Artist Focus (ENG): Slayter
Updated: Mar 3
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New York has always served as a breeding ground for talented rappers demonstrating sharp and precise lyrics, as well as complex styles. Slayter is amongst these prodigies, and is no exception to the aforementioned tradition. Born in Puerto Rico, the artist left the Caribbean island at only one year old, and set up in Dyckman, located in the Inwood neighbourhood in Manhattan. The young Slayter quickly developed a passion for music, and started rapping from the age of 5, being at the time greatly influenced by Puerto Ricans artists like Daddy Yankee or Don Omar, as well as New-York collectives like Dipset and G-Unit to only name a few (incidentally, Lloyd Banks was his favorite rapper at the time, back when G-Unit were at the pinnacle of their career, both in terms of sales and critical acclaim). 50 Cent also serves as a key inspiration source in the rapper's music, regarding energy and melody but also storytelling, which is a recurring characteristic of his lyrics. Looking at present-day artists, Slayter mentions Lil Baby, Polo G, Kodak Back as well as NBA YoungBoy as part of his personal favorites.
He thereby began to record his first songs from the age of 16, through the Cool Edit software and using a Logitech headset stolen from his summer classes.
Parenthetically, back when flip phones were used, the young Slayter would record his freestyles to then send them to his mother. This goes to show how much music has acted as a driving force since the rapper's early youth.
Between the loss of his grandmother (who succumbed to a breast cancer) when he was 9 years old and his father's murder when he was only one, in addition to the passings and round trips in and out of prison of his friends and relatives, Slayter went through a particularly trying childhood. This truly shaped his sound, which retains a trenchant and mature tone. Indeed, his music is loaded with realism and sincerity: the artist does not think twice about mentioning real-life experiences in order to support his words, thereby creating a greater sense of closeness with his audience. Such talent at the microphone allowed him to get signed to Cinematic Music Group by Jonny Shipes himself (the label's founder), who had already approached the rapper years before the signature materialised.
This signature to a record label marked a turning point in Slayter's career, as it allowed the rapper, aged 24 at the time, to start taking music seriously.
He has since then launched his own structure, ColdGame Cinematic, in partnership with the same label, on which he recently signed promising 41st Narco.
Furthermore, the artist has launched his own clothing brand, Coldgame NYC, which has, among other things, collaborated with Anwar, founder of streetwear brand Carrots.
The Puerto Rican native released his first proper project, "Dirty Game", in February 2016. This first take, engineered by productions from talented Thelonious Martin, plunges us into the New-York MC's universe from the first bars. The EP is cadenced by the hammer-and-tongs torments of a life halfway between street life and rap, as well as the stamp of a complex past which has shaped the artist's determination and energy, as observed on all of the six tracks which make up this truly excellent project. The overall sound is relatively old-school here: the samples found on every track come from Soul and Jazz for the most part (at times complemented with high pitched vocals, reminiscent of New-York productions from the early 2000s, in line with the producer's usual choices). The productions are alternatively dark or harrowing ("Jesus Piece / Free Aye No", "School of Hardnocks") and soft or delicate ("Still Me", "Chrome Heater", "YDN"), as it is the case on the excellent "Shit On Her" alongside talented Michael Christmas, a young hope from the Boston scene at the time. The chemistry with female rapper DonMonique is once more striking on "Chrome Heater", one of our personal highlights from this project. Indeed, the two artists had previously collaborated on "Tha Low" featuring Danny Brown, which can be found on DonMonique's tape "Thirst Trap", released in 2015.
The artist's sincere and spontaneous writing on "Dirty Game" captures a character both self-confident and tortured by his past, as well as passionate, for whom music and the numerous addictions described here appear as the only thing he can turn to.
Less than a year later, the rapper followed up with his second tape, dubbed "Real N***** Get Lonely".
This second project is noticeably more modern when it comes to sound, and falls within the continuity of his first EP in terms of introspection. Here, Slayter opens up about his rejection of others and about his dependency on sex and drugs, which simultaneously instills the spark of inspiration his music requires and allows him to forget about his past's darkest days. Furthermore, he gives singing a try, as seen on the chorus from hazy "Feeling Nobody", a key track of the artist's discography as a result of its ability to nicely capture its overall tone. The intro, "Know Me", with its deeply melancholic guitar riff, sets the tone for the rest of the project, which puts forth a truly nostalgic and hazy atmosphere. This is especially the case on "Girls in My Living Room" and its mesmerising ambiance, which blends perfectly with the artist's disjointed flow. Here, Slayter touches upon his addictions in a woeful and bitter voice, which allows for the audience to truly connect with him and his music. Over the course of the 8 tracks which make up "Real N***** Get Lonely", Slayter gives up his trenchant and precise flow for a while in favour of a laid back and voluntarily less articulated flow, which blends perfectly with the ambiance emanating from the productions. Among other things, "Designer Drugs" stands out in that sense through its thudding basses paired with an ethereal and mesmerising melody. The track also allows the artist to vehemently touch on love in a both sentimental and carnal fashion.
Hot Boy and Hot Boy 2
Slayter unveiled the two EPs Hot Boy and Hot Boy 2 (which can unfortunately no longer be found on streaming platforms) in summer 2018, to then follow up with "COLD AT NIGHT" in summer 2019. This truly marked a turning point in the rapper's career, as this was the first project to which Slayter fully committed (as seen with the music videos or through the numerous recording studios). This can be noticed from the first few listens, and this EP was undeniably his most accomplished at the time.
The album kicks off with "COLD", a deeply introspective tune where the artist touches upon the financial difficulties his family was faced with in the past in addition to the betrayals he has endured on the first verse, to then mention his mistrustful nature and his unshakable faith on the second verse.
« I ain’t have no money to fix that shit. My momma ain’t have no money to fix that shit. I remember it was mad cold »
« N**** used to love me now they diss me »
« I ain’t have a dollar but you know I had faith/Faith like Biggie did »
The cold and melancholic melody played on the piano induces the ideal atmosphere in order to emphasise the artists' words and their bitterness. Slayter is once more characterised by his sincerity and acerbity, and this emotionally powerful song immediately reflects the cold and hostile atmosphere which has shaped him and which is mentioned throughout the project.
The following track, "MHM", contrast right away with the intro. This energetic banger, produced by Duck McFlii (placements for A$AP Ferg, 2Chainz, Audio Push...), allows for Slayter to touch upon his authenticity and his ambitions, while still retaining the self-confidence and boastfulness he is known for when it comes to ego-trip.
« Y’all be on the ‘Gram and shit, we be stuntin’ in real life/I need a million dollars cash, I don’t need no likes »
« I still remember the days we was poor/Remember them days when them n***** ignored us? »
"NEW MONEY" is in a similar vein, and allows Slayter to remind the audience of his technical
strength on trap beats while underlining his ego-trip with the help of truly fitting comparisons.
« We set if off like Queen Latifah/I was outside you was playin’ Fifa »
« My bitch is bi I’ma make the bitch eat ya/Choke slam a n***** like fucking Batista ».
"DYCKMAN" is noticeably colder and cloudier. Here, Slayter indulges in melodic sweeps on the chorus, which appropriately blend with the production's stern nature and transports the audience straight to the neighbourhood where the artist grew up.
« I be roundin’ around Dyckman/I’ve been dodging indictments/.380 I ain’t fighting/Or the chopper that’s my sidekick »
"SOMETIMES I CRY" brings forth a dramatically different atmosphere- on this deeply melancholic track, Slayter touches upon his heartache, both in his current situation and back when money was hard to come by. "SOMETIMES I CRY" is amongst the project's most moving songs; it is truly captivating from the first listen as a result of its melody-packed chorus, which brings the artist closer to his audience as he mentions relatable heartaches and delivers a gripping, sincere performance combined with a nostalgic production.
"I ain't gon' lie/Sometimes I cry/I'm just like you/With tears in my eyes/They ain't gon' see you later/This is my last goodbye"
"CHEMIST" contrasts nicely by plunging the audience in a dark and festive ambiance. Slayter mentions his lifestyle once more, as well as his taste for drugs and sex as a way to escape the stress caused by the hardships he has been through, a topic also properly touched upon on "BACK PAIN".
« Off the percky’s, my muscle relax/I’m just putting life on these tracks »
« Bitch I’m on that codeine, right now/I’ma put her sleep, lights out »
This feeling is mentioned with intensity on the following track, "SEEIN GHOSTS", an intimate song where the artists looks back upon his sorrowful past over a woeful and bitter production. This provides a flawless transition to « COLD AT NIGHT ».
« I’m rolling up my thoughts, pouring up my feelings/I double cup my problems and I’m still sipping »
« Fucking with some n***** is my only regret/It’s some shit I’ve been outside that I can never forget/It’s some people that I’ve lost that I can never get back »
"COLD AT NIGHT" therefore seems to fall within the continuity of "SEEING GHOSTS"; Slayter touches upon the sorrows which plague him using particularly strong imagery while retaining a melancholic tone of voice. Here, the artist recounts a settling of scores alongside G Herbo, while maintaining a high level of detail in his deeply evocative lyrics, thereby demonstrating once more his ability to paint a vivid picture in the audience's mind.
« I was in backseat of the Benz with the whole Gang/And I think that I seen him in a blue Toyota/I told the driver get closer[..]At the red light, we gon’ leave him dead »
"NO OFFENSE" featuring Lil Gotit ends the project on a softer and more festive tone. This banger, presenting metallic sounds, contrasts with the previous tracks' melancholy and, to put it simply, provides an opportunity to break our necks to the music.
« Lookin’ for the opps ride with no tints/We ain’t hit ´em so we had to spin again/To get away with it and say it’s self defense »
By wisely alternating between cold, energetic bangers and more introspective tunes marked by a sense of melody and bitterness, Slayter engineers a well-balanced project. Indeed, both the technical rigour and sincerity he is known for as well as his more experimental sound can be found on this album, in addition to a certain degree of risk-taking through more melodious flows, as initially demonstrated on "Real N***** Get Lonely".
The rapper begins 2020 with a short project dubbed "Dirty Winter". Slayter reveals a raw and introspective EP, where he once again puts the emphasis on the realism contained in his lyrics by scattering them with his own experiences. This is delivered on both modern (whether it be "TEGO", "4AM IN PATTERSON", or "ALL U GOT" featuring Maryland native Q Da Fool) and more old school sounds, where he excels as a result of his trenchant liveliness and flows as well as his gravelly tone of voice. While "ALL U GOT" stands out from the outset as an energetic banger where both artists depict their lavish lifestyle, and "FIRST TIME IN PARIS" contrasts nicely thanks to its hazy and mesmerising atmosphere. This is then followed by "ROYAL RUMBLE" alongside Kushed God (Smoke DZA). The two artists set about hammering the production with technical rhyme schemes and trenchant bars in addition to combining ego-trip and street knowledge. Often explored on the rappers' respective projects, this is a register in which they both thrive.
These topics are often touched upon in the Dyckman rapper's lyrics, who uses his music to speak on the dark days which, over time, shaped his motivation and unwavering stances. Indeed, integrity and betrayal are recurring themes in his songs, and add a sense of melancholy to warmer and more melodious productions. This can be seen on "DIFFERENCES" alongside Xanman, another talented artist from Maryland, whose melodious and disjointed flow blends perfectly with Slayter's nonchalance, who seems to intensely and vehemently underline each rime. "SANGO’S OUTRO" ends the EP on a more soulful note which accompanies Slayter's more intimate lyrics nicely. Here, the artist recounts the environment he grew up in and the betrayals he has endured while still mentioning his numerous addictions, which alleviate his various torments.
"Puerto Rican plug named Jorje/Blowin' up my phone 'cause the nigga got shorted"
"Niggas been OD'ing, I'ma sip this lean regardless"
"I just been facin' these woods, let the smoke hit my brain"
By putting forward a wide variety of ambiances, this truly excellent EP serves as a prelude of the following project, "WORLD GOT ME FUCKED UP, Vol. 1". Here, Slayter truly reveals and expresses himself, thereby making interviews completely unnecessary for the artist.
"The hood need gorilla glue, I'ma need a hunnid plates/Ain't doin' no interviews, wanna hear me? Buy my tapes"
The rapper's music is marked by a sense of deep spontaneity and realism while still being able to be truly accomplished artistically speaking, whether it be regarding mix and productions or the artists called upon for features, who never fail to correspond to the songs' atmosphere.
Most recently, Slayter unveiled the excellent "WORLD GOT ME FUCKED UP, Vol. 1" along with a "RELOADED" edition (containing 6 additional tracks), a significant 2020 project which we will shortly review in more depth.
A joint mixtape alongside RetcH is also on the way, which will follow up on the numerous features between the two artists, whose respective sounds share some aspects ("Money and Power", "Whip Out", "ROSARY", ...).
In short, Slayter is undeniably among the artists one should keep an eye out for; his talent and overflowing productivity should elevate him to a headliner status in good time, something we truly wish for at SLASHER.