So after that initial call what came next on your journey to Aftermath?
We only talked for like 5 minutes and he asked if I was patient because he had a lot of things going on at the time—I think he was in the process of just working on Em’s album or something. I told him I had all the time in the world.
Was it a slow process after that?
I wasn’t signed until almost two years later.
So was it a trial process, were you in the studio with Dre and kind of feeling it out.
Yea from time to time I would be in one studio and then the other studio and that was that.
Was it a learning process for you? Working with someone like Dre isn’t an everyday occurrence.
Everything is a learning process but this was new to me so yea this was a big learning experience for me and all these things came into play later because when you’re dealing with someone as good as he is you have to learn and pay attention.
There’s no way around it, just be on your “A” game at all times, right?
Of course especially when you know he’s watching and I know he watches the [smallest] shit , like when we went out wherever and he wanted to see how I acted and how people responded to me and [vice versa] and I guess I did pretty good.
So it was like Dre wanted to get to know you as a person, as a well- rounded individual versus as just a rapper?
You know what the funniest thing is, for him to be like this big mogul but he knows everything that happens in the street and I don’t know how he knows about it. Like, how do you know that, who told you that? That’s the craziest shit to me, he knows things that are going on in the hood and it’s like where does he get this from.
That’s crazy. At any point on your Aftermath journey did you ever think ‘maybe it’s not going to work out”?
I’m going to keep it 100% real with you, and I’m probably not even supposed to say this—I make more money now than most people he’s put out for big tours.
Just off of working with Dre, you’re saying?
Yeah. Like can you imagine what Oprah gives to her friends and shit? Like c’mon man, knock it off, so I don’t know how they got frustrated. I’m not frustrated—I feel good about it, I’m comfortable, got all my little issues out the way. I’m more focused on my music, I don’t got to worry about the judges and the juries and all those people.
Dre even said in a recent interview that you and Kendrick were probably the last two artists he was going to work with ever. How does that make you feel?
I feel like a legend in the making. That’s a hell of a title, we the last, I guess they save the best for last.
Was Dre present for the whole process of recording War Music?
Nah, a lot of my recording I do on my own too. I really did this because people were wondering like can he rap? Can he do this or that so this is more for the people who really don’t know who Slim is, but there’s a lot of people who know I am and don’t appreciate the things that I’ve done.
Is there like one or two songs that are really personal to you or stand out the most that you can talk about?
Every song is personal to me but the one that’s more personal is something called “Falling Star.”
That sounds like it could have a deeper meaning?
The song is actually about me fucking up and not becoming successful like that’s what most people expect from me like ‘oh I’m surprised he even got this far.’ So I really like the song because it gives a different vibe, it’s not about guns etc. and some people say I always talk about guns but if you pay attention I’m not saying this to shit on anyone and I hope no one takes it personal but I’ve never heard Kweli compared to Jay- Z in light of, Kweli is hard, he’s good, but 9 times out of 10 when you say the greatest rapper you say someone hardcore.
Right, like Biggie, Pac, Jay…
I ask people this question and those are the names that usually come up so like when I made War Music—I wanted to keep it hard because I feel like that’s what people will really like because when you say the greatest people in hip- hop you only name hardcore artists that have an audience of people who [tend] to follow that type of music.
That’s interesting man. Do you feel like you kind of have to act, or make music a certain way to please people and give them what they want?
No, I feel like rap is not hardcore [right now] so if I was to please the people I would be doing techno- rap or something.
You’ve mentioned being Eminem being one of your favorite MCs, have you guys collaborated yet?
I mean we haven’t actually recorded together but I’ve been in the studio with him a few times and it’s heavy because he knows my shit. When I hear Em singing my songs and shit that gives me motivation. That’s someone I looked up to like I looked up to Dre so when I hear him saying like I like this song right here or when Em says this right here is my joint’ I take pride in those things.