Don’t Sleep: Necessary Notables
Mixtape: War Music
Headliner: Slim the Mobster
Key Cameos: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar
Essential Info: Dr. Dre sure knows how to pick ‘em. From N.W.A., Snoop Dogg and Eminem to 50 Cent and Game, Dre has been behind rap’s most pivotal artists and the legendary producer is back at it again. His newest protégé Slim the Mobster is a return to the street aesthetic that the Good Doctor originally built his reputation on. Slim’s new mixtape, War Music proves that Dre still has the golden ear.
The Aftermath Psychopath gets off to a good start on “Dreaming,” featuring Nikki Grier. On the soulful track, Slim contemplates the consequences of his street past in the face of his newfound rap success. “I’m followed by these demons/ Forgive me for living like that/ Even when I’m dreaming/ The streets keep pulling me back,” he raps on the song’s hook.
“I like this record because it talks about how, us as young artists, we work, and there is always something from our past — like, if you’re really in the street, then it’s something that will always hold you back,” he explained.
Kendrick Lamar shows up on “Whose House,” “What Goes Up” features Snoop Dogg, Mobb Deep’s Prodigy gets busy on “Martyr,” and Dr. Dre makes a key appearance on “Back Against the Wall.” On the cut, Dre spits a spirited verse as he rhymes, “Now I’ma do this like my life depended on it/ My kids and my wife depended on it,” making it clear he’s still hungry. A lot of Slim’s material is murderous, but there is a message. Songs like the shooter’s ode “Gun Play” are balanced out by cautionary tales such as “South Central Blues.”
On “See It,” Slim gets lyrical, intertwining his bars with a vocal sample, noting that the materialistic images rappers often put in their music aren’t always their reality. “It’s a lot of different things goin’ on in music, and some of us don’t really paint vivid pictures, and I thought this record was kind of vivid,” he said. “What I was talking about, you could really understand what I’m saying and, more so, you can see it.”
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