Slaine’s an interesting figure in that he’s probably known by two different crowds for two different things. On the one hand he is, as of late, a sort of go-to for large, intimidating thug’s in Boston-set crime flicks. Having had small roles in Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone and The Town, as well as Andrew Dominick’s Killing Them Softly, with more projects on the horizon, Slaine is finding a place in the diamonds of Hollywoodland.
On the other hand, he’s a fixture in the world of hard edged hip hop. A career he’s been training for since the age of nine. With a slew of solo albums as well as collaborations as part of La Coka Nostra, Slaine’s been slinging his dark stories with his razor sharp, gritty flow for years and is growing ever more popular with each successive record.
His new record The King of Everything Else is his greatest musical achievement to date. Featuring soundscapes filled with heavy, bass loaded beats and songs about gangsters, drug dealers and pimps all trying to cut a buck out of the streets, often at the expense of happiness and peace.
Slaine is a master storyteller, but even more impressive than his gangster noir is his control of the mic as he spits it out. His dizzying array of wordplay and snare tight flow on songs like ‘Pissed It All Away’, ‘Children of the Revolution’ and ‘Bobby Be Real’ outshines anything he’s done before. It even overshadows the appearances of the guests that appear on the record. Which is an accomplishment as the likes of Ill Bill, Madchild, Vinnie Paz and Termanology all have amazing verses themselves. That’s the way it should be though. Nobody wants a guest to outshine the lead on his own record.
Although Slaine spent a number of years in New York honing his craft on those very particular streets, he has always been, by his fans and by himself, most closely associated with Boston.
His records are filled with his observations and wheeling’s and dealings on the streets which have provided such ample grit for a slew of crime films in the last ten years.
On The King of Everything Else, Slaine raps about these streets on kick off song ‘Handouts’ and continues to paint a picture of petty crime which turns more sinister as the album chugs along.
If there’s one thing I can say for The King of Everything Else that works against it, it’s just that after 17 songs, the heaviness of the subject matter and musical accompaniment can get to be a little much and I found myself wanting to wring myself dry of it and walk around in the sunshine for a while. Or throw on that Will Smith CD my grandma bought me when I was a kid (just kid-ding).
That’s a minor gripe though and at the end of the day, Slaine’s new record is one of the best hip hop releases of the year. His talent with words and flow increase with every release and The Kind of Everything Else is his best to date.