Slim Jesus spreading his gospel
Ready to die?
Recently (and unfortunately), I found myself watching Hip-Hop journalist DJ Vlad’s interview of ‘Slim Jesus’, a 19-year-old, white rapper from suburban Ohio. Slim Jesus has recently experienced a jolt of success from his half-tempo, ode to gun-wagging called ‘Drill Time’ and the accompanying video which features him and his buddies pointing lasered-up glocks and techs toward their cameraman. On ‘Drill Time’, Slim, who some have mockingly compared to the cartoon character ‘Caillou’, brags incessantly about his vast collection of firearms and a gleeful willingness to use them before delivering his final line:
Ain’t afraid to catch a body and skip out from state to state/
and if there’s a witness, I’mma kill ’em too and I’mma beat the case
Now, there’s really nothing new or shocking about a song like ‘Drill Time’ and one could comfortably make the argument that Slim Jesus’s brand of tough-talk has become passé in Hip-Hop culture; I wouldn’t disagree. But, I did find one thing particularly refreshing about Slim Jesus which brings me back to the interview I referenced above. When DJ Vlad quizzed him about street credentials, Slim happily admitted that he had absolutely no connection to crime. In fact, SJ laughed off the idea of being involved in street work as “Stupid” saying, “I make music and I’m not out here doing some dumb shit trying to ruin what I got goin'”. When asked why he rapped about guns and murder, Slim unashamedly and inarticulately leveled with his interviewer, “That shit is dope. If i rapped about driving around in a car and listening to country music, no one would give a fuck about that shit. I make music about shit that sounds cool”.
Of course, the notoriety of ‘Drill Time’ and Slim Jesus’s admitted lack of street credibility quickly led to a backlash from so-called, ‘real’ street artists like ‘Lil’ Mouse’, ‘Chief Keef’ and, most famously, ‘The Game’ who kindly expressed a fear for ‘Slim’s’ safety lamenting, “Lives can be lost playing those games, be careful Slim Jesus”. In one sense, I can completely understand any negative reaction caused by a fully fabricated ‘Gangsta’ act and, particularly, the resentment felt by folks who actually endure the dangers of a criminal life. On the other hand, am I to believe that most ‘Gangsta’ rappers actually live out the lyrics in their songs? And the bigger question, should they?