April in Manhatten
Name: Uptown Slim
From: New Jersey
KK’s Top 3 songs: Nina, For the night, and Confessional Pt. II
Smokey’s Top 3 songs: Confessional Pt. I, Confessional Pt. II, illHearted
Uptown Slim is what I call a spoken word artist. He is a hip hop artist , but he is so far from the common hip hop artist (if there is a common one?) his style is almost indescribable. He’s a former college student that’s just trying to find himself. Although I don’t condone to students leaving college for reasons other than family issues, I believe that Slim knows what he’s doing by taking this time off from college to follow his dream. I had an opportunity to ask him questions and take a trip into Uptown Slim’s thoughts, and might I add that he is not the average “Dream chaser”.
KK: Where are you from?
Slim: I was born in Newark, NJ & moved everywhere from Morocco to Georgia but I’m now living in the burbs of Piscataway, NJ
KK: At what age did you start taking on an interest in music?
Slim: I don’t remember the exact age but I know I was in 6th grade when I started rapping & 7th when I joined choir and band.
KK: What made you start doing music?
Slim: At first it was just a hobby, something to keep me occupied, I wasn’t the most social kid out there. But I got serious about making music when I once complained about a song on the radio and someone said “make something better then.”
KK: Is music your passion, if it is why?
Slim: Music is definitely a passion of mine. It’s my life. Music is really what I think about every day. If I’m not writing or recording, I’m thinking of something to write or record. I feel like music is the only way to express myself, it’s me.
KK: Do a lot of people know of your music?
Slim: No, I’d say I’m pretty unknown but I love that fact. Nothing is expected of me. I can be as creative & unorthodox as I want to be.
KK: If you were to become famous from your music do you think you could handle the attention that comes with it?
Slim: I actually think I could. I’m not flashy; I’m not the type to let anything change me if it’s not for the better.
KK: Who are you inspired by?
Slim: Man… I’m inspired by Will Smith, Common, Frank Ocean, Nas, Andre 3000, Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, Al Green & Frank Sinatra. Also, Andy Warhol, I know he’s not a musician but he’s been a visual inspiration to my music.
KK: Who or what pushed you to do what you do now?
Slim: Friends… Once my friends heard me freestyle, they pushed me to record and told me to fit my own lane. I thank them every day for it.
KK: Has someone ever put down your music?
Slim: All the time, there are always people that will tell you “you’re not that good” or “you won’t make it” There was a girl who I recited some songs for; I could tell she was lost and everything went over her head but she said it was dope. Then I bashed her favorite artist and she decided it wasn’t so dope anymore.
KK: Would you consider yourself a “rapper” or an “Artist”?
Slim: I’m an artist; definitely. I don’t like to be put in a box. Once you call me a rapper, you’re limiting me. You’re not allowing me to expand. So yeah, I’m an artist. I play clarinet, trumpet, I’m taking guitar and piano lessons, I sing & rap.
KK: Have you ever written poetry?
Slim: Yes, I have. At the end of my song Soul Mate, there’s a poem I kinda just had to say off the top of my head because my iPod wouldn’t scroll. Confessional Part I and For the Night ft. Ashley Germain were both poems as well.
KK: Do you consider hip hop, poetry?
Slim: I consider hip-hop to be the culture. Poetry, rap, dance and beat-boxing make up hip-hop, in my opinion.
KK: Would you consider your music spoken word with a beat behind your words?
Slim: I would. It’s nothing but feelings and personal things going into each song, I basically just pick out a beat and write about whatever mood I’m in at the time.
KK: Are there any artist you want to work with, if so who and why?
Slim: Yes; Jhene Aiko, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Blu, Common and Andre 3000. I did the song “Lust” with my boy Travon “Treeeezy” Henry’s beat which sampled Jhene’s “You vs. Them” but that wasn’t satisfying. I feel like their whole outlook on music and life is similar to my own and I’d love to be able to make something great with them.
KK: Is music what you want to do as a career or is it just something you do for fun?
Slim: Both actually; I take music seriously but I also have fun doing it. It’s great and I can see myself doing this for a long time.
KK: What is the back story of “April in Manhattan”, What does that mean?
Slim: April is the most beautiful time of year to be in Manhattan in my opinion. I spent most of my time there when the tape was being created and I was listening to The RatPack: Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York and Sammy Davis Jr’s April in Paris really helped me come up with the name.
KK: What’s your favorite song on your mixtape and why?
Slim: It’s between Lust, the Color BluE and Confessional Part II. Lust was really my chance to be risky. I had only done one sex-themed song and that was For the Night. Color BluE was a dedication to my mom, my late exgirlfriend Angel and my grandmother who passed away before I was born so it meant a lot to me. Confessional Part II was really me pouring my soul out; I put everything into that song. There might just be a bonus version of the tape coming later this year so ask me this question again when that time comes.
KK: Would you ever change up your style just to “Blow up” and become popular by our generation?
Slim: Absolutely not; that’s what I feel is wrong with music now. Artists try to appeal to the masses but at the same time, the masses are eating whatever they’re given. If I’m not popular to some, I know I am to another group. That’s all that matters to me.
KK: Is there a special reason you wanted to start doing music? (To help out family, to get out a bad area, etc.)
Slim: I look at my old neighborhoods and areas like them and I start to feel bad, it’s like. We’re losing… in all areas of life. I want to be able to show people that you can do something positive and talk about something positive. You don’t have to sell drugs, rob people, or rap about selling drugs and robbing people.
KK: Who is UPTOWN SLIM?
Slim: Not too much to say. Slim is an ordinary, 6’3, African American dope rapper taking a break from college to work and pursue his dream. I honestly forgot where the name came from but even my best friends started to call me Slim so it kinda stuck. I like cake, meteor showers, comics and long walks on the beach lol