By Laura Onyeneho
Many people know him as one of the leading voices of Houston rap, as well as one of the Northside’s finest, the “Boss of all Bosses,” “King of the Nawf” and “Boss Hogg Outlaw.”
However you want to identify him, Slim Thug continues to entertain Houston. Since the late 1990s, he has made waves as an artist on the city’s iconic Swishahouse label, entering the mainstream and enjoying success as an independent artist.
Not only is he making major moves in the industry with his new 11-track album “BIGslim,” he is investing back in the community through his company Boss Life Construction, restoring abandoned homes and raising the property value in Acres Homes to provide low-cost housing for low-income families.
His philanthropic efforts have extended into other partnerships with Checker’s on South Post Oak and his promotion as a drive-thru manager participating in local events like National French Fry Day providing free meals to his community.
Slim Thug (born Stayve Jerome Thomas) is an advocate of ownership, independence, and investment. The rapper’s goal is to inspire young people to focus on long-term investments and “buy back the block” rather than luxuries such as clothes, jewelry, and cars.
He spoke with the Defender about his work to support Black Houstonians, his business ventures, and the next phase of his career as an entertainer.
Defender: Who is Slim Thug, the man behind the music and fame?
Slim Thug: [I] was born on the north side of Houston, the Homestead area and then I was in my early teens [when] I moved to Acres Homes. [After] gaining some success [in the music industry], I continued to give back to the neighborhood…Northside mainly. We built about 10 low-income homes a few years back. Right now, a few of my partners, we are doing townhouses in Acres Homes, Cory Crawford, and Burns [Original] BBQ. We did a few events through Boss Life, like the Boss Life Ball where we honor a lot of entrepreneurs in the city and celebrate them. We gave a house away to a Hurricane Harvey [survivor]. We’ve done a lot. We always like to give back.
Defender: What was it like being a part of the historic rodeo performance with Bun-B?
Slim Thug: That was amazing. I’m 41 years old now and that’s probably one of the biggest if not the biggest stage I’ve been on. To still be able to do what I love at this age…it’s a blessing. I enjoyed and appreciated it. There was a lot of love in the building, a lot of interaction, and there weren’t a lot of Top 40 artists on that stage. This is just us from the city. This is something I’ll never forget.
Defender: You’ve worked with Pharrell, Beyoncé, Three Six Mafia, Scarface, Gwen Stefani, Drake, T.I, and the list goes on. Who do you wish you would have worked with or want to work with?
Slim Thug: Tupac. He inspired me as a kid. Locally, Fat Pat. I don’t think Big Mo and I did a record…the local legends. I’ve been blessed to do a lot of records with artists, so that’s the two or three that I would probably come off top to say.
Defender: Who influenced you the most in your life and what made them so important to you?
Slim Thug: I would also say Jay-Z inspired me to be a rapper at a young age. J. Prince for sure, and UGK. I took different things from people. I took the boss life mentality from J. Prince. I took the hustle mentality from Jay-Z, I took the realness from Tupac, like when he did music, it wasn’t necessarily a club song, it was something that the people could relate to.
Defender: If you can look back at your younger self, what would you tell him now?
Slim Thug: I’ve made some good decisions and of course, I’m sure I’ve messed up in some, but I ain’t mad at my journey. I’m very blessed. I would tell my younger self to stay consistent. That’s what I try to do. Even until this day, I put out music, I got an album I dropped already this year “BIGslim.” I switch it up and keep growing with the art. Don’t try to keep up with the kids. Just keep up with what you are doing and keep being better.
Defender: Is it time for the Kappa Beach Party to come back?
Slim Thug: It’s definitely time for the Kappa Beach Party to come back. The culture is still here. The youngsters love it. The youngsters are still riding the candy cars. I just want us to get it started, keep it safe because that was an amazing time. We need that back.
Laura Onyeneho covers the city’s education system as it relates to Black children for the Defender Network as a Report For America Corps member. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org