Remembering Slim Dunkin

[caption id="attachment_21829" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Photo courtesy of Slim Dunkin Facebook"][/caption]

When news that Slim Dunkin, the rapper and cohort of Waka Flocka Flame and Gucci Mane, passed away last Friday started to trickle out after being shot during an altercation that took place inside an Atlanta recording studio, rap fans are not only trying to piece together a still-as-of-now-unsolved murder, but ultimately, left with another promising rap career left unfulfilled.

Born Mario Hamilton, the rapper was a key part of Waka's 1017 Brick Squad and was tipped to go on to solo success after releasing his Menace II Society mixtape this past Halloween. Fueled by a raspy, rambunctious flow, Dunkin's style was a tight fit for the current strain of boisterous Atlanta hip-hop. Like the rest of his Brick Squad counterparts, Dunkin excelled at making animated, threatening rap music that traded in the tropes of the drug game -- he made music that prompted a visceral reaction and came to life when bumped loud in the club.

Dunkin came to prominence on Waka Flocka Flame's 2010 Flockavli album: It was"Karma" where he more than held his own as he flowed over a rather menacing beat. But while his mentor Waka coined a pared-down, economical rap style, Dunkin was possessed of a fleeter tongue. On "I Gotta Eat" he dropped straight-up trap-raps but was also confident enough to switch into double time for one of the verses.

Dunkin also showed the early makings of an artist with something more to say than just regurgitating drug tales. For example, on the title track to his mixtape, which was hooked around vocal samples from a 2Pac interview, he boasted about being "Paranoid by what the verdict say/ Arnold Schwarzenegger -- all I know is terminate." But he also hinted at being able to rap to a broader audience. "Do It Big," an Autotune-assisted club-oriented track, suggested that he had the talent to hit the mainstream without being seen as someone who sold out his style to chase rap riches.

While the reasons behind Dunkin's murder are still cloudy, police have ruled out an early theory that a rival rapper, Kebo Gotti, was behind the trigger. (Gotti was a one-time member of the Brick Squad and has been involved in a drawn-out feud with both Dunkin and Waka for some time now, with the dispute even spilling over into physical violence at one point.) Not surprisingly, Waka took Dunkin's murder badly. On his Twitter account he tweeted, "Wish it was me ... My fucking right hand is gone." While Dunkin's potential talent will never be realized, his name is likely to be memorialized in rhyme by his Brick Squad associates for albums to come.