Toxic Slime Clique
Words by Alan Ng & Jenkin Au
Photography by Andy Fang
Toxic Slime Clique – Grind Mode Mixdown[audio:TSC.mp3]
Cliché, R2, Kris Blade, and Audacious form Toxic Slime Clique. The justalilhype! Crew was able to meet up with this up and coming group. Individually, they have their own mixtapes and have been doing it for a while, but collectively, it’s only just starting. Originally formed with Kris Blade and R2, Cliché joined up and then brought Audacious in all the way from Alabama. Toxic Slime Clique tells us their story on their individuality, differences and how they use those to their advantages in making different music for the world to hear.
Please introduce the crew to our readers.
C: Yeah, we go by the name Toxic Slime Clique. That’s R2, TC,
KB: AKA Kris Blade
C: – Cliché, and that’s Audacious. He just came down from Alabama. We work as a group, all of us, but we’re all individual artists as well. R2 is himself, TC is himself, and I, we all just do shows together and make music together. It’s a family and that’s what it’s all about.
Tell us about your style of music.
R2: Well, for me, I’m into a lot of conscious rap and political rap, some for ladies too. I’m at the point where I try to be versatile, so I work with all of them and it keeps me versatile and up on my toes with what’s fresh and what’s hot. I like that not-too-flashy style – I like more content in my lyrics.
KB: I got into hip hop listening to a lot of, fucking, Wu Tang Clang and Mobb Deep, so that was my real influence to get right into writing. As far as me being an emcee, I like to write about the community. I’m from the Pilipino community and I volunteer and that really politicalizes me. That’s how I came up for the lyrics for my first mixtape. I’m just a big hip hop head and nerd. I would collect records and do our work because that’s my expression.
C: For me, I just write about what I go through in life. I listen to all types of music, not just rap. I listen to RnB and rock and whatever – I just try to mix it up however I can and make myself better. Everybody brings something different to the table and that’s what has made us successful – we do that and we have so many different weapons that comes together as a group. I feel like my influences have a lot to do with my content, but at the same time, I spit what I’m going through.
A: Just like Cliché said it, a lot of my music is based on experience and me in any situation in life, I’ll write about that. Also, I listen to a lot of types of music, whatever influences me. I’ve been writing since I was seven years old – hip hop has been real there already but here, it’s a different style. People say it’s really different from the north or the south, but my ear picks up everything. I can feel everything, like music is one. I listen to so much music and be versatile with it – that’s what I work with these guys.
How did you guys come up with the name Toxic Slime Clique?
KB: It was me. I wanted to come up with a cool name and I’ve always wanted to be in a rap group. I got into this really late, but just me hanging out with friends, we just came up with the group name. In the Philippines, they used to have this group called TSC and I just kind of brought that in. I came up with Toxic Slime Clique one day, really randomly, and then I found out this guy (R2) was really into hip hop and everything, so I was like, “Yo, we should get together and start writing.”
R2: Yeah, so it started from him (KB), but then we gave it meaning afterwards. Toxic, being it’s a little poisonous because we’re in the underground scene and it’s not for everyone. Slime, because it’s deadly lyrics. Toxic Slime started with Kris Blade and I and then Cliché joined in, so we made it Clique, because we’re in a group now, not just a tandem. Audacious came in this year and made it really hot and now we’re a new formed group.
So you guys talked about who came in and when, but how did you guys meet? Where was the starting point?
KB: My crib!
C: The starting point? I think we just all started doing rap around the same time. [Audacious] started when he was seven and for me, I started when I was 14, 15, when I was still in high school. We started and we saw and respected each other.
R2: Us three went to Richmond High, so we all know each other.
C: We didn’t know we were doing music, though.
R2: After high school, we kind of had more time to focus on music and that’s how everything came together. We held a meeting at Blenz or something like that and talked about stuff. Cliché just schooled us about how to get attention and stuff like that.
C: Basically, I just see a lot of things, not just from music, but at the end of the day, you got to have some sort of meaning to why you’re doing this because we’re grown men. We’re not just playing hide and seek, you know what I’m saying? At the end, you got to see some sort of income – we got families and they need food on the table. At the end of the day, we got to have a game plan. The funny thing is, we just started. We’re rookies.
R2: We had the music thing going on but we just didn’t know the business part. Cliché came in and schooled us on how we should get this started.
What kind of new flavour do you guys bring to the game?
C: We’re all different. R2 is very politically but at the same time, he raps about the ladies, very lyrical, very smart and very intelligent. [KB]’s got the speed – he knows how to flow and he’s really political as well. For myself, I just felt like if I started hanging out with the TSC Clique, I feel like I would bring something different to the table in terms of how I rap. I brought Audacious in and we’re all different.
R2: Yeah, he’s from the south. It’s pretty refreshing to hear everyone here, coming in. We recorded a new song and it’s called “Swagged Out” –
A: Basically, it’s about how everyone carries themselves.
R2: Yeah, it’s just how you wear it and your personality, not what you wear.
Can you spit a verse for us?
“Swag is how a real playa carry himself,
Swag is not a shirt of the size of my belt,
Swag is how a real playa walk and he talk,
And if you ain’t got swag, homie, it’s your loss”
C: We bring a lot of different styles and everyone is intelligent. I’m very gritty with my style and try to make it entertaining for folks. If you’re in a car, you don’t always want to hear a sad song – you want to bump some.
With the scene in Vancouver, it’s still quite small compared to elsewhere. Where do you think you can bring the scene to?
C: I feel like we’re all in our own little zone. I really have felt like I’ve seen much that is really going on in this city. There are a few people doing it, and the unknowns, too. We just feel like we just got to keep on working hard and the more product we put out, the better. People recognize hard work. We got four artists that still haven’t come out yet, and we’re just doing it in the back scene and people don’t even know it.
R2: We feel like we can bring a lot to the underground scene, too. A lot of the underground is still mainstream with the beats they pick and the lyrics they pick. What both Kris Blade and I are trying to focus on is the underground scene. In between, we’ll meet.
C: All the shows that you guys have seen, it ain’t nothing like how we do it.
R2: When we perform, we just have fun, whether it’s five people or 1000.
Artists always have a message to send. If you guys were to make a mixtape about that message, what would that mixtape be about?
C: I think when it comes down to mixtapes, you just got to have something that bumps.
R2: For me, I think the message would be unity. We all come from different backgrounds and we’re all different. We just want to send that message that wherever you come from, you can still meet at one point and stay focused. We want to combine each others’ message rather than sticking to one, but unity is definitely one of them.
With each region, they have their own styles. What do you think Vancouver’s style is?
KB: It’s heavily laced with kush.
KB: No, I’m just kidding. Everyone here is just laid back and everyone likes to smoke weed.
R2: Van City is very multicultural and I don’t think there’s a distinct style. It’s a lot of different people with a different background. We’re different from Toronto –
C: – I feel like Vancouver is a scene that’s mixed with a lot of rock-rap music and the West Coast stuff. From the music I’ve seen, that’s what I see. It’s not so much rap-rap, it’s a lot of fusion. With Toronto, it’s a lot different because they’re way closer to New York so it’s really really East Coast. What you hear is really commercial and East Coast orientated. We have a lot of groups here and if you see them perform, they are mixing rock and rap.
R2: A lot of that comes from Seattle. A lot of bands come from Seattle.
KB: The geography is really different, too. Here, you got the mountains and the sea. It’s just a completely different scene. There’s no place like East Hastings, anywhere in the world. We just reflect what the city is about.
R2: And then talking about that and writing about that, it just gives you your own style. Locally, people can relate to what’s going on.
How do you think this “Vancouver style” has influenced your music?
A: One thing that I saw when I came here to Van City is that it’s real multicultural and way more diverse. That’s how our styles are. I think here in Van City, that’s what they need and that type of style. It can really get a bunch of people’s attention and you can hear it once you listen to one of our tracks.
C: Yeah, what he said is that you can be good, but where is the line where you can be different?
Yeah, for sure. Going on to fashion, it’s a big part of this scene. What is your guys’ sense of fashion?
KB: Keep the swag down! I like well fitted hats, Nike’s and Van’s
A: Jordan’s. You got to have the J’s.
C: I got to keep it sophisticated. Me and R2 are really similar.
R2: I like wearing coats.
C: I like wearing formal jackets and that’s how I dress. No baggy jeans for me! Bottom line is, if you’re comfortable with what you dress, it doesn’t matter what you wear.
Right now, you’re really playing it true to the game. A lot of artists slip up when the go with it and further down in the game. How do you guys plan on keeping it real?
KB: Well there’s always those times when you got to make things that people can relate to.
R2: One or two club.
KB: Yeah, people just have to relate to it. It doesn’t have to be hardcore or super mellow, it just has to be dope and people will dig it.
C: I feel the same. Hot music will always be hot.
A: People respect that. If it’s hot, it will always pay off. The main concern is to just keep making hot music.
KB: You have to be sincere, too, about it because people can tell.
Has there been a time where you questioned yourselves and what you do?
R2: Once in a while, you think about it. Then again, you talk to your people and they keep you in check. They just boost your moral. It crosses your mind sometimes, you’re human, and you think about the “what if’s”. We definitely encourage ourselves to stick with it and continue with it. We’re not even in our prime yet so we just go to keep going with it. You guys probably think about it, too, with your magazine, but there are so many of you guys pushing each other on, so the ball just keeps rolling.
Making a song isn’t easy. A genius still puts hours of work into it. What is the hardest part of a song for you guys?
A: None of it is really hard. It is just going into it and knowing you want to make it really really hot. Whenever you’re doing it, you just got to keep thinking it’s really hot. I guess the hardest would be the lyrics.
R2: For me, the hardest part is just getting together. Everyone is busy with work or school and we can’t meet every day. The rest is just fun, so it’s not hard at all. When to meet is the hardest part.
C: I feel like delivering is the most important thing. I feel like if you have some rhythm and you can spit it 10 different ways – how you deliver it is the most important thing. I have so many songs and I’m just thinking that I could have done it way hotter. I think deliver and the choice of delivery is the greatest challenge and I always face it.
KB: Just learning. We’ve all learnt but we’re always thinking of how to take it to the next level. We’re just focused on making the next shit better.
What is HYPE?
A: HYPE is a lot of excitement, really dramatic and over exaggerated.
C: HYPE to me is what you bring out of yourself. You can HYPE up an album and you can be HYPEd up about it. Lil Wayne has a lot of HYPE around him and he creates it. There is just HYPE.
KB: For me, HYPE is just energy. It can be either good or bad and if you listen to an MOP album, that’s HYPE – there’s shouting and adrenalin, that’s HYPE for me.
R2: For me, HYPE is a lot of emotion. I call it, “The rumble before the explosion” – it’s the leading to before the actual thing and it’s the whole transition from what it’s like to what it is.