Saturday, September 9
Sean Daleys face was meant for T-shirts. His stare has the intensity of zip-tone and his grimace allows his chin to skew enough for a "Fuck Bush" in 30 point Helvetica. Performing under the moniker Slug, and the public face for indie hip hop stars Atmosphere, he has pushed Eminem off dorm and basement walls of disenfranchised youth everywhere to become their T-shirt messiah and lead them out of the suburbs.
The rest of the world has taken notice as Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly embrace Atmospheres latest, You Cant Imagine How Much Fun Were Having, and his music appears on AND1 commercials and Tony Hawk videogames. Slug takes time away from his divine mission to speak with Fast Forward about his impact on the kids and why he wont pimp-slap you.
FFWD: With this mainstream love and being a father, do you feel your fans still connect with you?
Slug: I was used to preaching to the hundred kids who knew my language. These days, I get to write on blank slates. I found comfort in that. My job now is to be a catalyst in creating a community for some 17-year-old who feels he doesnt fit in anywhere
FFWD: Your die-hard fans these days seem mostly teenage, white and suburban.
Slug: Some of my contemporaries got neurotic about that, asking, "Where are the hip-hop people and whys everybody white?" I try to stay out of all that, cause it was like that growing up. My father is black and Native American and my mother is white. Until junior high, I wasnt friends with white kids. They didnt relate to me cause I talked and acted black. The black kids in junior high didnt grow up with me, so they thought I was just a white kid. I was in this misfit area and learned to have sex with whoever would have sex with me.
FFWD: Guys from the early days of indie hip hop are now appearing in todays commercials and video games. Why do you think thats so accepted these days?
Slug: A lot of us wore the "Fuck corporate or die" mantra because we didnt know better. I got offered $80,000 from a soda company to put their banner on stage during a tour. If I accepted, a handful of kids would accuse me of selling out. But I could have given half to a homeless shelter for kids, taken the other half for a second tour bus so I could bring on three more rap groups. I turned it down because I dont drink soda.
FFWD: How are your fans reacting to this new way of thinking?
Slug: Its easy to see a "Fuck corporate rock" T-shirt on (the cover of) Rolling Stone as iconoclastic, but who better to say fuck corporate rock than those involved? Every show, at least four kids bitch at me for having a video on MTV. I could pimp-slap the shit out of them, but thats not what they need. I was that kid. I had to feel that way to figure out where I actually stand. I didnt get cool until I was 17 when I realized what records I owned dictated what girls I got to sleep with.
FFWD: Maybe its because Im an old man, but I couldnt stand the kids at your last concert.
Slug: Definitely a new batch of kids showing up. Doing Warp Tour for two years got me kids with no business being at my show. I thank God I got them, because I can make a difference with them, as much as my friends dont come out cause the kids are mad annoying. I want to take three kids in each show and be a doorway drug to something truly profound.
FFWD: You talk about making music for the kids, but what about music for people more your age?
Slug: When I write shit, I write it for people my age. When me and Ant put it together, we do it for people our age. When its time to present it, people our age arent coming to the shows. Here I am with these kids in front of me, so I totally feed off their energy. Its a younger crowd this year and Im not shunning that. When they want me to shut the fuck up, they can just say so.