Like the late 2Pac, J. Slim’s passion is the first thing that resonates with listeners.
“J. Slim is a true urban poet. It’s like a war reporter but he delivers his message in the spirit of a revolutionary,” fellow MC and local rap impresario Noah-O says. “You can hear it immediately in his voice — his passion and his pain.”
A sample lyric goes: “There is a war going on outside / kill a brother or eat my pride / blindfold when they see them crimes / it ain’t a choice if it’s you or mine / because the game is to be sold and never told / brothers can’t hold water so they crack the code / they say you ain’t nobody till you’re dead and gone / even with my people with me, I feel all alone.”
Slim’s spirited message is on full display on “Premeditation.” The 16-track mix tape, which captivated the capital city last year, was a collaboration between the 25-year-old rapper from the North Side and the Atlanta superproducer and celebrity, DJ Don Cannon.
The Richmond anthem “My Block” tells the story of his daily North Side environment: “They’re serving things on my block / You can feel the pain on my block / A lot of mommas crying on my block / They homicide on my block / They changing sides on my block / They telling lies on my block / Better keep the iron or get popped / Man, Richmond city is so hot.”
Slim says when he graduated from high school in 2008 he had three opportunities.
“I could have gone to the streets and hustled [drugs], I could have stayed in Richmond and worked as a manager of a shoe store, or I could have gone to college — which at the time I knew my family really couldn’t afford,” Slim says. “To be honest, college was hardest of those options, but I knew if I stayed in Richmond nothing good would have come out of that.”
Slim is now a graduate of Hampton University with a degree from its School of Business and is using the art of hustling for his music career.
With “Premeditation,” he says he’s proven that he can deliver content “that the streets can relate to,” though with the new projects he wants to prove “there are even more layers within me.” He’s working on two that he plans to release later this year.
“It may sound clichéd but I want to be an artist that sparks passion in the next generation,” Slim says. “I want people to relate to my music in a way that they know that we’re in this together.”