These days, Houston is even in the New York Times, with a big feature article and a picture of Devin the Dude (I think I fucking died when I turned the page to that shit). Kelly Clarkson is reportedly releasing a chopped-and-screwed version of “Breakaway,” and I just saw your mom buy the new Mike Jones album. Hip-hop (the big-business version) moves around the country like Vikings pillaging the countryside, and a big fat scene such as H-town (see, Houston starts with an “H”) is ripe for the picking.
Enter Slim Thug, who just might turn out to be the Barry White of hip-hop. Slow, slurred (which is practically how he pronounces slow) and coming from a place that can’t be identified as anything but guttural, his voice floats over the beat with all the finesse of an elephant, stomping over horn stabs and drum kicks.
Album highlight “3 Kingz” brings a beat from Houston’s Mr. Lee that would make Deadringer-era RJD2 proud without ignoring the G-crunk sound that Houston’s mainstream brings to the table. Follow-up “Diamonds” is equally pleasing: dark, muddled and ominous with a lurking bass line ready to explode. This is the music Slim was born to ride: deep and intimidating. His lyrics stick to the script through most of the album, but it doesn’t matter. This is groove music, and his voice is perfect for it.
When he strays though, it’s almost always a disappointment. His love songs, both the female version found on “Miss Mary” and the thug version found on “Dedicate,” fail miserably. Furthermore, premiering on the Neptune’s Star Trak was a mistake for Slim, who despite his obvious natural talent isn’t made for big-time beats. He would be well-advised to stick to his local flavor. When the Neptunes lace the track, it often sounds weak and ready to collapse under Slim’s heavy flow.
“I Ain’t Heard of That (Remix)” brings the sound the Neptunes are currently in love with: odd percussion, almost exclusively, with occasional guitar stabs. But when Slim’s voice jumps on top of it, the whole house of cards falls down, in only the most obvious example. The title track is the lone success for the collaboration, which makes up half of the album, and that’s basically where Already Platinum stumbles.
If Slim had stuck to his Houston roots, he may have even had a classic on his hands. That’s how good some of these songs really are, and it’s how good Slim Thug can be. Houston is well-deserving of the hype that’s been building for years now, but breakout emcees should take note: It’s your sound that made you platinum, and it’s your sound that will keep you there.