Gangs. Drugs. War. Rap?

Words rarely associated with one another, but St. Paul Slim's got a lot to say about them.

St. Paul Slim
CHRIS ROBERTS, DAILY

Considering the artificial résumé boasted by many a mainstream rapper âÄî narcotics, firearms and the like âÄî their brags need to be taken with a serious grain of salt. Be that as it may, local emcee St. Paul Slim can back each of those claims and wield a mic with the best of them, too. A native of Chicago, St. Paul Slim moved to the Twin Cities while still very much in his youth and started rapping at the ripe age of 10. From there, drugs, gangs and violence were a daily reality. Then came an unexpected twist: Slim joined the United States Marine Corps. Today, with a mind both street and battlefield tested, St. Paul Slim is gaining a foothold in the always thriving Twin Cities hip-hop scene. Having recently released âÄúThe Slim CaseâÄù âÄî his solid debut EP âÄî Slim has been in the studio crafting his proper full-length follow up, âÄúThe Love and Money Movement.âÄù With his varied beats, Jay-Z- channeled flow and uber-confident swagger, Slim has all the tools to be the next in a long line of stellar underground Twin Cities emcees. Now that itâÄôs been out for a while and thereâÄôs some perspective, do you still feel good about the EP you released? Yeah, I ainâÄôt got no bad reviews on it. The only thing people expressed to me on it is they want more songs. What should people expect from your forthcoming record? People should expect a lot of feel-good music, a lot of flashy songs. Not where IâÄôm bragging on material items, but a lot of songs where IâÄôm basically having a good time. Tell me about your time in the Marines and how âÄî if at all âÄî it impacted your perspective on life and on hip-hop. The Marines was an eye-opener. Before that, I was kind of set in a certain way, a certain frame of mind. When I got into the Marine Corps, it opened my eyes to a broader perspective of life and experience. I experienced a lot of different things that molded the way I do hip-hop today. In the write-up on your MySpace page, it says you rap about gangs and guns because youâÄôve experienced both. Do you want to elaborate on that at all? A lot of my family members are in gangs. Most of my family members dealt drugs at one point in time, used drugs at one point in time âÄî even myself. As far as guns are concerned, my military career speaks for itself. IâÄôm qualified to use anything you put in front of me. Not only that: As a youth, I carried a gun. And the thing about that is: I know the consequences and repercussions of all aspects of the criminal life, so when I talk about it, I donâÄôt speak in a glorification sense. âÄôCause I done seen the good and IâÄôve seen the worse. And the worse, to me, outweighs the good. The only good thing about crime and gangs is your opportunity for financial gain. But, the bad side of it, which is jail, death, heart aches, paranoia and all the things that go along with that outweigh the good. Why do you make hip-hop, and what does it mean to you personally? I make hip-hop music because itâÄôs the expression from which I came. ItâÄôs the outlet that people from the ghetto use. ItâÄôs my outlet. Hip-hop means the current news âÄî to walk a certain way and to know a certain thing. To be hip is to have knowledge, to be up to date, up to speed, and the hop is how you walk. ItâÄôs an expression of your level of intelligence.