Slim Pickens: Think it was about 10 years ago when I deciding taking on a new stage name of SLiM PiCKENS over my former Kastro moniker. I came up with SLiM PiCKENS from listening to the music changing to crap so I said finding anything worth listening to in rap/HipHop was slim pickings and BAM epiphany sparked and now here I is!!! Kastro was more of a street name, always was a militant minded individual and I admired how he came to power from out the jungles of Cuba with his guerrilla tactics so I told people call me Kastro because that was my mind set. Also there is Iron Helmet, that actually came about sum 5 years or so ago building with my man Wiz who presented this idea of a collective known as the Shogun Assassins. We had a core of 4 MCs myself, Wiz, Benny, and my man Axe. I chose Iron Helmet from reflecting on my personal characteristics like I can be hard headed, strong willed, and most time fearless as well as reckless. I thought imagine I wore an iron helmet around I would just bash thru walls, head but motherfuckers etc... Hahaaa. Then to get deeper into the whole samurai theme, because we were to take on the persona of an actual ronin samurai, I am hard iron metal(mettle) forged in fire(hell) to create this sword(tongue) I wield and once again BAM Iron Hell Met or Iron Helmet.
Slim Pickens: I been writing for about 20 years of and on. I used to write the lyrics of rappers and singers off tapes and records I would listen to back in the days. Yeah do the math on that, I'm golden baby lol. It was just something that I fell in love with and decided to try my hand at, I am as old as Hip Hop culture is man word is bond I am an unknown aborigine when it comes down to it. I would play around freestyling in ciphers on the corners or in the store house when we pitched them cracks and played spades yadayada. I just always loved the rhyming and I told myself I'm gonna write some rhymes and so I did
Paranom: Who are your influences? Why?
Slim Pickens: Biggest influences are my moms and my grandmother (R.I.P) used to call her Ma lol Miss her. These 2 women inspired me to go do what I deemed necessary in life no judgement. As far as musical influences Michael Jackson, that dude could sing his heart out. I used to think he was an alien lol. Just had so much passion in his singing that's a big inspiration to me, passion. Bruce Lee is another influence, and I know you want to know MCs/Rappers b.u.t. these folks are a bigger inspiration to me. Bruce was the epitome of mind over matter he did things you would only see in the movies in real life, this man had a fight every other day in the street because cats wanted to test his steez. That's some hood shit right there that I can relate to. Richard Pryor because that was a crazy ass dude who said what he wanted and was just funny as fuck. OK now to MCs/Rappers KRS and I mean old school KRS w/Scott LaRock Criminal Minded album was the Shiiiiiiiiiiiiit lol. Slick Rick was another, great story teller rhymes. Run DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, EPMD, Red Man, Rakim, Public Enemy, LL, Nas, and the list probably wont stop. I'm influenced by powerful lyrics, flow, and rhythm. If its good I'm listening and taking notes.
Paranom: What are some things you might listen to besides Hip Hop that help you unwind?
Slim Pickens: I like jazz Coltrane, Miles, Herbie Hancock easy listening with some dope improvised rhythms. Also listen to some soul, blues, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday, B.B. King, Mary J etc...Also listen to some of the newer singers like Amy Winehouse (R.I.P.), Alicia Keys, Neyo, D'Angelo, Rafeal Saddiq. I'm a quality man. I like thought provoking music you know.
Listen To: "Get Ya Mind Right"
Slim Pickens: Biggest 1 is Islam. Then would be The Way (hagukare). Islam is a path of knowledge and enlightenment becoming 1 with all through the source of all, understanding that what you see me doing is actually the work of everything in unison. I don't stand alone outside of anything. We are all connected on an unseen level. The Hagukare in some ways deals with the same points of Islam, in that your actions are for the source rather than for self. No thought involved just go in. Death is the honor in the Way, when you go into battle or whatever the case may be you have no fear of death because to die for what is right is honorable. As far as mantras go, even though its from a corrupted corporation, "Just Do It" is a big one also "where there is will, there is a way." Whatever we think can be, can be. Our will is what creates all these things we see.
Paranom: What are some of the things that you would like a listener to take away from your music?
Slim Pickens: I would love for listeners to broaden their minds and to explore more than what is seen and known. To take a look at themselves and become aware of all things in and around them. Also some vocabulary. I like to use words that are not used everyday to spark some one to think a bit and do a bit of research into what I am saying. Lastly just some good old fashioned entertainment.
Paranom: As far as the future of Hip-Hop culture goes, do you think it being more accessible to those who did not exactly create the culture benefit its growth? Why or why not? And if not, how do you think it can be, if possible?
Slim Pickens: Definitely, with the culture being more accessible its global presence has become astronomical. Everything is Hip Hop and Hip Hop is everything. This is what its supposed to be and how it will be forever. Hip Hop is about educating, creating, uplifting people, and having fun I think some get a hold of it and distort it and market it as a way to cash in b.u.t. that happens with anything that is accepted by masses of people and cultures.
Slim Pickens: Raw beauty of people doing something, building something when they are showed, told and taught they have nothing.
Paranom: Have you thought about how long you will be MCing? Do you see it as something you do, or something you live?
Slim Pickens: Yeah I have and I will die MCing because its the life I chose. I am not a politician or religious leader, a banker, a lawyer, a doctor, a cashier or burger flipper, I am and will always be an MC!!!
Paranom: What's currently on your daily playlist?
Slim Pickens: I don't actually have a playlist, I listen to music randomly as life goes, I may be cleaning and say I want to hear such and such and BAM make it happen. I usually listen to underground Hip Hop and folks that I know who do music.
Paranom: Who are some new artists you're checking for right now?
Slim Pickens: Like I said the people I know, I'm checking for anything new and original. I'm not a big name dropper so I'll just say whatever is coming out of The North East and some West Coasters not a big Southern fan b.u.t. that could change if and when the content of majority of music from that hemisphere changes.
Paranom: As an artist, what's the approach you take to creating a track? Are they mostly based on routine, or is it purely spontaneous?
Slim Pickens: I open my back door, breathe in the air, smile at the sun, press play on the track and the words just come. I guess u can say its spontaneous b.u.t. I think its more of channeling in tune with it all and whatever message needs to be relayed I deliver. Rarely do I make a track sitting and thinking about subject matter and what is to be said.
Paranom: What projects are you working on right now?
Slim Pickens: I'm working on a few projects for 2013. My main focus is The Iron Hell-Met album and an EP follow up produced by my man Thirdeye Focused from the Bay area. It's kind of a prequel to the Shogun Assassins saga which I'm looking for this to bring it into fruition. I'm actually still looking for animators and artists to help with the comic and series I want to include with the album, so if your reading and you fit the bill, lets talk.
Then I'm working on an EP with my homie P-Tech Santiago from Sweden by way of Portugal. Havent decide on a name for this project b.u.t. its coming!!!
Lastly I'm putting together a mixtape I'm calling The Green Monsta 3. Green Monsta is a mixtape I started with my man ONLY in early 2000s, and I'm looking to do it all Boston and MA produced tracks with me and some guest features.
Slim Pickens: That was an amazing trip. I don't know a lick of any other language besides American English b.u.t. the communication was not an issue. The appreciation and love for Hip Hop culture is great over there, more so than over here, the knowledge of the history is very inspiring. I met a lot of great people and made some strong connections so I will be returning next year!!!
Paranom: Looking into the future of underground Hip-Hop, especially in Boston, how do you see the connection between the States and Europe increasing, or decreasing if it is?
Slim Pickens: It is definitely increasing, Boston Hip Hop will be very prominent. In Europe, trust me and I don't want to say much more because it hasn't been sealed 100% as of yet.
Paranom: What are all the places that you went to in Europe? Explain the similarities and differences for the readers who aren't familiar with them.
Slim Pickens: I went to Brussels, Belgium which is nothing like I have experienced before. Its a pretty open and free atmosphere. Not to much that I witnessed that was frowned upon in public. I also went to Lille, France which kind of reminded me of Jamaica Plain just more Muslim. The biggest difference were the narrow roads, compact size cars, language, and Kebab shops everywhere hahaa
Paranom: For those who might be apprehensive about going to Europe due to either money or fear, in what ways do you think it can help an MC's career? How has it helped you?
Slim Pickens: I don't think it helped my career much. It's just the fact of visiting another country to play your music for an accepting audience can definitely boost your confidence level to new heights. I made some very good connections and will be building on future events, and I made some new fans.
Paranom: Explain some traits of the Hip-Hop scenes from other places you've been that you can see translate to this scene in MA and help it grow.
Slim Pickens: The major thing I noticed, and maybe it was because it was a festival, is that people come out and when they come out they stay to have a great time. I think that happens here just not that often unless its some one with a bigger name than "local rapper #2." There needs to be more support involved in the heart of MA and the core of Boston Hip Hop so we can all reap the benefits of being acknowledged as a home of Hip Hop culture instead of just a top 10 music market.
Paranom: Lastly, where can the people reach you?
Slim Pickens: You can't reach me, your arms are too short lol. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org you can check out some music at
Website Coming Soon!