Houston is having a new moment in the hip hop sun thanks to young guns like Kirko Bangz, Ashton Travis, Delo, Marcus Manchild and more. But it's not like Space City hasn't been here before. In the mid-2000s, the city exploded in the wake of swaggerific spitters including Paul Wall, Chamillionaire and Mike Jones (Who? No, seriously, where has he been?). But one of the most successful rappers in Houston hip hop's post-millennial new wave was undoubtedly Slim Thug, who collaborated with T.I., Bun B, Gwen Stefani and fellow H-Town native Beyoncé, on her No. 1 hit "Check on It," and hit big with his 2005 major label debut Already Platinum. The so-called Boss Hogg has served as a mentor of sorts for Houston's new crop of talent, and recently sat down with BET.com to discuss the city's promising youngbloods as well as his own new project.
Slim Thug gives plenty props to Houston's upstarts, but he says he's particularly close with Kirko Bangz, who recently topped the Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B chart with his hit "Drank in My Cup."
"It’s definitely a new wave, man, and I’m so proud of little Kirko," Thugga says. "He came in the game and he didn’t really have no co-signs or nothing. He just was doing his own thing and he reps for the city so well. He went No. 1 with that record; it’s just crazy. I love to see that. He’s one of my little homeboys. He always would come and holla at me for advice or whatever. I expect big things out of Kirko. When you’re young like that and you’ve got that much ambition, you’re destined to make it in this game."
The new breed definitely seems to be lighting a fire under Slim, who's prepping a ton of new music. He says he's got a new album with Z-Ro in the works that should be done "ASAP," an upcoming mixtape titled Welcome to Texas Pt. 3 and a new solo LP, Hogg Life, which he seems most excited about.
"I expect Hogg Life to be something real serious," he says. "I want to work with producers from everywhere. I even want to get with Pharrell again on some. I definitely want to get with Lex Luger. I got with Drumma Boy already on something."
Though Slim has long championed the independent hustle, he says he may aim higher this time around. "I’m not signed to nobody right now, and that's just how I’m playing it," Slim says. "I usually just do one album deals with [indie label E1] but I don’t know if they’re going to be able to take that album as far as I want to take it. I don’t want it to just be no one single one and done. I want it to be something that I get to do more than one single off of."
Indie or no, though, Slim seems more than confident than ever in his new music. "I just plan on [Hogg Life] being the craziest album I ever did, so I’m working extra, extra hard on it," he says. "I want it to be just all the way turned up. I won’t settle for less — its going to definitely be my best project…I put that on everything."
Houston, we have a problem.
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(Photo: Adrian Sidney/PictureGroup)