I’m going to try to not say too much about how I feel about this right now. I will say that my condolences go out to the people that worked with him and knew him better than I. And I will say that I had the pleasure of knowing him. One of our writers for the print version of Demencha Magazine, did an interview with Sliccs back in the winter/spring 2009 issue, which is copy and pasted below.
Contributing Factor to the Game
After 15 plus years of holding down Kansas City’s independent rap game, Major Factor Records is going strong and holding true to its motto of “Bucks Over Fame” by continuing its steady release of a diverse line of highly coveted products from albums, mixtapes and clothing to music videos, DVDs, and even a line of bottled water and soda. But while everyone knows Rich the Factor, the ubiquitous KC rap icon who started it all, the talented team of artists who record with him under the MFR flag have often been slept on by those not fully initiated into KC’s underground scene. Now more than ever, this strong roster of veteran MCs, consisting of Felix Mitchell the Billionaire, Rushin Roolet, Rappin Twan, and Sliccs Gotcha, is ready to spread their gospel of killer beats, street-wise rhymes, and Midwest slang to the masses. Get to know Sliccs Gotcha below, and get up on that MFR music!
Sliccs Gotcha is a recording artist and entrepreneur from the north side of Kansas City, Missouri. Sliccs began his recording career at the age of 14 when he was recruited by his older cousin Rich the Factor and brother Felix Mitchell to join their budding record label Major Factor Records. As both Rich and Felix had already garnered formidable underground followings across the Midwest and California’s Bay Area, Sliccs became their student, carefully watching his mentors and using what he learned to hone his own lyrical style and independent business sense.
After years of collaborating with others and performing shows with major label artists like Scarface and Xzibit, Sliccs made the move to full-fledged solo artist in 2004, with the release of his first album, “A Money Fedish”. Two well-received mixtapes followed, keeping Sliccs’ name and sound fresh in fans’ minds while he worked on his sophomore release, 2008’s “Prince of Whales”. With production from renowned Midwestern maestro Don Juan, and KC up and comers K-OZ and Rolladex, “Prince of Whales” is quickly becoming an underground Hip Hop classic, and Sliccs Gotcha is setting his sights on becoming a nationally established presence in the independent music game.
I recently caught up with Sliccs at his office, as he was simultaneously wrapping filming on a video for “Off Da Chain” his first single from Prince of Whales, and releasing volume two of his Hustlaz Muzic Mixtape series.
Staying busy, I see. What projects have you been working on lately?
Sliccs Gotcha: Hahaha. Man you know there’s no time for sleep in this music business, especially in this city. My most recent projects have been to wrap up filming on my lil video joint for “Off Da Chain”, my first single off my last album Prince of Whales. You know my dude Don Juan made the beat, so the whole track is bumpin, and I had my homeboys Marcus and Dale from Blue Print Productions fly in from Houston and put the whole creative vision for the video together. They’ve really killed the whole process, from shooting multiple scenes at the same time, to jumping right into the editing process; they’re some talented young cats. Other than that, my main concentration has been releasing my latest mixtape, Hustlaz Muzic Mixtape Vol. II, gettin ready to release my project with my brother Felix Mitchell (Overlords of the Underworld), and just staying workin.
You’ve been comin up on the local underground scene for a while now. How did you initially get into rapping in the first place?
Sliccs Gotcha: Really, it was my big cousin Rich the Factor and my brother Felix Mitchell the Billionaire who got me involved in music in the first place.
At what age did they recruit you, and how?
Sliccs Gotcha: I was recruited around the age of 14, but I didn’t put out my first proper track till I was around 16. Rich had been out in the Cali with JT the Bigga Figga, San Quinn and their crews recording his first album and he called me up while I was at his Momma’s house and basically just talked to me about what rap could do for me and all of us if we took it real seriously. That was kind of when I became determined to do the music thing. Before that I had started experimenting with making my own beats at 13 or so. Westport Middle had a full blown studio in the basement, with multiple keyboards and drum machines and things, so I would go and listen to Mac Mall, who was the shit at the time, and sample his beats and build on them, and bring them to the hood and sell them for 20 dollars a piece.
What do you think it was that led Rich and Felix to recruit you for the MFR roster?
Sliccs Gotcha: Well you know we all family, and we come from a real tight-knit extended family, and I guess they just had a bigger plan for me, man. Bein the big homies, you know, they always looked out for me, and this was just a part of that I guess, cause at that time, around 13 and 14, is when I first went out on my own and started running the streets. You know, but even though I was out there runnin wild a lil bit, I was never on my own, I always had my family as a support network, you know, watchin out for me. And they were the ones who really showed me this music thing, and that I could get something out of it that was better than what I’d get out of being in the streets. I think that’s really where the whole bond of Major Factor comes from, you know, it’s a little deeper than your average group of musicians. We all in this thing for life, and ain’t no petty bullshit gonna come between us or stop us from taking over this independent rap game, cause we don’t want nothing else.
What was the first project you worked on under MFR?
Sliccs Gotcha: The first serious project I was a part of was Pole Position, and that consisted of Rich, Felix Mitchell, Rushin Roolet, and myself. We started at a house that Rich had bought, and we all just stayed up there, working on beats, writin rhymes, puttin that good in the air, and what we came up with was Pole Position.
Who are some memorable artists that you’ve recorded and performed with over the years?
Sliccs Gotcha: Shoot, there’s been a few man, I can’t remember them all off the top of my head. You know I’ve been blessed to get the opportunity to get up on stage or in the lab with a lot of talented cats, everyone from Messy Marv, Killa Tay, Silk the Shocker, and Scarface to San Quinn, Mystikal, and Shawty Lo, and so on and so forth. I’m looking forward to expanding that list in ’09 as well.
Why do you think so many people across the country, from Kansas City to Minnesota, to Colorado and beyond, bump your label’s music when you guys have all received very little support from local and national media outlets?
Sliccs Gotcha: Well you know it’s gonna take a lot more than not getting major corporate radio or TV exposure to keep good music from getting into the hands of people that want it. You know? I mean you can put your music on a piece-of-shit cassette, and if it’s what the people wanna hear, and it makes them feel a certain way when they hear it, then they’re gonna find a way to get that cassette regardless of how difficult it is. Really, I just think that people can relate to our music, and it’s done in a style that maybe they haven’t heard to death yet. You know, comin from the Midwest I feel artists here are influenced by all the different styles from around the country: the South, the East Coast, the West Coast, etc., and we put our own unique Midwestern sound stamp on everything and people are responding to it. And I think we don’t really go off the deep end you know, I’m not rapping about owning a Bentley, I’m still that Chevy driver, that Cutlass driver, I’m rapping about my life not some MTV fantasy. All of our music is auto-biographical, you know, about what we done and seen out here on these streets. And I think our struggles are pretty common in George Bush’s America, so a lot of people out there doing what they gotta do to survive and trying to make something out of themselves when they come from nothing, hear our stuff, see we’re coming from the same place, and they just relate to it.
Who were some of the rappers that you looked up to and who inspired you to start rhyming for fun as a young kid?
Sliccs Gotcha: Oh shoot man, you know there’s a lot of ‘em, but some that come to mind right off the bat are Scarface, E-40, JT the Bigga Figga, Mac Mall, etc. You know the Bay Area back in those days had a lineup that was just insane. Everyone was super hungry cause it was before they all blew up, so they was so on top of their game it was almost unbelievable you know, you had your Messy Marvs, San Quinns and your Killa Tays, etc. when they was just killin it without even thinking about it, you know what I mean? So all that creativity that was comin outta there was definitely a major source of musical inspiration when I was comin up, and it, along with Rich and Fe, showed me that people did wanna hear music about everyday, real-life situations, as long as they could relate.
Speaking of the Bay Area, it seems like any time an artist from out there is in town, whether it’s the Jacka and Killa Tay, or Guce and Messy Marv, he rolls and rhymes with MFR. Where did that strong affiliation with Cali come from?
Sliccs Gotcha: Well we all got family out there in South Cali, LA, etc. you know, so we’ve all spent varying amounts of time in Cali throughout our lives. In addition to that, it really all goes back to Rich getting his start out in Cali, with San Quinn and JT the Bigga Figga and those guys, you know. We was all young and hungry, and you know between working together and kickin it together, there was a lotta love and respect there, and that still stands today.
What would you say to someone who criticizes your music as being only about negative subject matter?
Sliccs Gotcha: If I was born in Overland park or somewhere like that, then maybe I would rap about that, but you know I was born down in North Kansas city, you know 10th street, 12th street , 13th street, the avenue, and I can only rap about what I know. And, you know, I do rap about the good times and glory days too, but there was only so many. You know every day wasn’t a great day, so I can only rap about what I know, what I’ve seen, where I come from you know, and I would never change that cause I make music for the people that can relate to it, and need to hear someone talkin about the same shit they goin through, the same shit they’ve seen and heard, etc. If people that can’t relate to the stories in my music like it anyway, well that’s just an added bonus, and if people that can’t relate to it hate it, then that’s ok too.
What sort of role has the internet played in allowing you to remain independent and underground, while still making the money of a signed artist?
Sliccs Gotcha: Well obviously it’s been pretty huge, you know, it’s opened me up to an instant global market and really allowed me to get a lot more done on a daily basis, and make more music and money with less time invested. You know, now I can be on SliccsGotcha.com or my MySpace or Facebook page talking directly to fans of my music in places like Germany and Japan, and making sure that they’re getting their CDs on time and keeping up on my new music, and so on and so forth. Or I can be in KC while one of my producers or collaborators is across the country, and we can still be putting music and verses together as if we was in the same room. Basically, the web just really gives you more control over your music and your business, especially as an independent artist.
You sound like you’re pretty heavily into the internet side of your business.
Sliccs Gotcha: Yeah man I really am, you know, in addition to my music thing, I’m part of a web consulting group called Lifted Logic, that does everything from building personalized websites, to helping musicians and other independent business people get their products for sale online, to customized MySpace pages, etc. You know, we really just try to use our past knowledge and experience on the web to help other people out here get their businesses on track. Anybody lookin for help can check us out at liftedlogic.com, and trust me when I say no matter what you need done, we can figure it out for you.
Even though you just released the second installment of your Hustlaz Muzic Mixtape series, I’ve been hearing that you’ve got another new CD coming out in a couple of weeks, can you give me a little background info on that project?
Sliccs Gotcha: Yeah the album is called Overlords of the Underworld, it’ll be out in early February and it’s me and my brother Felix Mitchell the Billionaire. It’s just something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time, you know release a proper album together. You know, Fe is an idea guy, and he’s had the concepts for this album floating around in his head for a minute, so when we both had the time to do it, we went straight to the studio and just started recording. The basic idea behind the album is that in their own mind, everyone is king of their world, and so we took the concept that we were the kings of the world we’ve known, whether it’s the streets or the underground rap circuit, and named it Overlords of the Underworld.
As we enter a brand new year, what are your goals for ’09, and where would you like to see yourself at this time next year?
Sliccs Gotcha: Man, this time next year my goal is to be comin off of one tour and about to start another, you know. I basically just want to keep doing what I’m doing, but get better. This time next year I wanna have three or four videos in the bag instead of one. I wanna have two or three mix tapes and two or three albums released instead of one, you know? Basically just keep doing what I’m doing but take it to the next level. Also, stay on the lookout for a bunch of big things coming from MFR, you know we got everything from Whale Water and Whale Soda to more Whale Clothing ready to come out, so be ready for all that cause you know we gonna be on our grind in ’09.