Slimm Calhoun : The Skinny

Astonishing LP from Outkast protege Calhoun...

Red clay, forest trails, the scent of magnolia, sturdy trees and the world capital of the Coca-Cola corporation in the downtown distance… yes, it could only be South West Atlanta as seen through the eyes of its newest claimant to the hip-hop throne, Slimm Calhoun.

A protege of Outkast who has done his fair share of dirt, he still brings a unique perspective to tales of guns, women, drug hustles, threats, fun and death. Even if he’s not as UFO funky and otherworldly as his patrons, or as politically motivated and historically sussed as Goodie Mob (a tall order, admittedly), Slimm holds his own and takes you through his life and times with a deadly down south country attitude.

The groove is paramount here, with the blues and its rock cousin spiced up with a dash of soul and a whole heap of funk; designed for late night clubs and all the shenanigans they entail, as well as slightly reflective if sometimes uneasy – on account of the dedication to truth – home listening. Slimm details the various ways poverty and institutional racism drive him and his fellow homepeople into desperate measures, and internecine warfare, albeit in way more earthy language and slang.

‘Timelock’ is simply brilliant, a snapshot of hell on earth with the possibility of a bottomless pit yet to come, that won’t stop the protagonist from wishing he was dead or in jail. As is the overwhelming sadness of ‘Worldy Ways’ and the resignation inherent in ‘That’s Life’. In fact, the more ‘The Skinny’ is examined, the more it reveals itself to be more complex than at first thought, if also unnervingly direct.

And while hip-hop might seem to overdose on death and death threats, ‘Lil Buddy (Til Death Do Us Part)’ is still an important addition to the canon started by Pete Rock and C.L Smooth’s ‘Troy (They Reminisce Over You)’. Which isn’t to say Slimm doesn’t have fun either, in fast cars, with faster accomplices of the opposite sex, just that there is an underlying seriousness here that shouldn’t be dismissed either.

Dele Fadele