EXCLUSIVE: SLIMKID3 interview by Tim Einenkel

TIM EINENKEL: You have been in the music industry for quite a while, what keeps you going? Why do you still rap? Are the reasons you rap today, the same as when you first started out? SLIMKID3: The reason I still rap is because (aside from the fact that it's what I do for a living) things like creative writing, music, film, photography -- these are still my core passions. And they are the same passions I had when I first started out. TIM EINENKEL: LA Weekly recently named Bizarre Ride II on their list of Top 20 Greatest L.A. Rap Albums of All Time, writing: "If gangsta rap looked at life in L.A. through a grime-caked, cracked rear window, The Pharcyde took a bird's-eye view. Filled with jazzy horns, pianos and live drums instead of gunshots and squealing police sirens, their playful hip-hop offered an easygoing alternative to reality rap. On Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, producer J-Swift's beats are lushly layered, and balance well with the group's intricate lyrics. Still, the quartet skips through an album that seems written in Crayolas and broadcast in Technicolor." What does this place in history mean for you? Can you take the readers into the creative process going into Bizarre Ride II? SLIMKID3: I think it was magical to come out in an era of complete gangster rap and to be given respect for our playful edge. We had no idea we were going to be accepted in the ways that we were. We had no idea that actual gangsters were going to take to our music wholeheartedly. It was a breath of fresh air for all of us. We were surprised to see our gangster friends come up to us and let us know how proud they were of us -- and how much it changed their lives even. So it was a very special time in our life. TIM EINENKEL: Did you guys have a theme for the album prior to the making of the album or did that theme develop organically? SLIMKID3: We didn't have a theme for the album prior to making it... because we were too busy making it. We spent hours upon hours, days upon days, freestyling over instrumentals onto dat tapes. Basically, we were just taking in life, sitting around shooting the shit, playing pool, and having life experiences -- then coming back to the studio only to make a lyrical ambrosia…(laughs)…of the current week. Everything was in flow. The album was just a tapestry of all our experiences. TIM EINENKEL: What is your favorite track on the album? SLIMKID3: My favorite track on Bizarre Ride is "Passin Me By" because it had the most magical feel to it. You could really feel that it was going to succeed. It would just make the hairs on your arms stand up just listening to it. There was always major spirit energy looming through the studio when it played. But I would also say that about the whole album. Yeah...we were being watched. TIM EINENKEL: You describe the made theme behind “Another Day Another Dollar” featuring DJ Nu-Mark as, "A major theme in my life for some time. I have always worked hard and wanted to do great things and have nice things as well, but it seemed that I could never keep up." When did you decide you needed to put this major theme in your life to a song? Can you discuss more regarding your inspiration behind this song? SLIMKID3: The theme of "Another Day Another Dollar" is just something that hits you constantly right now. It's not that there was any certain major point when it started. It's just the fact that you keep hitting that same wall, that recurring theme. Like groundhog's day. But I would have to say, after listening to the beat for a while and going through sitting at my computer for hours on end, drifting off into the thought of "damn, I just had a lot of money...now I'm back at square one again," it made me think that no matter what I do, I still have to get up like the chickens and scratch. There was no particular date, it was just reflecting on the cycle. TIM EINENKEL: What advice would you give those who are just starting? SLIMKID3: To those who are just starting: make sure that this is what you love because your love and passion for this craft will get you through the lows. And it will help you to appreciate the highs. I made music when I didn't have a deal and just loved the writing. I love everything about my craft. So for anything that you are going to throw yourself into, you should make sure you truly love actually doing it -- whether it makes money for you or not. TIM EINENKEL: "Another Day Another Dollar" really details your own growth as a young business person who slowly learns life in the real world; in verse two you spit: "Welcome to a world where the ends don’t meet the means quite as sweet. Some lie, some cheat… Some ride or die, street smart and pack heat. All trying to eat with their ear to the street" So, my questions are: what point in your music career did you meet this reality? How did you handle this?…and what lessons did you learn? SLIMKID3: Becoming an independent artist with my own company, I realized: it's only you. The money that's in your pocket pays for your tours, pays for your music production, pays for everything. And it still doesn't mean that shit's gonna fly. I've learned that people have dreams and they are gonna get to their dreams even if they have to step on you. I've learned that people have to keep their ear to the street to understand the pulse of their current reality -- and that's just from growing up in the hood. You have to listen carefully. Everything that glitters isn't gold. All the cliches ring true when you are trying to achieve success. TIM EINENKEL: What has been your personal career highlight? SLIMKID3: There have been so many highlights that I don't even think about that anymore. I'm still trying to shine bright. But one personal high was Rock The Bells 2008. It was a special moment because I didn't realize how many fans we still had out there that truly appreciated our work. It was magical because I got to see how massive hip hop has grown and how massive we have grown. TIM EINENKEL: What has been your favorite album? Favorite single? SLIMKID3: I would say my favorite Pharcyde album was Labcabincalifornia. Because we were introduced to J Dilla and we actually made an album that fit our style. It was exactly what we were shooting for when we made Bizarre Ride. But Bizarre Ride was fuckin' fun 'cause we were young. I would say my favorite single was "She Said" because it was a track that I worked on for a long time and it was kind of a common theme of young-guy-meets-girl. TIM EINENKEL: Is there an album you wished you were apart of? SLIMKID3: 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul because they sound like they were having a lot of fun too. I wish we could have combined our Bizarre Ride and 3 Feet High and Rising together. TIM EINENKEL: What future projects are you working on? SLIMKID3: Currently I'm working on a solo album with Portland-based producer Tony Ozier and DJ Nu-Mark. That has been my primary focus so far. I've also worked on some songs with Uli Bella from Ozomatli and I just finished a project for Japan tsunami relief called "Move On" CanistarSounds (all proceeds go to helping the tsunami survivors in northern Japan). I've also been throwing a monthly dance party in Portland, Oregon where I DJ called Live & Direct with Rev Shines from Life Savas, DJ Nature, and Starchile. It's really blowing up. It's a lot of fun. TIM EINENKEL: Thanks so much for the interview. Peace and Blessings. Check out http://www.slimkid3.com/ for more information. - Tim Einenkel for HIPHOPGODS/RAPstation.com