Already Platinum

Artist: Slim ThugTitle: Already PlatinumRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Clover Hope

While T.I. has established himself as the King of the South, Slim Thug is likewise solidifying his boss status, proving why he’s notorious in his Houston stomping grounds and why out-of-towners should take notice. With his debut album Already Platinum (Geffen), recorded after his original was scrapped due to bootlegging, Slim refines Houston’s signature sound, simultaneously differentiating himself from the ambitious pack of hungry MCs with similar platinum visions. The album effectively introduces a rapper who is sure to at least make a dent in the rap world, but given his 6’6 frame, is likely to make lasting impressions.

New Yorkers, always in constant motion, relish the fast life. But in the South, everything, including the music, is decelerated for effect. With the explosion of rappers like T.I., Mike Jones, and the above-mentioned, city-dwellers are beginning to appreciate the charming Southern drawl. Slim’s familiar baritone flow is easily his best asset, setting him apart from others who feebly emulate the South’s syrupy twang. He accounts his rags-to-riches story with exceptional production from the Neptunes, who co-executive produce along with Rob Walker. Much of the album, in fact, is dedicated to restating and confirming Slim’s platinumosity, including the lead single “Like a Boss,” in which he flaunts his sumptuous lifestyle.

On the catchy title track, Pharrell debonairly corroborates Slim’s lofty ranking beside a thumping drum-cymbal beat. But the braggadocio is not without praise to his humble beginnings. On meditative tracks like “This is my Life” and “Ashy to Classy,” Slim explains his street-to-chic upgrade: “Now I’m the one ridin’ clean, just made 17/But I ain’t satisfied with the cash the block brings/And them laws snatchin’ ni**as off the corner every night/’cause boys treat this shit like it’s a normal 9-to-5.” On another expressive track, “Miss Mary,” Slim doles out an ode to Mary Jane, using love metaphors to describe his fixation: “I’ll hold you close to me late at night/Face to face we meet and greet and everythang’s aight/You’re nothing less than a dime when you in my sight.” In “The Interview,” he converses with a reporter, who inquires about his Texas foundations and recent ascension to stardom, while the final track “Dedicate” finds the Boss pensively lamenting about losing his homies to street violence.

With a savvy swagger that most rappers can rarely back up, Slim effortlessly shoos the haters and continues on his platinum trail, compiling bouncy cuts and substantial tracks that peer into his old harsh life and his new copious one. Still, you get the sense that even without the lucrative “Bentleys and Hummers” he so avidly pursues, Slim would savor being a celebrity in his hometown, his most important resting spot. Fortunately for rappers like him, though, everything touched soon turns platinum.

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