he sipped syrup. He got caught with it more than once though. His name’s Johnny Jolly. Just think about that though. He’s losing millions because he wanted to sip some syrup out of a fucking cup. He lost not only the millions he was going to get paid by the NFL, but he was on the Green Bay Packers. He missed the ring last year, and now they’re undefeated right now. All because he wanted to get high. I’d rather just smoke weed and go to jail for the two grams in my joint and be out of that bitch, like it ain’t that serious. But if I’m out with my partners and we’re out partying, then I’ll pour up if they’re pouring up, you know, and I’ll sip with them, but I ain’t just be sippin’ in my car every day.
Yeah, are you still living in Houston?
Yeah, downtown Houston.
You get in trouble smoking a joint in public there? Is it pretty strict?
Right, yeah, yeah, you’d probably go to jail. A lot of times I’m cool with the police so they pull me over and I smell like a pound, but really I don’t even ride like that with weed. I ride with two joints, nothing too crazy. I don’t smoke as much as muthafuckers think I do. I might smoke three joints a day at the most. That’s joints, that’s not big cigars or nothing like that.
Yeah, I wondered if it had changed at all in Houston. I used to live in The Woodlands, Lake Conroe.
Yeah, it ain’t changed. They’ll lock you up.
I moved back to Toronto though. It’s my understanding they’re more lenient here.
Keeping with the weed, I think a lot of artists smoke weed these days to stay awake. There’s so much over-saturation in music, that I hear artists like Rick Ross, he had the seizures, and he’s smoking to stay awake and make more music. How do you combat this constant demand for new, free music? It is worth it to take drugs to stay awake?
I don’t really take drugs to stay awake, but when I do get in the studio, this is me personally, I don’t know how other rappers are, but when you’re smoking… I don’t know. Muthafuckers say weed makes you think a lot, but I don’t really get on that shit too much. Maybe it gives you good ideas and shit, but when I smoke it just makes me say, “Fuck it.” I’m in the studio and I do whatever I want to do and I won’t be worried about anything, like, “Hey, man, I can’t sing.” That’s a perfect example. I put out a singing song knowing I can’t sing, called “Come Here Bitch”, and muthafuckers and girls is loving this shit around here. It’s crazy. But I never would have done that sober. Only because I was so fucking high and acting a fool in the studio and joking at this dude at the front door, like “Come here, bitch, hurry up,” that that happened. That’s the thing I like about smoking weed.
On another note, what’s with the naked photos on Twitter? Some of those are pretty freaky, man.
[Laughs] Hey, I never post pictures out of my own phone, like rarely do I post a naked picture. I might have posted a couple of them, but most of the time, like 90 percent of the time with naked pictures, it’s all coming from muthafuckers sending it to me. Different people who follow me might send me a crazy picture, I retweet it and put a crazy face on there. All that shit comes from other muthafuckers. Do you get crazy when you retweet a muthafucker for a picture? I don’t think so. [Laughs]
Why are they all showing up now?
It’s always been like that. They always send me nasty shit and sometimes I might want to do that shit, or sometimes I might chill, like if I’m with a girl in a relationship, she’d be in my ear so fucking much I might not retweet naked pictures as much. But I’ll still do it. I’ve even lost relationships behind Twitter because I’m so reckless on there. I feel like I got to be me, man. If I’m going to be with somebody, they’re going to be with me as I am. They ain’t going to be changing me to no square or no shit. I ain’t going to change and not be me. If you can’t adapt to that, fuck it.
I definitely agree with that.
But on Twitter, man, I have fun. I don’t give a fuck. I do what I want to do. I say what I want to say and it is what it is, man. At this point in my life, I’m just so comfortable with who I am that I don’t give a fuck.
- By Peter Marrack