words by Patrick Johnson
It’s been over five years since Archibald Slim dropped his Don’t Call the Cops project through Awful Records featuring a title track that was addicting and immediate. Then after his follow-up Last Days in the Bario later that year, the Atlanta rapper disappeared for the better part of the past half-decade. Today he returns to premiere his new single “Til’ i Wake Up” featuring long-time collaborator Father.
“After Last Days in the Barrio, I kinda lost my mind for a little bit. I was aimless moving back and forth between New York and Atlanta — just doing a lot of careless, reckless sh*t,” Slim told HYPEBEAST ahead of the track’s premiere. “I decided to come to Los Angeles to try to get away from the negative sh*t that was influencing me and actually try to make something from the music.”
After connecting with POW Recordings, Slim has been focusing on creating cohesive and full volumes of work, steadily planning for their respective releases in the near future. “Til’ i Wake Up” is a solid start. While he’s disbanded from Awful Records, he’s still actively recruiting his friends and collaborators for features with Father lending a smooth contrast to Archibald’s hard-hitting bars. “N*ggas worried about growing old/ I ain’t tryna live that long,” Slim raps, dealing with the immediacy of street life. This track focuses on the day-to-day grind and staying independent in all aspects of life, from the streets to his returned focus on his music career.
HYPEBEAST: First off, welcome back. “Til i Wake Up” is definitely a statement record. The “Worried about getting old/ I ain’t tryna live that long” bar was too real. What have you been up to the past few years since we last heard from you on Last Days in the Barrio and a few SoundCloud loosies in 2018?
Archibald Slim: That line really sums up the mind-state I had during that time. After Last Days in the Barrio, I kinda lost my mind for a little bit. I was aimless moving back and forth between New York and Atlanta — just doing a lot of careless, reckless sh*t. I was always recording but I wasn’t really taking it as seriously as before. I always felt like if I can get paid more just making moves out here then I was just going to focus more when folks started paying me what I asked for.
Up until 2018, I was doing the most, but the more you start to see people around you going to jail and getting into bullsh*t you start to wonder, “Is this all I’m supposed to be doing?” So in 2018, I decided to come to Los Angeles to try to get away from the negative sh*t that was influencing me and actually try to make something from the music. Atlanta for me just started to look like a trap and it’s really hard for me to stay out of the mix while I’m there.
What’s the story behind “Til i Wake Up”?
“N*ggas don’t give you a pass for sh*t you be doing at night/ So if it ain’t nobody mad that mean you ain’t doin it right.” That kinda sums up the idea behind the song for me. The world don’t start spinnin’ ’til I wake up because at the end of the day I’m the only one who can make sh*t happen for me. Nobody cares about what you goin through and nobody cares about how you got there unless somehow it affects them. You can go your whole life tryin to play by someone else’s rules and the first time you fall off track they’re going to treat you like you’re the devil.
Things don’t move until you make them move and you can’t be worried about who you might offend because you’ll just end up tiptoeing your whole life. Some “friends” only play that friend card when they want something or it’s time to guilt you into some sh*t… When it’s all bad are they there to help or are they there to criticize? It’s all about knowing you’re the only one that has to live with the decisions you make so it’s better to just put yourself first from the beginning. Your life is the only one you’re truly responsible for so what’s the point of letting somebody else do the thinking for you?
What was it about Awful and Father that first drew you to that collective back when you first started out pursuing music seriously?
Me and Fat were cool before Awful Records was even a thought. We both dropped out of college around the same time and everybody else we hung around were musicians. Me, Fat, Ethereal, Spacebar, Micah Freeman, Gahm, Stalin, hell most of awful records met years before we even gave it a name. After years of only beign around the same people and us all being musicians we all just decided to put a name on it and run with it. Even though it’s not something I’m a part of anymore, just being around that many people with the same goals made it easier to bounce ideas and learn new ways to come at shit.
10-plus people in one smoked-out apartment with one microphone, you’re bound to come out with something people have never heard before. There’s an intro on this Lord Finesse record “Brainstorm” where somebody says, “If you take a whole group of really superbad dudes and just hang ‘em all together, they’ll make some music whether or not somebody else thought it was hip or not.” And that’s just basically what it was like. A real symbiotic environment for a bunch of young folks tryna figure out what’s next.
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2020 and beyond?
I’m trying to get my hands into as many things as I can. But as far as 2020, I just want to try to get at least one full length project out. It’s been so long that everything feels like I’m just starting from square one so I’m not trying to overwhelm myself or burn myself out too quickly. With the state of things in the world today, things change so quickly that I don’t even want to make plans too far ahead. I’m just gonna start here and roll with the punches.