EXCLUSIVE: Slug & Murs Discuss Reuniting On ‘Felt 4’ & Reminisce On The Early Days

AllHipHop talks with Slug & Murs about their 11-year hiatus, creating the project before quarantine, the evolution of Felt, favorite comics, the passing of Chadwick Boseman, and more!

Slug and Murs have reunited and released their first new album from Felt in over a decade. Surprise releasing it to their very loyal fanbases, the dynamic duo blesses hip-hop with the release of Felt 4 U. Boasting 12 records, the project is entirely produced by Ant of Atmosphere, which is only right given the trio’s history and success.

With both artists equipped with their out-of-this-world, comedic personalities, the synergy on the records are seemingly flawless. Their camaraderie has been a driving force in their creativity and lyrics, serving as a role model for all aspiring MCs who hope to achieve the stature they have peaked in their lifetime.

Felt 4 U speaks volumes to the current times, touching on everything from social justice to politics to overall culture. Beyond the music, both are fathers and extremely family-oriented, with Slug even joining the Zoom interview from his children’s schoolroom in Minnesota. Murs came in hot with the “Go!” Netflix show background, a subtle reminder of his love for comics and movies.

AllHipHop: New album Felt 4 U! How are you guys feeling now that it’s out?

Murs: Relief, wo we don’t get that question “when’s the next Felt?”

Slug: I’m nervous, I’m scared to hear what people think of it. I’ve been avoiding the internet, I don’t want to know. I hope they like it.

AllHipHop: I can never tell when you’re serious.

Murs: [laughs] I never know when he’s serious, that’s why it took so long to record Felt 4 U because I didn’t know when he’s serious or not. He’s like “let’s do this record, just kidding!”

AllHipHop: How has the fan reception been?

Slug: They think it’s glorious. They think it’s genius. The s##t’s genius.

Murs: Rap genius, but not really anymore. I think the fans are happy.

Slug: Murs, what’s your favorite song on there?

Murs: “Trees” or “Through The Night.” They’re fun to do. I got to razzle dazzle Slug with my rapping skills on “Through The Night,” then “Trees” was fun to write together. Right on top of each other, sharing bars.

Slug: [Mine are] “Through The Night,” “Trees,” “Underwater,” “Hologram,” “Crimson Skies,” all that s##t.

AllHipHop: Where are you right now?

Slug: I’m at school in Minnesota. This is the distance learning center, we call it the school house. It used to be a studio, now it’s school. Every day, we bring them over here to get them away from the distractions.

Murs: That’s the workhouse where we recorded Felt 4. It’s usually a huge man cave, now he transformed it into a virtual school. f##k you COVID, you killed the studio. COVID killed the man cave.

Slug: Nah, I like coming over here with them. It’s a different energy. When they’re busy working on stuff, I can do a little bit of work myself. It’s a good energy, the snacks are even healthier now that they’re here.

Murs: Do they play the video game when they get a break?

Slug: Yeah, we have f##k Off time. When it’s f##k Off time, they get to f##k off and play the video games.

AllHipHop: You don’t say f##k off do you?

Murs: I curse at my children regularly.

Slug: [laughs] Would it be bad if I said f##k off in front of my kids? You think they don’t hear my music?

AllHipHop: How old are they now?

Slug: The two that come over here are 10 and 6.

Murs: Mine are 1, 2, and 7.

AllHipHop: Omg, you have a 1-year-old?

Murs: Yeah, he’s a f##ker. A fat f##ker though, I like him. I like him better than I liked his brothers at his age. I said I love you, he’ll come kiss me. He’s cute. He’s cuter than the rest of them at this point. Cute babies can get ugly later but right now, he’s winning the cute race.

AllHipHop: I’m sending this to your other kids.

Murs: They think he’s really cute too. He’s chubby. We’re all vegan skinny in this house, he’s got some meat on his bones. He’s vegan thick, so he’s cute.

Slug: He’s vegan Pikachu. When you say vegan thick it makes me think of Pikachu.

AllHipHop: How long have you been vegan Murs?

Murs: I’ve been vegan off and on since ‘04. I’ve been vegetarian since ‘93.

AllHipHop: Has that helped your clarity when you’re making music?

Murs: No not at all, I just don’t want to die early.

Slug: When we made the first Felt, you weren’t vegetarian bro. I’d never met nobody who’d get excited about a new burger at a fast food joint, you’re the first person. You took me to Carl’s Jr. to get the $6 burger.

Murs: I haven’t had beef since I was 15, it had to be a chicken sandwich.

Slug: They only charged $4, I remember this specifically. You were mad they charged $4 for something called the $6 burger. I’m telling you, it’s burned in my memory. [laughs]

Slug, Murs and Ant

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Photo credit: Dan Monick

AllHipHop: What was your friendship like when you guys made the first Felt back in 2002?

Slug: It was great. It was glorious, because we both drank. We both kicked it, lots of jokes. It’s a new friendship so we didn’t know each other well enough to annoy each other yet. We weren’t getting on each other’s nerves yet. It wasn’t until tour that we learned how to push each other’s buttons.

AllHipHop: What happened on tour?

Murs: Everything.

Slug: We’re both frontmen, both the center of the universe. When you have two centers of a universe inside of one universe, the gravity gets all f##ked up.

Murs: Lauryn Hill said two emcees can’t occupy the same space at the same time, it’s against the laws of physics. On the second Fugees album.

AllHipHop: Why’d it take over a decade to create another project?

Murs: We were busy.

Slug: Sample clearance.

Murs: I like that, sperm sample clearance really.

Slug: We were making familiest. We had to keep our own trains on the tracks. We had lots of people waiting on us. In order to even make this one, we had to get our families together to hang out with each other. A joint family vacation.

AllHipHop: Where did you guys do the vacation?

Slug: Right here. Minneapolis, that’s where I always take my vacations.

AllHipHop: Murs, can you explain your background for us?

Murs: It’s a show called “Go!” on Netflix, a Mexican telenovela for teenagers. My son got into it during quarantine because the boys and girls kissed. I came in, he’s sneak watching it. I said “I don’t give a s##t, watch it.” The theme song is in Spanish, it’s a hit in this house.

AllHipHop: Was Felt 4 U made during quarantine?

Murs: It was made a year before.

Slug: Before quarantine, we made it in June of 2019. We had a tour scheduled to start in August of 2020, it got canceled. This record went into the system before quarantine even happened, January of 2020. They asked us if we wanted to hold the record, we decided “nah, let’s keep the release date and put it out.” We haven’t dropped in so long, people can listen to this while you make out with your partner.

AllHipHop: You guys have both toured the world. When you found out you weren’t touring, were you happy or sad?

Slug: I was sad because it’d been so long. We haven’t toured together since 2007, we went on the Paid Dues tour together.

AllHipHop: I told Murs last time to bring back Paid Dues.

Slug: Murs, you should totally bring back Paid Dues.

Murs: You should bring back Soundset.

AllHipHop: What positives have come out of quarantine?

Slug: I need self-help. I need more than just self-help. I learned I’m not as patient as I thought I was, not as good of a parent. I got a lot to work on, it’s been a good thing though. I’ve been on some go, go, go for so long that forcing me to slow down and figure out more about myself has been a blessing in disguise.

Murs: I learned I can water my plants and grow vegetables. I got Click & Grow so I started in the house under this UV light, then I take it outside and my wife puts it in the ground. I water them everyday and watch s##t grow. It’s crazy, it’s like an entrepreneur getting laid off. I’ve worked for myself, I’ve worked traveling for 20 plus years. Can you imagine without warning…? Wasn’t even two week notice. f##k it, you’re done. I don’t get furloughed, I can’t collect unemployment. It’s been a trip man.

AllHipHop: What do you guys think of OnlyFans?

Murs: I’ve been doing the artist version of that to make money, which is Patreon. I’m watching this thing on YouTube saying OnlyFans might give a better split. I can still upload music to OnlyFans, it doesn’t have to be porn but their split’s better than Patreon.

Slug: Somebody from OnlyFans contacted me, trying to convince me to start up over there. I think they’re trying to tap into the artist market. I need to learn how to do all that s##t, I don’t even have a Patreon. I’m really not very tech, I don’t even know how to use Zoom correctly. I’ma be that guy. I’ll end up starving, they’ll be like “you didn’t have to starve, you could’ve totally did a Patreon.”

Murs: I’m on Twitch. I got him on my Twitch, we did some interviews. That was fun. Whenever Sean’s ready to come on…

AllHipHop: What do you post to Patroeon?

Murs: I do a new song and a freestyle every month. I do some podcasts, lots of other goodies depending on how much you subscribe. I have my S-tier people, so we’re playing fantasy football. They’re elite fans, they pay more a month. I send them all vinyl when s##t drops. They got to know about Felt 4 10 minutes before anybody else. I’m on there more than I’m on Instagram because Instagram’s taking your content and making s##t tons of money. I’d rather give it to people who give a f##k. Even if they give me $1 a month, I’d rather give it to them first.

AllHipHop: Off the rip, “Never Enough” has you reflecting on what’s important in life. Was there a time in your guys’ career that you felt not as fulfilled?

Slug: Fulfillment is like happiness and these other non-tangible types of adjectives. I don’t really know what it is. I know what the absence of it is, but I don’t know what the opposite of the absence of it truly is. It’s constant. You’re on a quest but if you were to get to the destination, what would you do? If one day: “ahh, I’m happy!” What does that even f##king mean? I believe you get glimpses of it, in short spurts. I can’t even wrap my head around what fulfillment as an artist is. I know there’s times I feel fulfilled, but all that means is I have to move the goal post further and keep going. I’m not unhappy, per se. You balance man, do your best to feel better more often than feeling worse.

Murs: Try to find a balance, an artist made a really good song about that. I had to rap it six times in 24 hours once. I set the Guinness Book of World Records, “Trying To Find A Balance” was one of them. I can’t even hear the word balance without going into 16 bars.

AllHipHop: You say “Sacrifice is key,” what sacrifices did both of you have to make?

Murs: Everlast posted something online, every religion has a sacrifice. To get deep, Christianity is the only religion that I know of where God made a huge sacrifice. Losing his son, seeing his son be tortured. Even our dream is a jealous entity. If you’re not going to give up something for it, you’re not going to achieve it. My first sacrifice to the game was the acceptance of my mother. She said “if you leave here to be a rapper, you’re never coming back home.” I still don’t love any woman in the world more than I love my mother. I said “f##k it, hip-hop or die. I’m out, peace. f##k this s##t.” To have her disdained, that lasted years.

Sacrificing the approval of your loved ones is one of the many sacrifices you can make it in this game. Someone told my manager, “oh yeah, Dogg sleeps two hour intervals four times a day. I’m thinking he’s smoking weed, hanging out all the time. The artist you think have the wackest lyrics, make sacrifices. Tekashi’s making sacrifices too. Anyone getting it in any field of work is making sacrifices. You have to make sacrifices you can live with. “Sacrifice is key, but never make it harder than it has to be.” I’m a victim of that, making my life harder than it has to be. You got to find that balance.

Slug: It’s hard to follow that answer, it’s good like a sermon. I agree with all of it. To me, it’s a nonstop thing. You’re constantly making sacrifices, you pick and choose what. Mostly I sacrifice my time, my health, my body, my relationships. When you do find things that make you happy, ultimately those are the things you have to sacrifice in order to obtain more happiness. It’s a nonstop sacrifice, it goes every direction. Currently, I’m sacrificing my music in order to take care of other responsibilities. It’s not even about music, it’s about life in general. Nobody will stop having to choose one path at a fork in the road on a regular basis, you’re sacrificing something when you make that choice. Y’all gonna make me cry, I’m a crier.

AllHipHop: What was the dynamic working with Ant of Atmosphere on this one?

Murs: He did Felt 2 so it was familiar, but everybody has leveled up. Ant’s working with different people, his sound’s more refined. Rap isn’t a sport. Sean and Ant are in better shape when we did Felt 2 or 3, they’re two people who work at their craft and I’m in a better place. Always good to check in with Ant, I sent him a text the other day saying I’m thinking of him. He hit me when the album dropped, it took me 2.5 weeks to reply because I got kids and craziness. He’s such a grounded person, one with the force for real. He could do something and say “you should do this,” it’s like yeah!

He’s very honest without being judgemental. It’s always good to have his influence. We knew what he was going to say before he said certain stuff on the record, we’re trained to be like “nah, Ant’s not gon’ go for that. We gotta do that part over, we gotta change this word.” He surprised us because he’s a dad now. He let me get away with a Star Wars reference, we didn’t think the R2D2 was going to get the sample clearance.

Slug: Yo, for real. That’s part of the game with Ant: trying to sneak Star Wars references past him because they make him mad. He gets mad at those.

AllHipHop: Why?

Slug: He thinks they’re corny. He’s not the same as us, he’s a little bit older. He’s a fan of Star Wars but he didn’t nerd out like me or maybe Murs might’ve. It makes sense to drop a Star Wars reference in my raps. To him, Rakim would never say that so why would you?

AllHipHop: Murs, what’s your favorite comic of all time?

Murs: Sheesh, that hurts. You hit me right in the nuts with that one. Everyone has to say Black Panther now, right? Specifically, the Priest run on Marvel Knights. Reginald Hudlin’s run on Marvel and Black Panther, where he married Storm and Shuri became the Black Panther. Final answer.

AllHipHop: Slug, you got one?

Slug: I can’t really say I have a favorite comic. Like anything, I fell in and out. When I was younger, I liked Spider-Man. I liked the Hulk. I liked anything Marvel. I went away and when I came back, I got into the stuff on Image and Vertigo. I was more of a graphic novel dude.

Murs: I’ma pick one for him. There’s a new comic on Skybound called Excellence, which is New Jack City meets Harry Potter. It’s amazing.

AllHipHop: What was your reaction to Chadwick Boseman’s death?

Slug: It was out of nowhere. I was a big fan of the film, I didn’t know he was sick, I wasn’t paying attention. I don’t know if the world knew he was sick. The biggest part I hope people can learn from is people are really quick to talk s##t nowadays, quick to judge without really knowing what other people are going through. My kids were all big fans of the Black Panther movie. s##t’s sad man. I saw some footage of him giving Denzel Washington a Lifetime Achievement Award, it made me cry. That s##t was intense.

Murs: I don’t want to take it even further down the hole but for a Black man right now: Kobe, Nipsey, John Singleton, Chadwick, George Floyd and the non-celebrities. What’s happening for real? I swear that I gave up beef around 16 because I read about Elvis. My 16th birthday I went into McDonald’s and got a Big Mac, the last time I ate beef because of colon cancer. I didn’t know Black males were at a higher rate of getting colon cancer, sickle cell, high blood pressure, more likely to get shot by the cops or a gang member. f##k man, it freaked me out. Someone that you know is healthy, live a healthy lifestyle, afford the proper food, and he’s still gone. It put a lot on me everyday.

I’ve been off sugar for a week now. Me and Sean know we suffer from acid reflux even from late night on tour. Zantac has commercials, the doctor gave me 100 pills of generic medication, that causes cancer now. On tour with Tech N9ne, doing no hype man, hardcore sets every night. I was screaming so much I got a hernia. They put a mesh film on my hernia, there’s a commercial about that causing cancer. I’m buggin’ out. Do I have COVID? Do I have cancer? Is there going to be a race war? It’s a wild time, sent me into a tailspin for a couple days, what can I do? I can fast. I fasted for a while. Okay, I got to cut out sugar. The only time I drink is when I’m away from my wife and kids really. I got to tighten up even more and be even more aware of what’s out there to get us.

AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?

Slug: Felt 4 U is out now! Stream it. Buy it. Steal it.

Murs: Go order the vinyl, it’s cute and has great colors. The hoodie is white, it’s dope.

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