Slaine :: The King of Everything Else
Suburban Noize Records
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
It's probably a good coincidence that Slaine moonlights as an actor
given that his life sounds like a movie.
He went from the gutter to the penthouse in a meteoric ascent - from nearly
overdosing on cocaine to feature roles in films with Ray Liotta.
Along the way he's been a featured member of two acclaimed rap supergroups:
Special Teamz and
La Coka Nostra. It's fair
to say most aspiring rappers would give their left nut/tit to have done any
of those things, and if the artist born George Carroll had said "That's good
enough, I'm done here" and hung up his headphones for Hollywood few people
would have blamed him.
Slaine's not a quitter though. "The King of Everything Else" is his fourth
major label solo album, a continuation of his long-standing relationship with
Suburban Noize Records, and
even though he's hinted in interviews that he's sick of the music industry he's clearly not sick of the SubNoize fam.
Why else drop as many albums as you have appearances in motion pictures?
There's no doubt he could do one or the other successfully yet here he is
doing both. The work ethic is not in question nor is the skillset. Some emcees
seem to get lost in the Hollywood shuffle, losing a bit of their menacing
edge on the mic, but Slaine still sounds like the same gruff voiced Boston
rapper he's always been. "The Years" is an overview of his life to this point -
recounting "washing dishes, minimum wage" until he finally got the break
he was waiting for to "make it with this pen and the page."
"I heads to New York at 18, left where I grew up
Right before the kids around the way started to shoot up
Pumpin E pills, back and forth with the dust
Took the bus back to Mass., dropped my class, stacked my loot up
Rollin with them DMX kids and now I'm crewed up
Me and Damn One drinkin beers, gettin screwed up
Layin down rhymes on the samples he would flip, doin dips
Turntables and a mic, no computer..."
The beat is as thick as the phlegm in his throat, heavy on the kick drum
and snare, plenty of bass oomph East coast grit. It will remind you of a
Diamond D or Statik Selektah track, and although I don't have production
credits on this pre-release copy, it's possible it was the latter.
The press kit mentions Louis Bell, Statik Selektah and DJ Lethal as
providing instrumentals. Whoever did the understated head nodder "Hip Hop
Dummy" featuring Apathy and Bishop Lamont feel free to stand up and take
The declaration "You should know who I am at this stage of the
motherf#%@in' game" sounds like it's fueled by frustration. Hell I'd be
frustrated too if I re-recorded
an entire album over sample clearance issues, but Slaine is nothing
if not incredibly resilient - and incredibly willing to share of himself
as an artist. "The Most Dangerous Drug in the World" finds a self-deprecating
Carroll declaring "I ain't handsome" in the song's opening, then saying
that being well dressed and successful at entertainment makes women
overlook his deficits.
"Ma, mami, what the f#^! you want me to call you?
F$$% it, I won't call you at all
I hate the sound of the phone ringing
That's my social anxiety disorder
I got my own thing and I guess my stress is just impeding my progress
I saw your little cousin smoke weed with her
Blew a f#%@n seed in her prom dress
I got a complex, I'm sort of complex
On more drugs than post-traumatic stress Vietnam vets
But let's not take this out of context
I'm addicted to pussy so bad that I ain't got a conscience..."
You might think someone who has achieved the amount of success of
Slaine would be carefree, perhaps even have an upbeat outlook, but Carroll's
deep depths of inner pain enable him to tap a main vein and sound
as raw and angry as the beats that back him up. Whether he's venting about
the "Dopehead" addicts selling anything they can steal, or recounting the
times in his life when he "Pissed It All Away," he admits to being unable
to reconcile his own inner demons: "I should watch what I say cause it's
reachin the kids/but I'm drunk all the time and I speak what I live."
Slaine's not giving up though - "Children of the Revolution" featuring Ill Bill
sounds like an Immortal Technique
and CF track musically, mixed with reminiscing over the generation
of hip-hop they were born into: "listening to breakbeats, Mr. Magic
and Marley Marl." Though Slaine is quick to point out he doesn't
believe his own hype, he doesn't really need to since the music can
speak for itself without effusive praise. Your line in the sand will be
his vocals - he's the Boston bred version of
Vinnie Paz, who
appropriately enough has a cameo on the album. If you don't like that
gritty, guttural, stuck to the back of your throat hip-hop then Slaine is
not your man. He sounds like he gargles with Crown Royal. That's alright
by me though - as the late great ODB famously said "ooh baby I like it raw."
Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10
Lyric Vibes: 7.5 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10
Originally posted: September 9, 2014