Slim Thug & Killa Kyleon: Boss Hogg Outlawz

Stars pull from the pack. Shawnna started out as a member of the short-lived Infamous Syndicate, while Busta Rhymes was a Leader of the New School, and Young Jeezy was a Boy in the Hood. With the exception of N.W.A. and The Juice Crew, no group has ever had a full roster of stars, and […]

Stars pull from the pack. Shawnna started out as a member of the short-lived Infamous Syndicate, while Busta Rhymes was a Leader of the New School, and Young Jeezy was a Boy in the Hood. With the exception of N.W.A. and The Juice Crew, no group has ever had a full roster of stars, and even some skeptics could point to DJ Yella or T.J. Swan. Slim Thug’s group The Boss Hogg Outlawz say they are breaking this trend, and as Killa Kyleon proclaims, “A Chicago Bulls with five Michael Jordans.”

NBA fantasy teams to left, this Houston collective has only one recognizable star beyond its city limits: Slim Thug. The almost platinum rap star from the Northside is joined by his Southside counterpart Killa Kyleon in a discussion on lyricism, dividing lines, and feature-heavy albums. With Serve & Collect on store shelves this week, it’s only a matter of time till somebody has to settle for Scottie Pippen status. Swish. Slim, you went gold. You’ve been on huge remixes, and thanks to MTV and BET, you’ve become a major star. Of all the crossover fans, how many do you really think are willing to follow you to a group of folks they might not have heard on this album?

Slim Thug: I think a good amount of ‘em will take a chance on this album. I’d like to think I put out good music, and they can count on it. If they are true fans, they been hearin’ about this record a minute. They probably been waiting on it. It ain’t like I just put my name on this; I’m on 12 songs. I’m very involved with the project. If they’re true Slim Thug fans, then they’re gonna pick this record up. What’s your role in the Boss Hogg Outlawz? Within the group, what is Killa Kyleon bringing to the table?

Killa Kyleon: I’m a Hip-Hop baby. It’s lyricism with me. It’s lyricism, and knowing how to make a song. A lot of dudes can come with a hot 16 [bars] every now and then, but I’m gonna give you a hot concept and a hot 16 every time. That’s what I think Hip-Hop’s about. A lot of artists from Houston and from The Bay put out a ton of albums; Keak Da Sneak released like four albums last year. Being a lyricist, do you think quality forces its way over quantity? What’s your writing process like?

Killa Kyleon: My writing process…what it takes a dude to do in an hour, I can actually do in 10 minutes. It comes to me, bro. The beat and I have a conversation. When I’m through conversatin’ with the beat – I don’t even write to the beat, I’m a dude, I’m an author. I sit and home and write about everything that goes on damn near like poetry, bro. When a beat comes around, I already got somethin’ for it; the beat just fits the description. See, I come from the battle rap background, the cypher background, where we ain’t have beats to rap. It really don’t take me no time. Being a battle rapper, who did you look up to?

Killa Kyleon: Oh my God, bro, my list goes on! I’m an East Coast baby. I love [Kool] G Rap. I love Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One. When I go to the South, I love Luda and [T.I.]. My Top Three is different from a lot of guys’ Top Three. My Top Three is Fabolous, Bun B, and Jay-Z. You said G Rap, Kane and Bun B. What do you think of their collaboration “Next Up” on U.G.K.’s new album?

Killa Kyleon: That’s the funkiest god damned track I’ve heard in like damn near forever! That s**t, when they say “Hip-Hop is dead,” I think a lot of people took Nas’ [message] the wrong way. Pimp and Bun let everybody know, “We f**ks with them. We ain’t on that bulls**t.” How’d you meet Slim Thug? What’s that relationship stem from?

Killa Kyleon: I’ve been knowing dude since he came into the game. I didn’t know him personally, ‘cause at the time, we had this Northside/Southside [of Houston beef]. I’m a dude from the South, but I went to school on the North. At the time, I was a Screwed Up Click baby, and the North was startin’ with they Swishahouse thing. I heard dude. I never would’ve thought in a million years I’d be rappin’ with dude. Chris Ward and Slim, back in ’01, was doing a lot of work together. When I came over and jumped on the first mixtape, we been together ever since. Being from the Southside, we’ve got Lil’ Keke working with Swishahouse this year and your guys’ album. By 2008, do you think Houston won’t even have those dividing lines?

Killa Kyleon: Oh hell yeah! We really been unified. E.S.G. and Slim Thug broke that barrier. They were the first to really step across that line and break. Then again, I take that back: Geto Boys broke it. Scarface is from the Southside; Willie D and Bushwick [Bill] was from the Fifth Ward. It’s been goin’ down. Everybody was just in the dark about it. By ’08, [Houston] is gonna look like Atlanta.

Slim Thug: The s**t is gonna be big. It always been pretty good. Me and E.S.G. were the first dudes to unite; it’s been a part of me. I’ve always got love on both sides of town. I always got respect in any hood. This ain’t gonna be a surprise to the Houston people, ‘cause with me, it’s been like that. Before me, Paul, Cham, and Mike, it was all Southside artists. Now, besides Keke, there really ain’t a Southside artist. They made all the Screw s**t big. I think it’s the Southside dudes that [give us] our slang. I feel like that’s missing right now in the city. What’s your personal situation? Are you signed to Koch?

Killa Kyleon: Nah, I’m signed to Geffen. I’m signed to Boss Hogg/Geffen. When Slim signed the deal, I was a part of it. My resume is great. I’m on gold and platinum records, and ain’t got no album out. I did tracks with Paul Wall, I’m on Mike Jones’ [Who is Mike Jones?] album, I’m on Slim’s [Already Platinum] album, and I’m on Letoya Luckett’s [self-titled] album. I got features with Chamillionaire [coming up]. How much do you think the success of Serve & Collect will make Geffen expedite your process?

Killa Kyleon: Oh hell yeah! It’ll make ‘em speed that s**t up just as quick. The whole Grand Hustle clique recently made the cover of XXL. Do you think that the Boss Hogg movement can ever reach those kind of heights?

Killa Kyleon: Hell yeah, I see it happenin’. I gotta say: just like East Coast had they time, then to the West, then the Midwest…it’s in the South right now. We here. We been here. I see that happenin’. I see more Southern artists breakin’ those covers, man. There’s a lot of talent here, man. You got a song “Back to Front”… T.I. had “Front Back,” which was a remake of U.G.K.’s “Front, Back, Side to Side” which sampled Eazy-E. This is getting confusing. Tell about this record…

Killa Kyleon: We’re the guys that ain’t on [VH1’s] The Fabulous Life of…; we actually living what we’re rappin’. Those are real personalities. That’s what’s going on in the streets. Really, we’re not a group. It’s like we’re the San Francisco Giants, and everybody on the squad is Barry Bonds. We’re the Bulls in ’97, but everybody’s Jordan. At the same time, look at what happened to the original Outlawz, after ‘Pac passed. Look at Junior M.A.F.I.A. after Biggie died. We’ve heard that before, but besides N.W.A. and The Juice Crew, it’s never really been proven.

Killa Kyleon: But you wanna know something? You can’t put all your ducks in a row. Everybody in the group got they own situation brewin’. We’re not just livin’ off Slim Thug’s name. A lot of these guys that’s in guys’ groups, they live off that person’s name; they don’t get out there and do they own legwork and footwork. No disrespect to The Outlawz or anybody else; I’m not speakin’ on them – I’m speakin’ on Boss Hogg Outlawz. I know each one of can stand on our two feet without Slim. He came and f**ked with us, we didn’t necessarily have to f**k with Slim. We’re all bosses. We’re bosses, we’re hoggin’, and we’re all outlaws. Is that why there aren’t features on the album?

Killa Kyleon: Yeah, we done it like that simply because we didn’t want that look. We gotta be hot on our own. With my record, you’re not gonna see features. People will come to buy a Killa Kyleon album – not a U.G.K. album, a Mike Jones album, a Paul Wall album. When you get the features, I don’t think the press respects an album looking like a compilation album. When you got a million features, the song’s not hot because of you. Slim, you had a heavy dose of features on Already Platinum, how does that opinion sit with you?

Slim Thug: Really, on my own s**t, that ain’t what I wanted. I never really wanted to do it like that, it just sorta ended up like that. It was a decision [Geffen] made. [For Boss Hogg Outlawz], it was either take away from their shine by putting extra n***as on there. I wouldn’t have been mad if they wanted to get somebody on there or somethin’. It was basically what they wanted. My whole s**t is settin’ them up as solo artists, or settin’ them up to the point where people recognize them – where you can see them without seein’ Slim Thug, where they can have they own fanbase, they own shows – that’s where they see money at, not bein’ behind me or any other artist. It ain’t about me or if they got as much talent as me, they probably got more.