There can only be one: The Slim Guerilla interview
Slim Guerilla is a 26-year-old rapper from the Northwest side of Houston, Texas.
A former member of the highly influential rap collective “Raider Klan,” Slim Guerilla has found a new lane, something he calls Passion Playas. I spoke to the young rapper about his impressive career, time in Raider Klan, SpaceGhost Purrp, growing up in Texas, and more.
Could you talk about being born on the northwest side of Houston? Describe your childhood?
I was actually born in Massachusetts because my dad was in the military, that’s where he was stationed at the time. He is originally from Fifth Ward Houston, Texas. However, when I came into the picture as a baby, he wanted to move back to his roots. We moved to Houston and stayed in Fifth Ward for a couple of weeks then ended up moving to the northwest side. The northwest side is real chill and middle class. It has many Hispanics and many Vietnamese people. I got a lot of people out there I call family, I’ll rep the northwest wide till the end.
My childhood was good. I had amazing parents; they both are a blessing. They were always on me, and they made sure I was in school and had something to eat. I never really had any struggles. I think that’s one of the reasons why I work so hard today. A lot of people don’t get that; it’s a blessing to have. I can’t really complain about my childhood; it’s a blessing. I met amazing people as a child and they still part of me to this day.
Photo Provided by Slim Guerilla
What or who influenced you to make music? Was there a particular moment when you said, “I’m going be a rapper?”
Houston turns everybody into a rapper, even the people that can’t rap, that’s just the culture. I knew it was something I wanted to do but never knew how to go about it. It was just something I knew I was cold in. I knew people enjoyed it. People said “Oh you should make music” but I ain’t never knew how to do that sh*t.
I understand SGP discovered you through Instagram, and then you became Raider Klan. Raider Klan influenced so much, and in my opinion, SpaceGhostPurrp gets not nearly enough credit for his impact on underground hip-hop and the popularity of certain rappers. What was it like being around SGP? What type of person is he? Could you tell this guy was ahead of him?
SGP, that’s my ni**a, that my nerve, that’s my family, that’s my brother. He did so much for the game, and so much for Raider Klan. He is one of the main reasons why I knew what I wanted to do.
Purrp heard one of my songs on YouTube and fell in love with me. The man tweeted out my picture and sh*t, and everybody was like who the f**k is this? Is this a new H-town Raider? That’s how it happened.
Purrp is a real chill dude. Everybody thinks he is crazy, but Purrp is a funny ni**a. It’s funny seeing this ni**a troll people. However, that ni**a is real chill, that’s a cool ass ni**a. The internet takes sh*t. for what it is. Oh, this ni**a is screaming, he’s doing this? Oh, he has to be crazy. No bruh, I don’t know when people are going to wake up and realize the internet is not what it is. SGP deserves a lot of credit. You can try to hate him all you want. You can talk sh*t all you want, but the ni**a is still one of the most important pieces in the mother f**king game, that’s just how it is.
Photo Provided by Slim Guerilla
When you joined Raider, they were already huge. Guys like Xavier Wulf and Chris Travis were already popping. If my knowledge is correct, you were a part of Raider Klan’s second wave of artist second wave, but the group disbanded soon after, so you formed Passion Playas? Could you elaborate on how “Passion Playas” begun and what exactly the name means?
Raider Klan already had its members, already had its first wave. S**t was already big. So, when that second wave came in me, Almighty, Young Raw, Dxrty Rxdd, we were fresh meat. It was all love, the whole circle the whole family we all loved each other, and we still do to this day.
I feel like when Raider Klan broke up, it shook up the underground. I feel like at that time we were all young. We all wanted to do whatever we wanted to do. However, I don’t think that we all understood that at that time we could have stuck together and everybody would have had their own clique inside of a clique. We would have had Raider Klan, Hollow Squad, Water Boyz, and Passion Playas, that’s a dangerous mother f**king game. Think about it; sh*t. would have been crazy. But you know at the time we were young, things happen.
At first, before it was Passion Playas, it was me, Almighty, Dxrty Rxdd, and Young raw we started this group called Fatal Family. Some shit happened and it hit a corner. I don’t wanna say I was the only ni**a in the second wave making music cause everybody still had it, but I was the one like c’mon Y’all let’s keep going we not going to let this bring us down, so I kept dropping sh*t.
Later down I started saying passion this, and passion that. Everything came together like butter. Passion Playas means to do what you do with passion and play your cards right. Now I know by the music I make everybody probably think, oh man he’s a pimp, he’s a playa, not necessarily. Where I come from, I was around a lot of that. The music that I make still involves a lot of what I believe and what I do. It’s not that I’m glorifying the bad stuff, I’m glorifying how they move. I love how a playa and pimp move, and how they handle their business. Passion Playas has a lot to do with being yourself, staying true, and remaining lowkey.
Our logo is the eight ball. Win or lose it is an essential piece to the game of billiards. The game that we are in is life. Life is important. I would never promote quitting or giving up. It took me a while to be a Passion Playa and it’s my sh*t. I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve come along way. That’s why I rep it because it means something, it’s beautiful.
When I listen to your music, I hear sounds from Houston, Memphis, South Florida, 80’s Funk, and older R&B. Where did your love of these regions and sound come from and, which artists influence your music?
Southern music is a very big influence on me. “Suga Free,” “Big Moe,” “Tommy Wright III,” and DJ Quik. Also, Memphis, New Orleans, and everything Texas for as long as I can remember. It’s something I love; the old school influenced me. A lot of people tell me I’m an old soul. My music taste is old; there are very few current rappers I listen too. It’s not because I don’t like their music, it’s just hard to relate. I was brought up around a lot of old heads, OGs, people that were really in the field.
I guess that’s what takes me away from a lot of these rappers, and these so-called thugs. I can see the difference, I know who out there is really doing it. That’s why I stay away. Its negative attention. I don’t want that around the people I love or me. I’m blessed to have those OG’s in my life.
I’d like to know your opinion of the current state of underground hip-hop. The genre has expanded and become extremely popular and influential. When you joined Raider Klan did you ever think guys like Denzel Curry would become this popular?
The underground now, it’s whatever. There is somebody new coming up every day. It’s hard to keep up. The underground change. It’s not even rap music anymore. It’s just underground music because you never know what kind of music is going to come out. It’s cool though seeing these artists come out of nowhere to do their thing. It’s amazing. Like you mention Denzel Curry, I knew he was going to blow. He was very lyrical had this different flow. It was vintage, but it was very new school. I’m proud of him; he is an inspiration to me.
I’ve always enjoyed your music because it has a strong feeling of nostalgia. I’ll listen and think about memories and experiences. To someone who has not heard to your music, why should they? What is your appeal?
I don’t like forcing my music on people. I just make it. My music is like; if you find it and like it, then it’s for you. There are people out there who won’t find my sh*t. I’ve had people say it’s trash, but it’s whatever because they go out of their way to listen. Those streaming views don’t lie. People look at Instagram and Twitter followers, that doesn’t mean sh*t. It’s because in this game people listen to music and they’ll want to keep it to themselves. Alternatively, they are embarrassed that they are listening to this music because nobody else is. If you find me, you find me. If you f**k with it, or if you don’t f**k with it, it’s all good.
Photo Provided by Slim Guerilla
What can you tell us about your new music? Have a project coming?
My new project is Passion Playas Worldwide the album. Every project that I do is different; I never make the same sh*t. This Passion Playa Worldwide album is some sh*t I’ve never made before. I can’t wait to drop it.
Describe your creative process? Do you pick a beat then write or vice versa? Also, do you write or freestyle your lyrics? I’ve heard wild stories of rapper freestyling songs or someone like Young thug who draws pictures instead of writing lyrics.
If you sent me a beat right now and I thought that sh*t was bumping, I’d get in there and record. I’ll probably freestyle and then write half of it. I have songs where I freestyle, and you could tell because I’ll f**k up and fix it. The way I create, I’m f**king around, but at the same time, I’m not. I’ll put one of my favorite movies on mute and start rapping or turn a certain light on it and get lost. However, I never force it, if you don’t feel it one day you can always come back the next day. Some people don’t have that mindset; tomorrow isn’t promised I gotta do this sh*t now, which I understand.
Fashion: I can see you enjoy the retro style. I see you rocking a Dan Marino jersey, Juvenile shirt, and throwback glasses. You seem to be very rooted in past generations culture. Would you describe yourself as an “old head” even though you’re young? Also, why these styles choices what is about retro fashion is appealing to you?
People message me all the time asking where I get my clothes. I’m so old school; I can’t be wearing what these are ni**as are wearing. Don’t get me wrong; I like fitted clothing. I want my jeans to fit, but I don’t like baggy sh*t. I remember I used to say I’m not a fashion a*s ni**a, but I think I am. I love my silk shirts; everyone means something. The jewelry I wear is always lowkey. I did have to cop me the old H-Town wall of diamonds in my mouth. I remember seeing Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Lil Flip, Chamillionaire, man I wanted those grills.
Throwback jerseys, I love sports it was first love, the rapping sh*t was secondary. I used to be on that field, running back I was fast as f**k. The people that got me into sports were girls. My mom got me into football, and my sister got me into basketball. I’ve never been a fan of artists shirts. If I ever wore a shirt with an artist on it, I f**k with them as a person and an artist. Or its album I bump personally. Like the Juvenile shirt, I bump that album all the time. I love my old school flavor. I’m 80 in a 26 year-old body.