Slick Talk has been consistently enhancing the burgeoning Austin Hip Hop scene as part of the TX collective The League Of Extraordinary G’z. He’s readying his upcoming EP deathbeDreams, a project produced entirely by Eric Dingus. You may know Dingus most recently for delivering an impressive remix of Drake’s “Worst Behavior,” that wowed fans (including Drake himself). As for Slick Talk, well, he’s been keeping busy. When he’s not rapping, Slick is serving in the Navy (previously stationed in Afghanistan, but currently bouncing between Nevada and San Diego. He delivers his third single “Swarm” exclusively to HipHopDX and discusses the nature of the track, along with what inspires him to keep creating.
What was your main inspiration for creating this song? The state of the rap game, and what I perceive to be my place in it.
What message(s) did you intend to relay? At the heart, it’s about authenticity. In many ways I think the Rap game is better than it’s ever been, but our expectations as fans when it comes to “realness” have shifted. We allow a lot to pass. It’s not just about who’s a shooter or who really pushed dope. It’s about making art that’s true to who you are. When you put your reality into a record, it bleeds through, and people feel it in a different way.
Give me an example of a poignant lyric that either highlights your lyrical skill or perfectly captures the mood of the song. “Guaranteed to drop game for gangs and misfits to memorize/ Radio’s a sick enterprise/ Ever catch me on that bitch, don’t say I sold out/ I’m just swatting the swarm in the center hive.” That’s the essence of the song right there, and the line that inspired the title, “Swarm.” I make music for the fans who sit in their rooms and obsessively break down every bar. Some artists intentionally make broad music that reaches the widest audience possible, and I pretty much do the opposite. Which is terrible business, but good art.
Who helped you with the creation of the song? What skills/vibe did they bring to the table? There was an earlier version of this song where I was singing the hook, and it felt a little flat. My LOEGz brother Reggie Coby came in and once again fleshed out the chorus, giving it a really haunting vibe. His voice was a perfect compliment to this album, and Eric Dingus’ production. I’m glad he plays a big part throughout.
What were your most enjoyable or challenging moments while creating it? From a purely technical point of view, this is probably the most lyrically complex song on the album. It’s dense, it has weight to it. About half the lines in the first verse have multiple meanings, and the whole second verse is built on multi-syllable alliteration that can be broken down multiple ways, for people who actually listen that close. And I know there are a few Rap fans like that out there, because I’m one of them. So on that level, this was one of my favorite songs to write. I’m a lyrical rapper at my core, and I think that’s what I do best.
Who/What inspires you? I pay attention to artists that make complex music, where the lyrics and production have weight to it and complexities that take a while to pick apart. Basically, I like dense records. Whether it’s Ghostface Killah or Charles Mingus, Earl Sweatshirt, Meshell Ndegeocello, James Mercer. That’s why I connected with Eric Dingus and wanted to do a whole project with him, because he makes really dense ambient noise. He sits in a dark room and wears big headphones and shapes his beats for hours. When I sat down and wrote “Swarm,” it was about making a dense record that takes multiple listens to crack and catch everything.
Who would you list as your influences? As far as influences, they’re kinda under the surface, but some of my biggest influences for the sound and feel of the deathbeDreams project were Koopsta Knicca, Witchdoctor (Dungeon Family), DJ Screw, and Do or Die. That late night riding music. I wanted to make a record that my 16-year-old self would’ve rode around after midnight smoking blunts to back in the day.
What would say is your mission in Hip Hop? I don’t really have much of a mission with music. The rest of the LOEGz will tell you that. I make music that I connect with personally, and I just hope other people feel the same way I do about it. I try not to think too much about what happens after I record a song. I hope people think of me as a great lyricist, because that’s the craft I care about.