The King of Everything Else Might Be ‘the Last Stand of Slaine’ As We Know Him
The Boston emcee has cleaned up his act, and is embracing his newfound sobriety.
This may be the last time that devoted fans of hip-hop stalwart Slaine get a glimpse of the rhyme-slinger’s dark side. This summer, the Boston-based emcee will drop yet another solo album, titled The King of Everything Else, which traverses what he hopes are his final escapades where drug and alcohol use fuel his every move, lyrical rhyme set, and musical narrative.
From here on out, things are going to be different. “This album is kind of a picture of my crash, before I just got sober two months ago. It’s a picture of my crash leading up to that. It was a lot of fun, but chaotic,” he said. “I hit the breaking point. I did everything I could do. There’s no party left for me to go to. I’m trying to go in a different direction in my life, and get healthy, and explore things I can’t do when I’m fucked up on a regular basis.”
While he’s on this new journey, however, he’s not closing the door entirely on his sordid adventures, especially as they pertain to his sophomore solo album. With Slaine set to release his latest effort, he’s undoubtedly bound to follow it up with some appearances on stage. Admittedly, it’s going to be strange, at times, for the rapper to perform songs that are about “drugs, money, and sex,” when he’s clearing his head and breaking free from saturating himself in those vices. But Slaine—born George Carroll—knows he’ll be able to manage it without issue. “I feel tremendous, man. I feel great. It’s almost weird to put this album out. I’ve had such a change in my life. When I listen to it, I’m like, ‘man, this is some wild shit,’” he said, laughing. “But I just did 10 shows sober, and my shows are just better. I have more wind, I’m more focused—I think people who have seen me for years, who saw me at the St. Patrick’s Day show in Boston, were like, ‘wow.’ My energy is just there.”
The King of Everything Else is packed with that same hyper-charged “high energy,” which is threaded into both his vocals and beats, and supplemented with true tales about his recent activities in a post-divorce mindset, things he won’t shy away from even though he’s no longer actively drinking. “It’s me,” he said. “It’s not a character.” Slaine said like any profession, though, as people get older, it’s all about absorbing changes as they’re presented to you, which includes getting clean for the right reasons. “It’s adapt or die. And I’m not ready to die yet.”
He can’t. He has too much work to do. Slaine’s name has always been synonymous with a plate piled high with ongoing projects, regardless of whether he’s sober, or charging ahead into a drug-and-drink-induced foray. In the last few years, the emcee has appeared in several blockbuster films, including Gone, Baby, Gone, and The Town, both of which were directed by Ben Affleck in Boston. He’s also taken on larger roles in independent films that are scheduled for release at the end of 2014. Uninterrupted by his new take on life, he plans on continuing to attack these types of opportunities while filling his schedule with musical collaborations with rappers like Madchild, for their new super-group called Supreme Villain. The duo has an album coming out sometime next year.
With Affleck working on a new Whitey Bulger biopic soon, Slaine said he wouldn’t mind making an appearance in that film, too, but he hasn’t heard from the sought-after director about any possible plans as of yet. “Who knows when it’s going to get done. I take things one project at a time, because you never know how things will unfold,” he said. “I’m always up for working with Ben, though. He’s a genius. But he’s busy. He’s huge. He’s had one of the biggest comebacks ever. But I’m always down to work with him.”
Until that opportunity presents itself—he’s not thinking about it too much—Slaine said he’d continue to bounce between his home here in the city, and his workload in Los Angeles, embracing his newfound sobriety, and focusing on more positive ventures in both music and film.
But he urged listeners that seethe for the type of brashness conveyed on previous albums to grab on to what’s in store this summer, because it’s not something that’s likely to carry over next time he approaches a project. “It’s the last stand—the last stand of Slaine,” he said. “You’re going to see a new guy moving forward. A little bit different. You’re going to see the demon in full force in this last album. Anybody who likes that better get it. This might be the last site of him.”
Slaine will be performing with Swollen Members (Madchild and Prevail) at the Middle East, in Cambridge, on May 13.