Written By Elliot F:
Sugar Tongue Slim (S.T.S.) will be the first to tell you- he’s not a rapper. He’s no DJ either, but the genre-bending lyricist is an unquestionable master of mixing. The genre-bending poet hails from Atlanta by way of Philly, where he cut his teeth on the slam poetry scene around artists like Questlove and Black Ice. At the urging of Hip Hop legend DJ Jazzy Jeff, Slim started rapping and hasn’t look back. Now the talented verbalist is as comfortable rapping on tracks by producers like RJD2 and Kavinsky as he is writing for Ciara and Ludacris. I sat down to pick his brain about music, fashion and fusion.
You’re from Atlanta but you’re a Philly based rapper. Talk to me about influences from two cities with such dope musical pedigrees
Man I wasn’t on rap like that. I listened to Big Rube and Malik Yusef coming up. When I got to Philly I went and checked out a concert with The Roots, Jill Scott, and Bilal all together. I was hooked.
You and Khari Mateen both hail from Atlanta. Talk to me about the inspiration behind y’all’s record, Better on a Sunday, and how that came to fruition.
I’m getting to the point where I’ve got my sound together. I’m able to bounce around on different projects. My man RJD2 set my thing straight. I did a project with him 2-3 years ago (STSxRJD2) then I hooked up with my man Khari Mateen. The first song I ever did with RJ was with Khari- pretty much met RJ through Khari. I knew him from when we used to work with The Roots. We have similar backgrounds- Khari was born in Bakersfield, CA and grew up in Georgia. We’re both from Atlanta basically and both moved up to Philly and met. I ended up going out to Cali and he just happened to be out there but I hadn’t talked to him in a minute. I hit him like “watsup man let’s get in the studio’ and he sent me the address. I was like “yo I can walk to your crib! Let’s just go ahead and really work.”
We had been working on this project called “Better on a Sunday” (link) for like 3 years. When he was here in Philly, we used to work on our own stuff during the week and on Sundays I’d go over to his crib and we’d just work together. It was just a timing thing- Sundays worked better. The first song we made together was Better on a Sunday (link) and after that everything kinda fell into place. We already had the basic idea for the record, the mood that we wanted was real soulful, more downhome atlanta type vibe. You get that whole vibe.
How’s touring with Busty and the Bass?
Became a whole family thing. Sound works together (they have a rapper and a singer) they have 9 people and we have a DJ element.
When we met you talked about working with Kavinsky. Tell me more about that.
The otherside of the shit i’m doing is some overseas stuff. My next project is with a group called Black Catholics with a producer named Alex out there. Alex Baveli. Him and his older brother and another guy have a group called KCPK. I did a single for him and me and Alex just kept working. Next thing I know he lets his brother hear them and he’s like hey man y’all want a deal? So I’m still independent in the states but out there I’m with universal france. But this all comes from a mixtape thing called Gold Rush where we used to sample different artists and remake their songs.
Our first was a Rick Ross Remix where we had Ferg come spit. Then we remixed Kavinsky Night Calls. He his us on twitter and it took off. We did a Gaultier record and Universal Germany his us up for the Kavinski joint. We toured with Kavinsky when the record dropped.
Best late night food?
Fish tacos (grilled)
Most awkward/thirsty text you received recently?
Please leave me alone.
Favorite fashion items you’re rocking right now?
Jacket I got in portland. Christian Dior raincoat.
Shot of jack or any whiskey that’s in the room.
Post show ritual?
We take a shot and cheers, “Here’s to the highest of the highs, and the lowest of the lows.”
Weirdest thing you’ve seen on tour?
When the Crookers broke up. It was the saddest day of my life.
Favorite place to travel?
Berlin or Paris. Berlin has great shopping. Great vintage spots. I always buy a leather jacket. Killawatt in Paris.
Favorite place to perform?
Can’t smoke in there but I love Brooklyn Bowl. Just played there with RJD2. Everyone knows us before coming to the show so it’s pretty cool. Anywhere in Colorado but Red Rocks is dope. The Independent in San Francisco.
Got my man Tino after he passed. That’s my best friend.
Who are you listening to right now?
Phonte. That album does it for me. or Sun Little.
Best performance you’ve seen recently?
Pleasantly surprised by TPain at In Bloom. Also Aqueous Transmission.