Don't Sleep: Necessary Notables
Headliner: Slim the Mobster
Key Cameos: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar Essential Info: When it comes to finding raw hip-hop talent, Dr. Dre's ear is golden. The architect behind N.W.A's groundbreaking sound went on to discover the likes of Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, Game and, more recently, Kendrick Lamar and Slim the Mobster. On his new mixtape, War Music, Slim, representing L.A., looks to keep the Good Doctor's streak of picking talent going strong.
The Aftermath Psychopath gets off to a good start on "Dreaming,"
featuring Nikki Grier. On the soulful track, Slim contemplates the consequences of his street past in the face of his newfound rap success. "I'm followed by these demons/ Forgive me for living like that/ Even when I'm dreaming/ The streets keep pulling me back," he raps on the song's hook.
"I like this record because it talks about how, us as young artists, we work, and there is always something from our past — like, if you're really in the street, then it's something that will always hold you back," he explained.
Kendrick Lamar shows up on "Whose House," "What Goes Up" features Snoop Dogg, Mobb Deep's Prodigy gets busy on "Martyr," and Dr. Dre makes a key appearance on "Back Against the Wall." On the cut, Dre spits a spirited verse as he rhymes, "Now I'ma do this like my life depended on it/ My kids and my wife depended on it," making it clear he's still hungry.
A lot of Slim's material is murderous, but there is a message. Songs like the shooter's ode "Gun Play" are balanced out by cautionary tales such as "South Central Blues."
On "See It," Slim gets lyrical, intertwining his bars with a vocal sample, noting that the materialistic images rappers often put in their music aren't always their reality. "It's a lot of different things goin' on in music, and some of us don't really paint vivid pictures, and I thought this record was kind of vivid," he said. "What I was talking about, you could really understand what I'm saying and, more so, you can see it."
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