Toronto, ON – HipHopCanada linked with S.L.U.G. recently to discuss what the future holds for the Scarborough hip-hop collective… In the Fall, S.L.U.G. released a highly acclaimed double CD titled The Weight Is Over and continues to build support for their movement. We decided to catch up with S.L.U.G.’s CEO Pin AKA P.I. to take a closer look at their game plan and to find out exactly how the movement got started. Big shout-out to Ajani Photography for holding down the exclusive pics of the interview. Look out for the exclusive footage from HipHopCanada affiliates Stolen From Africa.
HipHopCanada: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Pin. Let’s talk about some history. How did you first get into hip-hop?
Pin: I would have to say it was through my two older sisters; they were always into music. I would have to say one record that always comes to mind from back then was De La Soul’s “Me, Myself and I”. So I can say it was around the end of the 80’s, early 90’s when I really took notice to hip-hop and rap in general.
HipHopCanada: How was the Scarborough scene when you were coming up? Were there any Scarborough and/or Canadian artists that inspired you to get involved in the local scene?
Pin: Back then I didn’t know of a lot of Scarborough rappers that took the game serious enough. So I’ve got to say coming up it was Kin Smuv… that’s been my dude he has been doing music from the times when I was still a young dude. We use to come home from school and hit the block to see if he recorded any new tracks. He’s always been a few years before his time. So I’ve got to say I do this music for him.
HipHopCanada: Any specific Canadian tunes that really got you focused on the Canadian scene?
Pin: Infinite’s “360” was my tune back in the days plus the video was mad crazy, and Point Blank had a few records.
HipHopCanada: What is S.L.U.G.? What does it represent and how did it come together?
Pin: S.L.U.G. is a group on individuals that come from different blocks/hoods that come together to build a movement to tell their stories. It represents the hustle, the struggle, the grind. I like to call it reality music . . .
HipHopCanada: What is your main role with S.L.U.G.?
Pin: My main role in S.L.U.G. is CEO and part owner. I deal with most of the work like booking shows, reviewing tracks and CD’s before they come out. Boss!
HipHopCanada: Is S.L.U.G. just a record label or is it a group as well?
Pin: No. S.L.U.G. is just a record label. It gets mistaken for a group a lot cause of all the members.
HipHopCanada: Ok, hopefully that clarifies things for people. That leads to my next question… there are various sub-groups within S.L.U.G. like D.N.B. as well as other labels connected to S.L.U.G. like Nippy North and Deep Waters. Can you give us a full rundown on who is coming out under the S.L.U.G. brand and who S.L.U.G. is working with?
Pin: S.L.U.G. will always be S.L.U.G. but due to an ongoing beef with the Toronto Guns and Gangs Taskforce over the fact they think [S.L.U.G.] is a street gang, each member has branched off to start their own label, be their own boss and grow as an artist. I can let you know what everyone is working on. Stretch Diesel, he started Nippy North Records and will be dropping a solo album in ’09. Black City is a group that was started by the next co-owner of S.L.U.G., Droops, which features other S.L.U.G. artists Ras Thug, Krooks Kruse, Dre, even Risky’s got a label jumping off called M&L (Money and Loyalty) for those that have been asking for him. Deep Waters is going to be really strong, I know… I’ve been able to build with them and Hudson’s got a good ear for talent. Then that brings me to D.N.B., a new company label we started together… meaning me, Izhe Da Kid, Kin Smuv and Elliott Scars. It’s not a separation, it’s just a growth period we are all going through. Brigante has created High Stakes but since the Bodog bullshit he has spent more time getting his Vincent Chase on. I know I can get him back in the lab in due time.
HipHopCanada: Can you tell us about the latest release, the double CD The Weight Is Over?
Pin: The whole CD was put together over the last 3 years. There was well over a 100 tracks recorded. I have to admit Smuv (Kin Smuv) did a lot of work on this CD putting it together and choosing a lot of the tracks that made it. We may release the rest of the record on other albums.
HipHopCanada: Will S.L.U.G. be focusing completely on music or expanding into other territories?
Pin: Nah, this has become way bigger than just music. We’ve always had our trademark shirts that have sold thousands of copies over the last 4 years. Plus, I’ve got a new line coming out with my dude Izhe Da Kid called Yuk Boyz. I’m working with Brigante with his whole movement to the movie scene. Plus, I’ve managed to help a lot of artists get their own labels and companies off the ground.
HipHopCanada: What projects should people be looking out for?
Pin: The D.N.B album! Kin Smuv’s rap and R&B albums are both real heavy. People holla for hooks and beats… whatever it is, he’s got it. Next is Izhe Da Kid’s album. This guy is the truth he’s been co-signed throughout the whole city. His swag is off the radar and he’s willing to invest in his career which a lot of artists are not willing to do. Plus, I’m hoping to get Bishop to finally drop an album and we can sell an easy mill. The homie’s got mad fans trust me.
HipHopCanada: What other Canadian artists are you checking for aside from your own camp?
Pin: I would have to say Drake; he’s got talent. My little bro put me on to him from a while back. I would love to hear him and Smuv on a record ’cause they both have crazy writing talent. JD Era is a monster too. Him and Mayhem [Morearty] both should have good albums. TnT is real dope; they keep it 100% street.
HipHopCanada: Thanks for stopping by. Anything you want to say that we didn’t touch on already? Any shout-outs?
Pin: Nah. Thank you for having me and giving me this moment to speak. First, I would like to shout-out the lady that held me down from day one… Izhe Da Kid and the whole band from the Borough to Downtown, to the West End, we’ve got this locked. Kin Smuv, my brother from day one. Bishop Brigante, we’re fam till the end. You showed me both sides of the biz… and to the rest of the real dudes that hold down everything I do. And if I didn’t mention you it’s ’cause you’re not worth my time. ’09 is mine . . .
Written by Jesse “Dutchy” Plunkett for HipHopCanada
Photography by Ajani Charles