Slim: The Encore

  Formed over 11 years ago, Atlanta group 112 made a name for themselves beyond their longtime Bad Boy association. Slim, Daron, Mike and Q toured the globe with the likes of Nas and Whitney Houston, selling platinum albums along the way, thanks to tracks such as “Only You,” “Peaches and Cream” and “It’s Over […]

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Formed over 11 years ago, Atlanta group 112 made a name for themselves beyond their longtime Bad Boy association. Slim, Daron, Mike and Q toured the globe with the likes of Nas and Whitney Houston, selling platinum albums along the way, thanks to tracks such as “Only You,” “Peaches and Cream” and “It’s Over Now”. Despite the group’s widespread popularity, they still remained on the peripheries of international mainstream recognition. Following the departure of Deron from the group last year, Slim is now readying himself for his most daunting challenge yet… solo star. Slim spoke with us about why he’ll never leave 112, talks about life after Bad Boy and gives some insight about Daron’s decision to leave the group. Alternatives: So what was the situation with 112 and Bad Boy? Slim: Well, for a good five or six years we were pretty much in a production deal that wasn’t really good. We didn’t want to leave Bad Boy but we were stuck in this production agreement and in order to get out of the production agreement we had to leave Bad Boy. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much what happened. AHHA: How’s the relationship now? Slim: We’re still real cool with [Diddy]. As a matter of fact, I have a song with his artist that’s about to come out, and y’all about to hear it. It’s me, 8-Ball and MJG who’s signed to Bad Boy records, and I’m on it with Three Six Mafia. AHHA: So you’re now going solo. Does that mean 112 has split? Slim: Nah, the group hasn’t split up, but Daron is out of the group. It’s three of us in the group now. Daron wanted to do his own thing, but he felt like in order to do his own thing he had to leave the group. Because the group is so strong and the brand of it is so strong, he probably wanted his own identity or whatever. AHHA: I do understand his point, seeing as you guys have been together for a long time now. Slim: I have a solo project too but I have a different approach to that. Why would you abandon a label that’s a household name and sold over $16 million records? To me, I just think that it would be a better approach for your brothers to embrace you and give you your wishes and help you on. I mean, nobody wants to feel like they’re by themselves. We’re all talented enough to do our own solo projects, and that’s what everyone’s pretty much doing but our group won’t break up. AHHA: Have you signed to a label for your solo project or are you going to go through the independent route? Slim: Well, I know but I’m not going to talk about it yet. With me, everything that I’m going to do is probably going to be a real event once all of the paper work is done. It’s pretty much done but I can’t really say it. It has happened and it’s real fun. AHHA: The group’s no longer signed to Def Soul. What’s 112’s label situation right about now? Slim: The group was offered a deal, but we haven’t attacked that yet with just the three of us. AHHA: Why choose to do your own solo thing now and not sooner? Slim: You know why? I mean, the labels been after me since the group started, but first of all, I never had any intentions in my wildest to go solo. I felt like with me, everybody hears me all the time and I look at myself like I’m just a regular cat and the fans are like, “Yo! what are you waiting on?” I literally went around the world, I went to Australia, the Philippines and places like that, and everybody kept asking me what I was waiting on. It had to be the fans first, and then after the fans say they want to hear it, I’m here. AHHA: 112 worked with Notorious B.I.G at the beginning of your careers. What do you remember from working with Big? Slim: Oh man, working with Biggie was incredible he was like a big brother. I miss him a lot. He definitely took us underneath his wings, and when we first moved from Atlanta to New York, he was one of the first people that really showed us around and he took us to his shows. He had just come out. and he was letting us see what he had to deal with and what we should be ready for. AHHA: Outside of the rap game, can you tell us about some of Biggie’s hidden talents? Slim: He could definitely sing. He had great melodies and he was an incredible comedian. When you look at him he looked intimidating. but he was very peaceful and he’d give you the shirt of his back… he was very, very kind. AHHA: Do you often look back and listen to 112 albums? Slim: Well I listen to all of them. I guess I listen to the album for different reasons – just to see where was I at that part of my life, and see where I’ve evolved and where I’m going to go with the next album. AHHA: 112’s fourth album Hot & Wet wasn’t well received at all. When you listen back to it, can you see why? Slim: The fourth album… we were going through a lot and that came across through the record, and I don’t think that the fans really wanted to hear heartache and all that stuff. They wanted to see us all happy and not depressing. So for the fifth album we started going in the right direction, and I think that it reflected in our album sales everybody was like, “Ok that’s 112 again.” So I now know what I’m going to do with my solo album, I know where I’m about to go. I won’t tell y’all right now, but it’s very star-studded. AHHA: How do you feel you have developed as an artist and songwriter? Slim: I think I’m more matured now … a little bit more matured and seasoned. You can tell the transition with 112. We were very good guys. and we never really experienced everything. We started getting older and started experiencing things, and we really started having fun with tracks like “Anywhere” and “Peaches and Cream.” AHHA: You guys started dancing all of a sudden in you videos as well. Slim: We love to dance, and you can tell how we started to learn how to dance and stuff when we did records like “Dance With Me.” As we started getting older, you could tell that the subjects and stuff started changing. I think that we’ve got much craftier with the pen. Like, we can say pretty much what we wanted to say without offending anyone. We could probably say something really slick and naughty and nobody would ever know unless months go on and people are like, “You know what? I think they were being slick.” AHHA: 112 has a lot of hits. Which song would you say gets the biggest crowd reception? Slim: Well that’s hard, but we could go all around the world with “Only You”. Everybody knows “Only You”, that’s a worldwide joint. Girls love “Anywhere” “Cupid” is explosive, “It’s Over Now” for real Hip-Hop heads, off course “Peaches and Cream.” It’s hard to choose, but if you see our shows its like once we jump in, from the time we jump on the stage were not playing with you. We were blessed to have a string of classics and hits so it’s kinda cool. AHHA: Are you aware of how you want your album to sound, and are you conscious of not trying to sound like 112? Slim: I’m incredibly conscious, because at the end of the day I’m trying to leave a legacy. If I do the same thing that everybody else is doing it would be so unlike me, because 112 have always been trendsetters and when we came out everybody was singing ballads. We came out with Mint Condition, Boyz II Men and Jodeci, and we were the first group to come straight to the clubs and make everybody dance. Then we said, “You know what, lets start dancing” then everybody [started] dancing, so its like, “Why be in the same group and go out and be a trendsetter to go solo, and sing the same thing everybody else is?” To do that would waste time and everybody else’s money, and people will be like, “Yo Slim, what are you doing?” I want for people to buy my joint and know that if they stick this CD in here, the only button they will press is play. AHHA: You’ve recorded a lot of baby making joints. Will they feature on your album? Slim: Most definitely. During the time I was making the album, I keep on hearing all these aggressive songs on the radio taking about “I hate you” or “I can get another you in a minute,” and I think that people forgot how to romance. AHHA: So you’re bringing sexy back? Slim: Right! Females still want to be courted and us cats like the chase. Romancing needs to get back but in a cool way. I just want to show that there are still morals in this. AHHA: With Big, you saw first hand what can happen when feuds escalates, so what’s your take on the Hip-Hop beefs of today? Slim: With rappers, once you meet them they’re just like everyone else. Off course if you come at them crazy then off course you’re going to see that side and I think the only thing that really makes Hip-Hop so aggressive is that everybody is trying to be the king of something. Everybody’s trying to be on top, and in order to take over that kingdom, you must topple it. Rappers are not being the most lyrical. There’s not a lot of lyrical rappers these days so sometimes you have to use other means to get attention. Thank God I’m in the R&B side. I’m Hip-Hop but I’m R&B and I know my lane. I’m cool enough to hang with Slim Thug, like I just came back with Slim Thug and Mannie Fresh… AHHA: So you’re saying there’s going to be a collaboration with Slim Thug and Mannie Fresh on your album? Slim: [nods] … but at the same time I’m R&B, I sing love songs. AHHA: Do you have confidence that your new label will market your record properly? Slim: Well let me put it like this: I’m at a label where damn near everybody is off the Richter scale and I don’t have no competition. Because if you go through the roster of each and everyone in that label whatever label you find that doesn’t have a male R&B artist, you’ll know what label. AHHA: You’ve spoken very fondly of 50 Cent, and as far as I know, G-Unit Records don’t have male R&B vocalists… Slim: [smiles] You’ll find out soon enough