Slim Thug: Fire Your Boss
Nevertheless, shifts in the music industry and the all-too-often told story of label troubles haunted and halted Slim Thuggas mainstream push. Now, "The Boss" is back to being his own ruler with Boss of All Bosses, steering through the independent roads that were always kind to him. But times have changed. As he admitted, rappers arent exactly selling as they used to, and with the economic meltdown our country is currently suffering from, its difficult to know where an artist is headed in this game.
In a recent interview with HipHopDX, Slim Thug took some time to discuss the rap life and the aforementioned label woes, the street life, regrets and the problems that arose from fame. He also shed light on what an independent emcee does when prepping an album, from the sales and meetings to the production budget. In a surprising discussion, "The Boss" admitted to having the desire to give up on rap at one point, and more.
HipHopDX: Growing up in Houston, how did you get your start in rhyming and in the street life?
Slim Thug: I grew up in the streets, man. That just was natural. Im the youngest of seven with three brothers and three sisters. So, I was around the streets my whole life. I started rapping when I was seventeen and got with Michael Watts. That was at a little party. I did a freestyle. They told me to get on a mixtape. I got on that mixtape, and been getting money ever since.
DX: In one of your songs, you say money brings you problems, so I got a ton. What types of problems arose from money and fame for you?
Slim Thug: Hatred. Jealousy. Everything, man. Money is devilish, really. Youll lose family, friends and all kinds of stuff over money. Thats just how it goes. If you dont got nothing right now, you dont see a lot of the snakes thatll appear if you get some money. Like, if you hit the lotto right now, theres a whole lot of snakes that you think is your friends right now or your family members whos really down with you, youll find out that that aint the truth. So, the more money you get, the more problems youll get. Definitely.
DX: How were you able to navigate through all those snakes?
Slim Thug: Right now, you gotta be black-hearted to a lot of stuff. Me, personally, everybody be all, "You selfish! You dont do nothin!" Everybody hit me with that, but its because I done gave so many people chances. I do people like people do me. When I go get a card, they check my credit. If you want something from me, you borrowed some money from me and you dont pay it back, your credit is denied. You cant come at me asking for nothing! Thats how I do. I give people credit, just like everybody else. If you got good credit, I give you something, you give it back, its good. But, if you dont, I aint giving you nothing! So everybody be like, "Slims selfish!" But, thats how you gotta deal with them, though. It is what it is.
DX: A few years ago, it seemed like everything coming from the southern part of the United States was platinum plus. Now, its hard for a lot of artists to succeed in that manner from every region, not just the South. How did you see Hip Hop change since your last official retail album?
Slim Thug: Man, people aint sellin like they used to! I aint gonna lie, cats like Lil Wayne [click to read] can sell three million, though. But, its rare you see an artist that sells that many records, though. There used to be a lot more artists selling a lot more records. We goin through the recession right now, though. People are struggling man, everywhere. Everything is tough right now. You just gotta stay on your grind and stay afloat and hopefully everything will come back up.
DX: In The interview, you say, I do rap cause makin' hits pays my bills. With the economic meltdown and CD stores shutting down, how will this still be possible? What are some ways to still succeed in these trying economic times?
Slim Thug: Right now, through this recession thing, I aint gonna lie, man. Im a little confused. Im kind of scared, more than anything, to invest my money in anything. Everything is going bad. Houses, everything. Im not like no dude thats 100%I just got people whore smarter than me in different areas and thats how I invest. But, right now, Im just gonna hold what I got because everything is so risky. I never just depend on one thing to keep my bills paid. I love rap and Im happy that it do pay my bills but at the end of the day, I dont depend on that solely. Thats why I can drop an album like three years or four years, or however long its been since I put my last album out and still be good. I aint starvin.
DX: Lets talk about this upcoming album. Its gonna be on an independent label. Can an artist bring the same kind of quality that he puts into a major label release with that budget, to an indie? How? Why don't other artists do it?
Slim Thug: Its a smaller budget, but at the end of the day, do Timbaland or do Pharrell [click to read] or do all the big producers, do that make you? Do you gotta have that to shine? Thats what it all boils down to. Or, you cant tone that down a little bit? Instead of getting four or five or six big producers on the album, can you get some local cats, or other cats that just hot who probably aint been out there as long and aint gonna charge you as much? And then get a few of the big names? Thats how it is. You just gotta be able to work it out like that. Me, personally, I dont want an album with everybody, with every song I got on there is with the big dogs like Timbaland and Dr. Dre, all the big name producers, like Kanye West and you know, a whole album of that. It probably wont have no substance. Ill tell you for example, like my favorite Young Jeezy [click to read] album was the first one (Thug Motivation). He aint have no big name producers on there. But, the second one was jammin, but it just aint my favorite, and he had big producers on there. Its like that. The big name producer dont make the artist, if the artist is the truth.
DX: Speaking of big producers. You were rumored to have recorded a song with Dr. Dre. Whatever happened to that track?
Slim Thug: Im not on Interscope [anymore], so it stays over there. But, really, it wasnt gonna be able to get cleared anyway. They aint clearing nothing until Detox gets out. They aint clearing nothin for nobody. It is what it is. But, I was just honored to have that. I did that, put that out there, and everybody heard it. I did do another version of ["I'm Back"], so its gonna be on the album with Devin the Dude. Its definitely gonna be on the album.
DX: With or without the Dre beat?
Slim Thug: Nah, its not the Dre beat, but its another beat but the same song.
DX: You were talking about them not clearing the song and labelsLabel issues seem to bother careers, or curtail them. How have label problems affected your career?
Slim Thug: Man, labelsThey tried to take me out the game, man. I was over there on Interscope and when I signed the deal or whatever, put the first album [Already Platinum] [click to read] out, I was trying to get off the major label deal for the longest. Thats what took me so long to drop another album. So, labels can kill your career. Thats what they plan is to do. If you aint working with them, then they tryin to do that. At the end of the day, they try to hold you up and tell you that you not hot no more or something like that. I was definitely lucky to get out of my situation. I thank Interscope/Geffen for letting me get out of the situation. I had to spend money. I had to pay em money off of [Boss of All Bosses] [click to read], also but for me to be able to do my own thing, instead of being stuck over there for four more albums, Im blessed to do that. I hate dealing with labels, man, because Im not an industry dude and it make you not want to rap, man. Real talk.
DX: About when did you feel like giving up on rap?
Slim Thug: Just dealing with the major labels. Its so much bullshit when you work with major labels, man. Its ridiculous, dog. When you really a boss, and you gotta sit in the meetings and it aint your manager, it aint your CEO handling all the bullshit. When you actually in there, it takes away the art. Some people need to just be artists and that way, they can stay lovin it and stay on that side of the game. But when you deal with the bullshit side of it, it could make you sour about the industry.
DX: So, were there any pluses to being on a major?
Slim Thug: Yeah! It wasnt all bad. Interscope did a whole lot for me. They brought me everywhere. They gave me a visual that was out of this world. Everybody, not just in America, but in a lot of other countries, they knew who Slim Thug was, thanks to Interscope, you know what Im saying, Interscope/Geffen. Theyre a great company. I think theyre probably the best. I just couldnt get on the same page with them.
DX: Was it that you couldnt see eye-to-eye?
Slim Thug: You know what? Ill tell you what the whole issue was. I signed to a certain A&R. I signed to a president over there at Geffen and all these people, the whole staff. Actually, the marketing staff and everything, manand it was perfect! I had no problem. They was all good. They took care of me to the fullest. Then, they ended up changing staff on me! After I dropped Already Platinum, later, they changed staff on the whole company. Thats just what labels do sometimes. They changed up they staff. So, when they got rid of that staff, a new staff came through and I just never got on the same page with them.
DX: You talk about moving glocks instead of rocks in a song, what kind of regrets do you have from that time period, if any?
Slim Thug: What you mean, like from the street life to the rap life?
DX: Yeah. Any regrets in general?
Slim Thug: I mean, I dont regret nothing, really. At the end of the day, everything I been through made me what I am. I aint mad about it. I aint mad about nothin, man. I aint do nothin thats too gruesome where I feel like I need to take it back. I feel like Im a straight dude. I dont fuck with nobody if they dont fuck with me. So, its all good.
DX: Its all part of being a boss?
Slim Thug: Yeah, man. Its all part of being a boss. Its all part of living life.
DX: For you, what does being a boss mean? I know its always been a real theme for you. So, what does it mean to be a boss to you?
Slim Thug: Runnin everything you got, man. Runnin everything! If youre the boss, you in control of everything. When it comes to your money, and everything else, you call the shots. You the one tellin motherfuckers what to do. You aint the one on the sidelines taking orders.