Stars pull from the pack. Shawnna started out as a member of the short-lived Infamous Syndicate, while Busta Rhymes was a Leader of the New School, and Young Jeezy was a Boy in the Hood. With the exception of N.W.A. and The Juice Crew, no group has ever had a full roster of stars, and even some skeptics could point to DJ Yella or T.J. Swan. Slim Thugs group The Boss Hogg Outlawz say they are breaking this trend, and as Killa Kyleon proclaims, A Chicago Bulls with five Michael Jordans.
NBA fantasy teams to left, this Houston collective has only one recognizable star beyond its city limits: Slim Thug. The almost platinum rap star from the Northside is joined by his Southside counterpart Killa Kyleon in a discussion on lyricism, dividing lines, and feature-heavy albums. With Serve & Collect on store shelves this week, its only a matter of time till somebody has to settle for Scottie Pippen status. Swish.
AllHipHop.com: Slim, you went gold. Youve been on huge remixes, and thanks to MTV and BET, youve become a major star. Of all the crossover fans, how many do you really think are willing to follow you to a group of folks they might not have heard on this album?
Slim Thug: I think a good amount of em will take a chance on this album. Id like to think I put out good music, and they can count on it. If they are true fans, they been hearin about this record a minute. They probably been waiting on it. It aint like I just put my name on this; Im on 12 songs. Im very involved with the project. If theyre true Slim Thug fans, then theyre gonna pick this record up.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your role in the Boss Hogg Outlawz? Within the group, what is Killa Kyleon bringing to the table?
Killa Kyleon: Im a Hip-Hop baby. Its lyricism with me. Its lyricism, and knowing how to make a song. A lot of dudes can come with a hot 16 [bars] every now and then, but Im gonna give you a hot concept and a hot 16 every time. Thats what I think Hip-Hops about.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of artists from Houston and from The Bay put out a ton of albums; Keak Da Sneak released like four albums last year. Being a lyricist, do you think quality forces its way over quantity? Whats your writing process like?
Killa Kyleon: My writing process what it takes a dude to do in an hour, I can actually do in 10 minutes. It comes to me, bro. The beat and I have a conversation. When Im through conversatin with the beat I dont even write to the beat, Im a dude, Im an author. I sit and home and write about everything that goes on damn near like poetry, bro. When a beat comes around, I already got somethin for it; the beat just fits the description. See, I come from the battle rap background, the cypher background, where we aint have beats to rap. It really dont take me no time.
AllHipHop.com: Being a battle rapper, who did you look up to?
Killa Kyleon: Oh my God, bro, my list goes on! Im an East Coast baby. I love [Kool] G Rap. I love Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One. When I go to the South, I love Luda and [T.I.]. My Top Three is different from a lot of guys Top Three. My Top Three is Fabolous, Bun B, and Jay-Z.
AllHipHop.com: You said G Rap, Kane and Bun B. What do you think of their collaboration Next Up on U.G.K.s new album?
Killa Kyleon: Thats the funkiest god damned track Ive heard in like damn near forever! That s**t, when they say Hip-Hop is dead, I think a lot of people took Nas [message] the wrong way. Pimp and Bun let everybody know, We f**ks with them. We aint on that bulls**t.
AllHipHop.com: Howd you meet Slim Thug? Whats that relationship stem from?
Killa Kyleon: Ive been knowing dude since he came into the game. I didnt know him personally, cause at the time, we had this Northside/Southside [of Houston beef]. Im a dude from the South, but I went to school on the North. At the time, I was a Screwed Up Click baby, and the North was startin with they Swishahouse thing. I heard dude. I never wouldve thought in a million years Id be rappin with dude. Chris Ward and Slim, back in 01, was doing a lot of work together. When I came over and jumped on the first mixtape, we been together ever since.
AllHipHop.com: Being from the Southside, weve got Lil Keke working with Swishahouse this year and your guys album. By 2008, do you think Houston wont even have those dividing lines?
Killa Kyleon: Oh hell yeah! We really been unified. E.S.G. and Slim Thug broke that barrier. They were the first to really step across that line and break. Then again, I take that back: Geto Boys broke it. Scarface is from the Southside; Willie D and Bushwick [Bill] was from the Fifth Ward. Its been goin down. Everybody was just in the dark about it. By 08, [Houston] is gonna look like Atlanta.
Slim Thug: The s**t is gonna be big. It always been pretty good. Me and E.S.G. were the first dudes to unite; its been a part of me. Ive always got love on both sides of town. I always got respect in any hood. This aint gonna be a surprise to the Houston people, cause with me, its been like that. Before me, Paul, Cham, and Mike, it was all Southside artists. Now, besides Keke, there really aint a Southside artist. They made all the Screw s**t big. I think its the Southside dudes that [give us] our slang. I feel like thats missing right now in the city.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your personal situation? Are you signed to Koch?
Killa Kyleon: Nah, Im signed to Geffen. Im signed to Boss Hogg/Geffen. When Slim signed the deal, I was a part of it. My resume is great. Im on gold and platinum records, and aint got no album out. I did tracks with Paul Wall, Im on Mike Jones [Who is Mike Jones?] album, Im on Slims [Already Platinum] album, and Im on Letoya Lucketts [self-titled] album. I got features with Chamillionaire [coming up].
AllHipHop.com: How much do you think the success of Serve & Collect will make Geffen expedite your process?
Killa Kyleon: Oh hell yeah! Itll make em speed that s**t up just as quick.
AllHipHop.com: The whole Grand Hustle clique recently made the cover of XXL. Do you think that the Boss Hogg movement can ever reach those kind of heights?
Killa Kyleon: Hell yeah, I see it happenin. I gotta say: just like East Coast had they time, then to the West, then the Midwest its in the South right now. We here. We been here. I see that happenin. I see more Southern artists breakin those covers, man. Theres a lot of talent here, man.
AllHipHop.com: You got a song Back to Front T.I. had Front Back, which was a remake of U.G.K.s Front, Back, Side to Side which sampled Eazy-E. This is getting confusing. Tell about this record
Killa Kyleon: Were the guys that aint on [VH1s] The Fabulous Life of ; we actually living what were rappin. Those are real personalities. Thats whats going on in the streets. Really, were not a group. Its like were the San Francisco Giants, and everybody on the squad is Barry Bonds. Were the Bulls in 97, but everybodys Jordan.
AllHipHop.com: At the same time, look at what happened to the original Outlawz, after Pac passed. Look at Junior M.A.F.I.A. after Biggie died. Weve heard that before, but besides N.W.A. and The Juice Crew, its never really been proven.
Killa Kyleon: But you wanna know something? You cant put all your ducks in a row. Everybody in the group got they own situation brewin. Were not just livin off Slim Thugs name. A lot of these guys thats in guys groups, they live off that persons name; they dont get out there and do they own legwork and footwork. No disrespect to The Outlawz or anybody else; Im not speakin on them Im speakin on Boss Hogg Outlawz. I know each one of can stand on our two feet without Slim. He came and f**ked with us, we didnt necessarily have to f**k with Slim. Were all bosses. Were bosses, were hoggin, and were all outlaws.
AllHipHop.com: Is that why there arent features on the album?
Killa Kyleon: Yeah, we done it like that simply because we didnt want that look. We gotta be hot on our own. With my record, youre not gonna see features. People will come to buy a Killa Kyleon album not a U.G.K. album, a Mike Jones album, a Paul Wall album. When you get the features, I dont think the press respects an album looking like a compilation album. When you got a million features, the songs not hot because of you.
AllHipHop.com: Slim, you had a heavy dose of features on Already Platinum, how does that opinion sit with you?
Slim Thug: Really, on my own s**t, that aint what I wanted. I never really wanted to do it like that, it just sorta ended up like that. It was a decision [Geffen] made. [For Boss Hogg Outlawz], it was either take away from their shine by putting extra n***as on there. I wouldnt have been mad if they wanted to get somebody on there or somethin. It was basically what they wanted. My whole s**t is settin them up as solo artists, or settin them up to the point where people recognize them where you can see them without seein Slim Thug, where they can have they own fanbase, they own shows thats where they see money at, not bein behind me or any other artist. It aint about me or if they got as much talent as me, they probably got more.