Famous last words. There have been many throughout hip-hop’s long history – such as Large Professor saying “Main Source Forever” just prior to their break-up or Dr. Dre proclaiming he doesn’t smoke weed on “Express Yourself”, and then later recording The Chronic. Slim Thug is next in line to eat his words with the release of his debut album, Already Platinum, which scanned around 200,000 copies the first week. Not quite platinum. But hey, there’s still time to work this record to Mike Jones’ levels of sales, right?
Slim Thug is second out of the Swishahouse family of emcees to make their leap into the major label scene, following his “Still Tippin” partner Mike Jones, as the Houston, Texas emcee delivers his Star Trak Records debut. As an emcee that’s not exactly “slim” and one who’s voice already sounds chopped and screwed without the aid of studio slowdown, one might wonder why this was Star Trak’s next solo rap act following The Clipse. As the story goes, Pharrell was down-south and saw Slim Thug literally live at the barbecue, with the locals treating him like a celebrity, and the rest is history. So where does ST’s appeal lie? While not a supreme lyricist by any means, his one-of-a-kind slow-flow and distinctive southern “drowl” give him the flair to make him a star in the commercial rap world.
Sonically, Already Platinum meets at the crossroads of Mike Jones’ recent Who Is Mike Jones and Clipse’s Lord Willin’; that is, primarily Neptunes production, Texas-style. Pharrell and Chad lend their signature sound to the south, with obnoxious anthems such as “Like A Boss” and “Click Clack” remaining true to the both the Houston and Neptunes sounds. There are in fact two incredible Neptunes produced moments on this LP. The first being lead single, “I Ain’t Heard Of That”, which bangs with persistant bongos and n.e.r.d.y hollowed-out guitar stabs as Thugga propels the cut with one of the most infectious hooks of the year. The second is the more raw title track “Already Platinum”, a minimalist underground beat with evolving, 6-in-the-morning-police-at-the-door drums and a hypnotic piano loop. The standout moments aren’t all owed to the Neptunes however, as other producers get their time to shine as well. “3 Kings” finds Slim Thug with fellow southern luminaries, Bun-B and T.I, over a Mr. Lee chopped “Secretary” sample, while Sha Money XL chimes in for the soulful “Interview” (once again reusing the Q&A concept), and can’t forget, Jazze Pha helps lead the flossy “Incredible Feeling”.
Granted, while the album does have its share of good moments, much of the rest of it wallows in mediocrity. The terribly predictable “Diamonds” follows the typical chopped and screwed hook formula that’s propelled Mike Jones’ hits such as “Still Tippin” and “Back Then”, but does little take Slim’s album to any next levels. The syrupy Jazze Pha driven “Everybody Loves A Pimp” helps exemplify everything that’s wrong with hip-hop these days in under five minutes, while the sleepy “Miss Mary” once again extends the ever so tired weed/lady metaphor. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. The album closes with two somewhat redeeming Neptunes selections, the autobiographical, G-Funk flavored “This Is My Life”, and the dead homiez anthem, “Dedicate”, with classic Pharrel crooning and an Eric B. and Rakim inspired bass drop. Both cuts find Slim Thug opening up a little deeper with more sincere honesty.
While Already Platinum has it’s moments, will it truly live up to its title? These days, it takes a strong LP that everyone agrees upon to get the certified RIAA plaque (or a shitload of a promotional budget), and unfortunately, Slim Thug has neither at this point in his career. Granted, this LP shows that he does have potential to be one of the South’s top voices in the future. Although, it may take some time and long hard thought before he can go and call his next album (cringe) Already Double Platinum.
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