In hip-hop, it’s commonplace to hear someone refer to themselves as a boss. The term in itself just sounds cool, and it’s pretty uplifting, but it can also be misleading. The true definition of a boss in the terms that we use it, is someone that puts others in position to succeed and become bosses. Not too many people have the wherewithal or the heart that it takes to be a boss. Of the handful of bosses in the game, or who’ve come up in the game and graduated to other endeavors, Stayve Jerome Thomas aka Slim Thug has managed to continue to stand out amongst them all.
While standing out isn’t a difficult thing to do when you’re 6’6, Slim Thug’s stature isn’t the only thing that commands attention. As a rapper, Thug’s flow and deep voice along with his ability to ride a beat captured the ears of people throughout the state of Texas first. Thug is credited by many including UGK to be one of the pioneers of taking an independent label to the mainstream. he’s displayed over time. The best thing about being an independent artist much like as an independent businessman is that all the money that’s made, is money you’re going to see. You’ll have to pay your workers and pay your bills that the company accumulates, but you aren’t bound to contractual obligations because you’re the employer and not an employee. The Texan has always been one of the more respected artists for his vision of creating his own lane rather than waiting on a major label to pick him up, and what it led to.
It’s important to note that this was during a time where UGK was the voice of Texas, but by the late Rapper Pimp C being incarcerated, he and Slim Thug weren’t able to make music together. Texas’ music scene was always filled with local guys ready to blow, and the screw music was growing more popular worldwide as well. At the time, Slim Thug was on the city’s iconic Swishahouse label releasing mixtapes and albums that he would drive around the region and sell personally to small mom-and-pop record stores. With the world anxious to get a good Texas feel, in came Thug, Paul Wall, and Mike Jones (WHO!?) with a collaboration that went down as an instant hip-hop classic. “Still Tippin” catapulted each of their careers to mainstream charts, and they had become accepted as mainstream artists that were in heavy rotation all over. Not the kind of mainstream artists that there’s a negative, or a sellout insinuation behind their success. But rather the kind that would solidify you on everyone’s rap radar.
The single that created national stardom for Thug is not even his biggest accomplishment to date, however. That was just the beginning. Thug ended up doing songs with some of the world’s biggest acts including fellow Texan, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and The Neptunes. “Still Tippin” opened a lot of doors, and made them all a lot of money, but it was just a steppingstone for Thug. Success isn’t always determined by the amount of money made, or by the amount of houses and cars one may have purchased. Success can also be attributed to the amount of people whose lives you have impacted and helped to improve. This is where Thug is with his latest venture.
About a year ago is when it was made public about his efforts to buy and rebuild the impoverished communities that have long been neglected. The process of how he had gotten into doing such a meaningful, philanthropic task had been in the works from the time Thug was given his own day by his beloved city in 2014. February 25 was declared as Slim Thug Day. This honor was granted due to his efforts to help the community, and he wanted to continue and do more. As Thug told the independent media brand Frank 151 magazine, “We wanted to do some affordable homes in the community and make it new. So me, my partner Rico, and my other homeboy Cory started Boss Life Construction.” Thug had some experience in real estate as well which helped to push forward the entire idea. “We got together with a guy named JG Hollins who was already doing construction. He was a guy we grew up under, someone we really trust and look up to. We teamed up with him and we decided to do our own construction company, and he has given us the whole game on how to do it. We’re doing it with him for a year to make sure we do everything right, we want to make sure our houses are quality.”
The project to transform the hood started in the Acres Homes community in northwest Houston. In August of 2016 it was reported in the interview with Frank 151 magazine that they had built 10 houses on the same block. There was some trouble finding buyers initially. “It hasn’t been easy. Down the street you got stores that are run down or whatever, you got people hanging out on the block. Some people have been turned away by that.” But that’s where the expansion comes into play. “Our real goal is to build communities within the community, we’re getting blocks together instead of it just being one house here, one house there.” Boss Life Construction, which gives loans and down payments to people with bad credit so that they can build homes, and utilizing black-owned banks like Unity National Bank, according to reports in a Vibe Magazine article.
In addition to his efforts with housing, Thug’s also doing his part with secondary education resources. He is in the process of creating a trade school program, for high school students. Boss Life Construction, which gives loans and down payments to people with bad credit so that they can build homes, and utilizing black-owned banks like Unity National Bank in Texas. He also mentions financial literacy needing to be taught in our schools. This is an incredible step forward, and I wish more people in our communities that are fortunate enough to make it out would pay it forward.
It’s been one of my goals this year to not only become more financially responsible but also more financially literate. This is a necessary step that we all need to take in order to push the culture forward. This is also necessary for those of us who have children that aspire to be entrepreneurs, the earlier we teach them these nuggets of information, the better off they’ll be. In the times that are ahead of us, we really cannot be dependent on governmental organizations for help. There is no longer any time to waste with talking, we know the issues, we’ve got to start putting actions into place. Much like Slim Thug helped i a blueprint for successfully going from underground to mainstream, he’s done the same here with making change and not waiting for it. Now let’s see who follows suit.
– Blake Holmes