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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Jim Slice
Monday, May 07, 2007

Jim Slice may be old school, but he still exudes all the hustling spirit of his youth. As one of the people who saw Hip-Hop grow from its inception Jim Slice has worked with a long list of veteran artists. From recording with the likes of Stezo, Chris Lowe and Dooley-O, to touring with LL Cool J and Slick Rick, to doing shows with Special Ed, Jay-Z and Gangstarr, he’s seen, and heard, quite a lot of Hip-Hop’s history. His buddy Stezo was actually the one responsible for giving Jim Slice his name. Slice explains its meaning, saying “no matter what I am going to get my piece of the pie in this world.” Growing up in New Haven, CT, The Bronx and Yonkers gave Jim Slice a huge Hip-Hop background, but he’s quick to note “it’s not where you’re from it’s what you become.” Today, taking a quick break from recording with his latest partner in rhyme Boo Slick, Jim Slice is sitting down with me to discuss what Hip-Hop has become, who he finds inspiring right now, and why he feels a veteran perspective is necessary in Hip-Hop at this point in time.

Adam Bernard: You're a veteran in the game, having worked with the likes of Stezo, Chris Lowe and Dooley-O. In what ways have you seen Hip-Hop evolve over the years?
Jim Slice: Hip-Hop will always go through changes as long as men and women go through changes because that’s what evolution is, but the first major change was musically when Run DMC came out with “Sucker MC’s.” The second major change was in attitude when NWA dropped Straight Outta Compton. Another major change was when Russell Simmons introduced Hip-Hop to the fellows on Wall St. and because of that Hip-Hop has become not just a culture anymore but BIG business.

Adam Bernard: When you look at today's artists what are your thoughts? Does anyone stand out or inspire you?
Jim Slice: Outkast stands out on a commercial level and so does Nas in my opinion. The reason I choose them because they’re not scared to get their label to push a single that’s totally different from what’s going on at the moment, to me that’s true Hip-Hop. Let me try to clarify this more. As Hip-Hop started growing it in itself was against the grain compared to what was going on at the time, which was R&B, Funk, Rock and Jazz. The whole mind frame of going against the grain is Hip-Hop, so when I see artists, major or minor, going against the grain I can respect that because that is the seed to Hip-Hop. When you listen to an artist ask yourself they’re a seed or a branch? There’s nothing wrong with branches, but just because you’re able to mock or copy someone else’s personality doesn’t make you hot, no matter what your friends say. This is why when I do Jim Slice and Boo Slick material I won’t do it unless I feel we’re going against the grain in some way.

Adam Bernard: With you still being a recording artist yourself what are you looking to bring to listeners in 2007?
Jim Slice: I’m trying to get the masses to recognize Top North Hip-Hop. Jim Slice and Boo Slick have that niche that’s needed in the region we represent. We bring the creativity, innovation, originality and energy that’s needed where we come from, so when you hear that Yankee boy sound on the mic along with that Nevah Wen music it will be like Easter to the phrase “Hip-Hip is dead.” We understand where we rep and have knowledge of our environment, poverty and the day to day struggle that affects us in doin’ what we do. I like to ask CT artists when I see them, if you had a chance to bring BET’s or MTV’s cameras to CT what would you show them? Would it be big rims and projects, because NY has that locked. Would it be bouncing cars and gang banging activities, because the west side has that locked. Would it be big booty shakin’ girls, because the dirty south has that locked. Would it be big pimpin’, because the mid west has that locked. I’m not saying that none of those things exist here because they do, I’m just trying to ask what do we do that’s significant to our life styles and where we rep?

Adam Bernard: Clearly you’re speaking from the perspective of someone who’s seen a lot. Why do you feel an older, veteran, perspective is necessary today?
Jim Slice: An older more experienced perspective is needed for balance. Everything in life needs balance or else it will fall. All artists don’t have their pants sagging and their boxers showing. If you would go out and buy a so called pimp’s CD, gangsta’s CD or a hustler’s CD, then why not buy a CD from an artist, man or woman, who works 9 to 5? Struggle is struggle no matter what perspective, it’s all about surviving day to day. Besides, Hip-Hop is old enough now to have a fan base from peeps in their 30’s and 40’s and maybe early 50’s so what do we do, forget about them?

Adam Bernard: What gives you hope for the future of Hip-Hop?
Jim Slice: To be honest, ME! As long as I’m alive I believe Hip-Hop has a chance just because I’m not scared to try and innovate. Originality is scarce where we come from. When I go to these little showcases around here and see some of these artists shows they remind me of videos on BET or MTV but I really don’t expect much because I understand that they don’t have real artist development and the only real experience they have is through TV and radio, that’s why when I’m there I try to give some enlightenment to their work and their craft. I see so many artists on the underground level try and copy Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Mobb Deep, Notorious BIG and Tupac thinking that will get their sound accepted and respected by the listeners. If I could, I would suggest to all artists comin up to try and be the future of Hip-Hop when they’re creating music and not do what’s happening now. I understand that it can be hard and sometimes you may do something that the world is not ready for. Life in the underground circuit wasn’t easy for Harriet Tubman either, but she didn’t give up and prevailed in the long run… and back in her day there was no internet.

For more Jim Slice check out myspace.com/jimslice, myspace.com/dathirdunheard and myspace.com/trailsofbooslick.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:49 AM  
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