Slaine interview Raw Side Hip Hop

You know the name….Hip hop heads have grown up with Slaine either as a solo artist or as part of La Coka Nostra. He’s been on your playlists regularly and over the past couple of years has continued to drop incredible music, maturing as a man and as an artist – and branching out as an actor etc. We reviewed ‘The Things We Can’t Forgive’ earlier in the year, and managed to get in touch to speak with the Boston icon about the new album, his career to date and what is on the horizon. So sit back and enjoy getting to know Slaine.

Raw Side Hip Hop: Let’s set the scene for our readers. Talk us through the career of Slaine from humble beginnings to now.
Slaine: Oh man it’s been many years with tremendous highs and crushing lows but it’s been a hell of a ride. I’m grateful to have stayed alive and creative through all of it.

You’ve managed to stay relevant for a long time now, what do you attribute that to?
I don’t aspire to fame, stardom or relevance either actually. I love making music and the craft of writing and emceeing. I find that if I just focus on doing those things with passion and enthusiasm everything else works out how it’s supposed to. That being said I never thought I’d still be making records professionally at 43. That’s a beautiful thing though. I’m grateful.

You dropped ‘One Day’ back in 2019 and less than two years later have now just recently delivered ‘The Things We Can’t Forgive’. Talk us through your creative process.
I was heartbroken in a really fucked up way. I didn’t understand why it was so bad. I was vomiting all these feelings onto the page with no thoughts if an album or anything like that. At the same time I was really delving deeper into meditation and service and confronting some trauma in my past. It meant survival for me because if I didn’t do that stuff I may have started using again. I was forced to face these things I couldn’t forgive in my past and let them go. This is the stuff I wrote during that time. As I got toward the end I started to gain some perspective as to what it was about.

Your more recent work is a change of pace from La Coka Nostra. Talk to some of the influences behind that.
I think my solo albums have always been where I really dig into my personal stuff and Coka was more a gang mentality if you will. Both have certainly evolved over time. But you talked about relevance earlier and the truth is always relevant. I don’t think this album is a change in direction artistically. I can’t make this record ever again. It was what I was going through at that time. It’s the truth.

The Things We Can’t Forgive is a dark, honest and engaging album. How has the feedback been from fans and the hip hop community?
I thought I may lose a lot of people with this one honestly. I try not to think about how it’ll be received, especially when I’m making it. Inevitably you think about it right as it’s coming out and I had this moment the night before like… oh fuck. I was blown away to hear so many people saying it’s my best record. Stunned really. But it makes sense….the people who have been following my career for 20 years are growing up too.

We feel that hip hop is in a new golden age right now. Being that you’ve spanned them all, what’s your take on the current hip hop landscape?
I operate very much in a bubble at this point. I know it sounds shitty but I do my best to be inspired by life as opposed to other artists music. I think that perspective comes with time. Maybe we can look back in a few years and say wow so much great music from that time. For now I’m just staying creative and grateful to be a part of the culture.

You’ve worked with some amazing people over the journey, are there any artists you haven’t had the chance to work with but you hope to in the future?
I really enjoy the people I collaborate with artistically now. Arcitype had Statik are really talented people. I love the guys in La Coka past and present. As a kid I think I had all these artists I dreamed of working with and I did work with my heroes. I think at this age and time in my life I just want to make great music with the people I have the unspoken language with already.

What’s next for Slaine?
Professionally and artistically, I’m working on a new album with Statik and a Coka record. Excited for this most recent film, Ida Red, to come out this year.

If you could give artists, or people in general one piece of advice right now in this current climate, what would it be?
Do it cause you love the craft without expectation of what it can do for you.

How can people stay in touch with you?
I try to respond as much as possible on social media. I appreciate everyone who supports my music. 👊🏼

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About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!