“Once My Time is Up, I Want Champagne Spilling”: An Interview With Archibald Slim on His New Album ‘Worldly Ways’

Eric Diep speaks to Archibald Slim for a track-by-track breakdown of his new album, his love for The Sopranos, his time with Awful Records and more.
By    November 2, 2022

Image via Archibald Slim/Instagram

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Eric Diep wants to know who allowed French Montana to make “Whipp’n It Slowly.”

Archibald Slim ended up back in Atlanta by accident.

The Georgia native had spent the last few years in Los Angeles until the coronavirus pandemic shut everything down. A friend had moved there to start a production company, and Slim was trying to help launch the firm and get into film and production. But COVID halted their plans. It ultimately led him to New Mexico.

“I was just out there drinking and sh*t,” he tells me over Zoom. “Drunk for like two weeks. Somebody just pulled up like, “Hey, I’m about to drive to Atlanta.” We was like, “‘Hey, we gon’ ride.” I came out there with them. The dude that drove back out here was driving like 110 the whole time. He f*cking fell asleep driving. Almost went off the road and sh*t. He was going up on the shoulder to pass people. I was like, “What the f*ck? If you just slow down, we’ll get there. If you keep doing this crazy sh*t, we ain’t gonna make it.”

“Did you know the guy?” I asked.

“I had met them out there. It was my other partna’s friends,” he replies. “But yeah, I wasn’t gonna get back in the car with this n***a. So I’m just going to stay here.”

It was smart money. When he returned to Atlanta, Slim says that’s when he started recording music again. He had already finished Fell Asleep Praying and had three songs put aside for what would be Worldly Ways: “Shrimp & Oysters,” “Pointing Fingers,” and “Dimes.” The rest of the 10-track album was put together after the official release of Fell Asleep Praying in 2021.

By his account, the back-to-back releases is a slower pace than the numbers he was doing during the heyday of Awful Records between 2014 to 2016. Of all the Awful members, Slim was the resident nostalgic raised on a steady diet of East Coast luminaries like Biggie, Big L, Nas, Mobb Deep, and Gang Starr. He grew up in Maryland and later moved to Atlanta, where he maximized his time in Awful with a prolific output as a producer, collaborator, and rapper. His sound takes from the perseverance of UGK and the southern soul of Outkast, blending his survival of the hood lyrics over sometimes murky, sometimes funky, sample-driven production.

To think about Archibald Slim in modern day hip-hop, he is for the people who rave about Roc Marciano, Freddie Gibbs, Boldy James, Stove God Cooks, and others who are cut from the same cloth. He’s like if Pusha T grew up in the Dungeon Family and rapped about everyman narratives in the streets instead of moving bricks. He’s released around 14 projects by our count, and Worldly Ways represents his third album. It’s an especially important moment for him because he took his time with releasing it, no longer fueled by the competitive spirit of the Awful crew dropping when they feel like it or to capture a state of mind.

Worldly Ways is an album that has the DNA of an Awful release, bringing in collaborators like Ethereal, Alexandria, and 019Dexter who Slim has been cool with since those early days. It’s an album about mental health, standing your ground, and coping with trauma as a means to move forward in life. The title Worldly Ways is an homage to Dungeon Family rapper Slimm Calhoun, who had a song called “Worldly Ways” on The Skinny. “I was just trying to keep it light with the theme of naming my sh*t after Dungeon Family sh*t,” Slim says. “Because Fell Asleep Praying, I got that from an André 3000 verse.”

On Worldly Ways, there are a few lyrics where Slim talks about the idea of death and dying with his money. The title track finds him rapping on the third verse, “What I make I’m taking with me in death, dig 12 graves / Just make sure my headstone say “self-made” / No treys, every card I was dealt was well played.” I was curious if he thinks about death a lot.

“Not so much think about it, it is what it is,” Slim says. “It’s just there. It’s not going anywhere. I just don’t be like, “I don’t want to die today.” The sh*t might happen. I try to limit the sh*t I’m doing. I’m not finna be out here doing sh*t that I know I’ll f*ck around and get killed doing.”

“One, I’m not dying in no car crash or something else,” he continues. “I f*cking refuse to die in a car crash. That’s the worst way [to die]. That was a wasted death, a f*cking car crash. But I don’t think about it like that. Like, “What can I do to make sure I live longer?” I don’t give a f*ck. It’s just gonna happen. I’m gonna smoke still, I’m gonna drink still.”

Slim is the type of person to keep it real with you, sharing wisdom in a way that’s relatable and direct even if you haven’t seen the things he’s seen. It might not stick with you now, but best believe his words will hit you at some point in your life. Everything happens for a reason, and there’s a reason Slim decided to stay in Atlanta and not continue his journey with his speed demon friends from New Mexico.

We continue to go deeper into Worldly Ways, track by track, talking about his love for The Sopranos, the origin stories behind some of these former Awful artists, and how money can actually buy him happiness.

“Everybody Owe Me” (Prod By Willie)

Archibald Slim: I used to start all my albums with just a verse. But I didn’t the last time but I did it again this time. I just wanted one verse to set the tone on what I’m about to talk about.

It was some sh*t I wrote, like, I had gone to my friend’s house blacked out drunk. Woke up in the middle of the night. He had a mic and sh*t over there. I just woke up and wrote that in the middle of the night. This is like a good, one verse where it is talking a little bit of sh*t. A little well-rounded. So I just started off with that.

I probably would have a bunch of projects with just Willie because he produced a lot on Fell Asleep Praying too. But even when I stopped making music and sh*t, there might’ve been one time I tweeted “somebody need to send me some beats.” And a bunch of people sent me beats, and they all suck. So I tweeted again, “Nah, y’all f*cking suck. Don’t send me sh*t else.” And then he tweeted back, “I know you said don’t send nothing else, but I just sent you some sh*t if you go check it out.” And he actually sent me some sh*t that I actually f*ck with. That was 2017. So even when I stopped making beats and I wasn’t really making music like that, he used to be on my ass. Like, “Hey, I just sent you some beats. You can go rap to them or something.” I really got more songs than that with him. I could probably put out another project with just him. If today, I went in there and picked 10 songs, I’d put out another project with him tomorrow. But I got way more songs with him. If it weren’t from him, I probably wouldn’t have kept rapping. I’d say, “F*ck it.”

“Pointing Fingers” f/ Ethereal (Prod By Willie)

Archibald Slim: I’ve known Ethereal since 2012-2013. He was making music before really I was. I might be in the house like making beats or some sh*t. Or I would hear the door open and somebody just come in the house and I’m in here making songs and sh*t. I used to turn sh*t off when people came in the room. He was like, ‘Oh! What was that?’ I’m like, ‘Oh, nothing, nothing. Don’t worry about it.’ He’s like, ‘Nah man, play that sh*t.’ I played him the music. He was like, ‘Nah, I f*ck with this. You need to keep making music.’ So I kind of started f*cking with him by accident. And we’ve been cool since then.

I say on the hook, “never say it’s my fault.” A lot of people just be outside to be seen. You meet somebody and it is not nothing like what you thought it was going to be like or you could immediately tell that they are not this type of person. You could never say it is my fault you ended up f*cking yourself over or playing yourself or tripping yourself out some sh*t just cause you was outside trying to be some sh*t you not in the beginning. Like, you should’ve just stayed where you was at. Just play your position and stay where you was at. Stop trying to do more sh*t than you know how to do.

“Dimes” (Prod By Willie)

Archibald Slim: I’m too old to be reading in between the lines. Like I said with the first song, it’s the same type of sh*t. I’m not really worried about all the extra sh*t that people got going on. I just want to go get my own money and just go duck out and be by myself.

It’s one thing for you to be around people and everything is what it is, but people be having ulterior motives. People don’t be who they say they are. I’m tired of all of it. I don’t run around like I used to like when I was younger. I used to be around 10-12 people even outside of being around Awful. I used to be around a lot of people. But sh*t started going missing. Like sh*t started happening. People want you to pick sides that don’t even got sh*t to do with you in the first place. I rather just stay over here by myself and do what I’m doing. I’m not trying to be guessing dynamics of no type of situation going on. I know what it is cause I’m the only person that I gotta worry about. I’ve moved around enough.

“Worldly Ways” f/ Gabe ‘Nandez (Prod By Willie)

Archibald Slim: I discovered Gabe Nandez through POW [Records]. It was “223.” He was rapping in three languages. I want to say he went from English to French to Arabic. I can’t remember what the last one was. I was like, “What the f*ck?”

I had already laid some sh*t and sent it to him. I was like, “Hey do you f*ck with it?” He was like, “Yeah.” I was like, “Will you put a verse on it?” He was like, “Oh, hell yeah. I f*ck with it man. That sh*t hard.” I had that sh*t in like two weeks.

I feel like nobody gonna catch this either but I took some bars from UGK sh*t for a hook. It’s this Bun B verse on “Heaven.” He start it off, “Late at night, when I’m layin off in the bed/Countin bread, some crazy sh*t be goin through my head.” That’s how he start his verse.

I’m a big UGK fan. When I first started producing, it was probably UGK, Clipse, and Gang Starr. That was all that I was listening to. And Mobb Deep. I’m reading Pimp C’s Trill Life Story right now.

“Surviving” f/ Quadry (Prod By Willie)

Archibald Slim: When I was in L.A., I used to be with Father all the time. He had a manager named [Morian] Thomas who used to come around. He was like one day, “You kind of rap. I f*ck with your music. You should f*ck with him.” So it was somebody else that he was working with. I think when he was signed to Warner. So he put me on a long time ago. And then he circled back like years later he dropped his album. I was like, “Oh, I remember hearing his name.” And I kinda f*cked with it. So I hit him up, “Hey are you trying to make a song?” He’s like, “Yeah.” I sent him that and he got on this.

I just named it “Surviving” after the verse cause I was kind of talking sh*t. “Couldn’t beat his case/he seen the stakes and took the tallest stand.” And like you out here doing what you’re doing and you went and told on somebody else. Kinda hard to make it out here, there’s a bunch of snake sh*t going on. That’s why I call it “Surviving.” I threw that sh*t in there from The Sopranos because I don’t want to just survive. I’m trying to live.

I used to rewatch The Sopranos at least once every year. Before I was going to make this album, I was gonna drop a four-song EP. I was gonna call it Tennessee Moltisanti ’cause I always thought that sh*t was funny where they had the episode where he was trying to write and had to spell some sh*t wrong. He was just struggling trying to write this screenplay.

I was watching a lot of it, that’s why I was going to name the project that. But Chris [Moltisanti] is my favorite person on that show just because he’s such a f*cked up character. I just tried to name my sh*t after that. Then I ended up not using that name but I didn’t want to take the clips out. So I just left them there.

I guess he’s not a main character, but he just be f*cking up. He just f*cks up all the time, over and over. He’s just always f*cking up. But sh*t just be happening. Like in life, sh*t just be happening. I feel like I could relate because I made a lot of mistakes too.

“Mental Health” (Prod By IRLCANNON)

Archibald Slim: I feel like I came up with the hook first. I start off, “For how we living, we don’t get no mental health days or second chances / I ain’t going through the motions of forgiveness for semantics / This is real life, I live life / I’m with the devil dancing / When the moonlight hits, I ain’t out here trying to be romantic.”

But yeah, you don’t get no mental health days. Sh*t gonna keep happening. You don’t get no time to recover from it, you just gotta deal with that sh*t and keep moving. Like I said, I’m not out here trying to be romantic when the moonlight hits. I’m dancing towards the devil. There’s a bunch of sh*t going on. I don’t have time to be over here trying to be your friend and you out here being petty about sh*t. If you mad, be mad. F*ck it. I don’t have time for this sh*t. You can talk about it and get over it or you can go on. I’m not going through the emotions of forgiveness for semantics. I’m not gonna just apologize to just be able to say I apologized. I don’t give a f*ck, I don’t care that much. I got enough sh*t to worry about to be dealing with your sh*t on top of mine.

“Once my time is up, I want champagne spilling / F*ck all that praying, round up all my main b*tches…” it’s not so much I’m talking about death. I don’t want a funeral where people pull up and people crying and sh*t. You got people who don’t really know you up there. Like, “Oh yeah man, I was friends with him.” Like, no. I want people to be celebrating. If they didn’t f*ck with me when I was alive, don’t come in there when I’m dead. Everybody have a good time. It’s bound to happen. Don’t mourn my death.

“Recidivism” (Prod By Willie)

Archibald Slim: Recidivism is the likeness of somebody to go back or get arrested again after they go back to jail. So I was like, “I can’t keep a b*tch for nothing but I can stay out of jail.” So I called it “Recidivism.” I’m not going back to jail.

I start off saying I’m in the bed and she trying to f*ck. I’m trying to make all my sales. I can’t keep a b*tch for nothing but I can stay out of jail. I can’t keep a b*tch cause I’m trying to make the plays. I’m not going to jail trying to make the plays.

“When it is all said and done, I’ll be on the top of your top 3…” That’s supposed to mean I’m finna be the best rapper out of all the people you keep saying is the best. People be like, “Oh, I’m top two, but not two.” Like people be saying that on the internet type sh*t. I’m going to be in your top 3, but I’m not going to be the bottom two. I’m going to be the first one.

“Goomar” f/ Alexandria (Prod By IRLCANNON)

Archibald Slim: Alexandria used to be an artist through Awful Records. I met her through Ethereal. Most of the songs I’ve been on it was like his production. He was on there or he had something to do with it. I made like three-four songs with her but I never had one on my project with her on there. Before she was on there, the hook was like a sample. I was like, “We could take that out and get her to sing it. Sh*t be like 100 times better.” And I hit her up, showed her the song. She was like, “Oh yeah, I f*ck with it. I’ll do it.” That’s how she ended up on there. I feel like the sh*t is 100 times better than just that sample though.

The goomar is the side b*tch on The Sopranos. I’m talking about dealing with more than one person at a time. So it is moreso along the lines of a relationship that shouldn’t be going on than an actual side b*tch.

“Dead & Gone” (Prod By 019Dexter)

Archibald Slim: 019Dexter did Don’t Call the Cops. He don’t live here no more, but when I first met him, I didn’t f*ck with him. He used to f*ck with me all the time because he thought it was funny. I actually got mad one day and he was like, “Alright, my bad. I’ll stop doing this sh*t.” And then we’ve been cool since then. When we made that, we was living together. Don’t Call the Cops. And then he ended up going to jail for two-three years. He lives in North Carolina now.

I made this song when I was in L.A. still. It was just a rough [track], me whispering on there. I came back around to it and re-recorded it earlier this year. This is my favorite one here.

“Shrimp & Oysters” (Prod By Willie)

Archibald Slim: See, I have never had oysters. Never. I’m just saying for all the sh*t that you gotta do for you to be able to afford the sh*t you want, shrimp and oysters. It’s not like you can eat that sh*t everyday. It’s not like you can spend $5 getting that sh*t. So for all the sh*t that you do to keep your money in your pocket. People be like, “Money is not going to make me happy. You just so materialistic.” I can’t just go in and sit down and clock in and be guaranteed a check every time. Money can buy my happiness, I don’t give a f*ck. I rather be up than broke.

You said you haven’t seen it, so in the scene [Christopher] goes to the fish market and he takes a matchbook and puts it under the lip of the scale. So when the scale goes down, it don’t go all the way down and he getting way more fish than he paying for cause the scale won’t go down. He the one that put the f*cking matchbook under there and he started hassling the dude behind the counter like, “Aye man, stop f*cking with the scale.” But he the one f*cking with the scale. So I put that on there because later on the song, I talk about pinching out the bag a little bit. He not gonna notice that I took a little bit out of there. I’m playing bad games, so I’m talking about him f*cking with the scale.

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