[FEATURES] Slate: The Experience

It always amazes me when I see young artists who are on their grind. For as hard as you see some younger artists working, it's still not necessarily the norm. Connecting with Slate, we knew it would be an opportunity to spotlight his upcoming performance showcase, but it turned into a greater cause. Anytime we get the chance, it's important yes we recognize the hard work that artists are putting into their careers, their passion, and so forth. Slate is working tirelessly and diligently at building his career; so hard that it's hard to believe he's still technically a minor. In just a few short years, he's built a name in music that is sure to stand the test of time, given the amount of work he's out in. I mention his showcase again, primarily because while most artists would wait for someone to organize such an opportunity for them, he took the time and organized it himself. Just listening to him speak, you realize immediately just how articulate and well-spoken he is. He's definitely wise beyond his years, and you'll see that in our exclusive. He gives us the rundown on his upcoming showcase, his upcoming EP, and the big announcement he plans to make later this month! We're excited to present to you: SLATE!


UG Digital Mag: Greetings to you. I appreciate you for your time today. I know you’ve worked really hard for a few years to get established. Begin by talking about how you ended up in Atlanta, given you’re from New York. 


Slate: There’s not really much story behind it. I came home from school one day and my mom said we were moving (laughing). I didn’t really want to. If it were up to me, I would still be in New York, but she made the decision. 


UG Digital Mag: I think it turned out to be a good thing though. There’s so much happening in Atlanta which has proven to be good for your career. It’s a good thing, and you’ve been blessed to showcase your talent. How has that transition been, given the fact you initially did not want to go?


Slate: As an artist, it hasn’t been that bad. I wasn’t really known as a rapper. In New York, I had just started rapping. I was known as an actor. As an artist, it wasn’t that much of a transition. It was more like I was just trying something new. Although I had been rapping, I just wasn’t doing it for that long. Being here, everything was new to me. The weather is weird, the slang is weird. It's like everyone has accents. I had to learn the same things in school over again. Eighth grade math here is seventh grade math in New York. The same thing applied for science. It was difficult to adjust, but now I’ve been here a long time so it’s much better. 


UG Digital Mag: You say you were known as an actor. Had you acted in a number of things? What types of things had you done?


Slate: I was a child actor, starting at age seven. I’ve been in plays, commercials, tv shows, voiceovers, and print ads. I’ve done multiple Chuck E Cheese spots. I was on the Electric Company. I’ve done a lot as an actor. That was more what I was known as. At first, I was going to continue with that. 


UG Digital Mag: I think it’s great though. What’s the one thing you feel that you represent as an artist, considering you’ve made the transition to music?


Slate: I guess it’s the honesty. I mean, people always ask me what I rap about. I feel like it’s a weird question because I don’t rap about just one thing. I don’t pigeonhole myself that way. I rap about life, whether it’s mine, or that of those around me. I feel like I represent honesty and transparency. I make sure my music comes from the heart, no matter what I’m talking about. 


UG Digital Mag: Now you have a showcase coming up. As opposed to it being something you are going out for, you’re actually putting this on yourself. Talk about that.


Slate: This is my first show that I’m doing myself. It’s called the Even Experience, and It’s coming April 30. It’s a performance showcase. I’ve been working hard this past two years on my upcoming project. Aside from that, I have a major announcement coming up. I wanted a way to present those announcements along with my new music. When I did my first mixtape two years ago, I had a listening party while celebrating my birthday. I killed two birds with one stone then. This year, I really wanted to put on my first showcase. I’ve grown as my artist, and rather than have a listening session, I wanted people to come out and vibe with me, and see me perform. That’s exactly what it is. It’s going to be something to speak about. 


UG Digital Mag: What’s the outcome of the showcase for the other artists involved? Aren’t there other artists involved?


Slate: Yes. There are other artists that me and my management will seek out that will come to showcase their talent, leading up to my performing. It’s a way for me to do a couple of things, like, I’ve performed a lot, but I’ve never had a full set. I’ve done one, two, and three songs. I wanted to get the experience of perfuming a full set. I’ve made the transition, and an announcement is coming up. I feel like that will be the biggest thing of the event. 


UG Digital Mag: It’s definitely good to see you do this on your own. You don’t see that with a lot of artist, especially the younger ones. Many of them are not as involved in their careers as you are in yours. Why was it important to be able to do this for yourself?


Slate: Just in taking control of my career, musically, I’ve always been in control. I wanted to have the experience of putting on my own show, and say that people came out to see me. I wanted the feeling of knowing they came out because they wanted to see me and what I was showcasing. Rather than waiting for the opportunity to come down the line, I wanted to take the bull by the horns. I want it to be something that grows and is successful so that I can have another Even Experience. I want to grow as an artist and give fans the chance to grow with me. 


UG Digital Mag: It’s clear that as an artist, you’ve learned a lot about how to present yourself. Looking at your predecessors, what are the biggest things you learned from watching them?


Slate: Mainly, the hard work side of things when it comes to perseverance and grinding. A lot of people think that talent alone will get you to where you want to be. Talent is great, and you definitely need it, but that's not all it takes. There’s always a great rapper who never makes it, or a great basketball player who never makes it. The difference between them and a Steph Curry, or Kobe Bryant, is the work they put in. 


UG Digital Mag: You recently released your latest project, I’m Sorry, Soon. Where did the the title come from?


Slate: Basically, all 2015, I talked about the EP coming soon. Needless to say, I’m still working on it. Rather than rush it, I wanted to give the fans something to hold them over. The title is just saying, I’m sorry it’s not here yet, but it’s coming soon. 


UG Digital Mag: Who were people you were able to work with in putting it together?


Slate: It’s been close knit. I worked with one engineer for both projects. When it comes to collaborations, it’s been in-house. It hasn’t been too much outside interference. 


UG Digital Mag: What’s coming up next aside from the EP? Is there even a date yet?


Slate: No date yet. I have a goal, but every time I speak it, it doesn’t happen. But it’s definitely coming soon. We’re almost there when it comes to the finish line, but I’m not rushing it. It’s definitely coming soon. My single for the EP will drop at the Even Experience. That’s what the focus is. We’re trying to make sure there are as many people as possible to vibe with me and support me. April 30th! After that, it’s just going to be post-production. From there, when I’m ready and content, the people will have it. 


UG Digital Mag: I would love for people to continue checking you out. Where can they find you online?


Slate: My social media for Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Soundcloud, it @LyricalSlate. Youtube as a lot of performances, and SoundCloud has both of my projects. My Instagram is @CantHateSlate


UG Digital Mag: Any final comments at all?


Slate: I just want to thank you for this opportunity, and I’m stressing the Even Experience! April 30th at the Karma Bistro, in the SkyBox. 1179 South Hairston Road, in Stone Mountain. Doors open at 4:30, and it goes from 5pm - 7pm. Single is coming April 30th, and EP is coming soon!

MusicJames Johnson