Two Houston legends, Paul Wall and Slim Thug, emerge from a smoke-filled Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in noticeably good spirits. The rap titans spent the greater part of the New York City rainy day making their media rounds for really a combination of reasons. Paul Wall just released his project, the fantastic Slab Godwhile Slim Thug is on schedule with his releasing quarterly projects as part of the awesome Hogg Life series. The two are also planning their own collaborative album in 2016, along with the film Drank, which will shed some light on Houston’s hip-hop culture — from the music to the, well, drank.

It’s a testament to all of the work the two have put in over the past decade, and they show no signs of stopping any time soon. Despite being seasoned artists, it’s clear watching them walk around New York City’s Flatiron District that they value every moment they’re here. Perhaps it’s due to witnessing the loss of two of Houston’s biggest artists — DJ Screw in 2000 and Pimp C in 2007 — that they understand how precious life is, or maybe having spent so much time in the spotlight they’ve surpassed being jaded. It may very well be a combination of the two, as they tend to compliment each other while also shouting out new talent, peppering their music careers with Joel Osteen teachings. These are two treasured spirits in the hip-hop landscape, and Bevel chopped it up with them about everything from hair wars to preacher beef.BC: How would you describe your grooming regimen?
Paul Wall: I shave every day. I go to the barbershop. My hair grows fast, and I keep a bald fade, so I get a haircut sometimes three times a week if I want to be fresh. At the same time, if I’m not going nowhere, I might not get it cut for two weeks if I’m just gonna be chillin’. But usually to keep it fresh like I get it, it’s gotta be at least every couple of days, two to three days. Shaving? I’ve got to shave twice a day. I shaved already this morning, and I can feel it now. I just feel like I want to shave! I feel uncomfortable.

BC: How do you keep the soul patch tight?
PW: I’m actually the worst. I need a shaper or something, because it’s always crooked! I be laughing, because they be going in on my comments. But I laugh because it’s funny, and because it’s true! My homeboy say it looks like a golf club, because like, it comes down and it’s uneven to the side. I just laugh at him, though, because it’s true! I ain’t no barber. I don’t care either. At the end of the day, I really don’t give a fuck. I do take care of myself, but however it looks – if I fuck it up completely — two days from now, it’s gon’ be completely grown back, you know what I’m saying? So I don’t take too much into it.

BC: Some people have 5 o’clock shadows, you’ve got the 1:30 shadow.
PW: I got a noon shadow and a 5 o’clock shadow!

BC: What’s your routine, Slim Thug?
Slim Thug: I mean, I get a haircut once a week but, I don’t really care that much either. But I definitely get an edge-up with the razor and everything, but as far as putting products on, I’m bad at that. I ain’t good at that. I may spray a little oil sheen every once in a while, but I ain’t that great at it.BC: What’s going on under your hat? You used to have braids.
ST: Yeah, I used to have braids. Now I got the low cut. I was getting older, man. It was a good teenage thing, but as I got older, I said let me go and get a real, grownup haircut.

PW: You know, speaking of that – I gotta interrupt Slim. A lot of people don’t realize this, but braids — pre-Allen Iverson because he kind of took braids to being a national trend — but before that, it was a hair style. But when Allen Iverson came with it, then it was all of a sudden everybody got braids. But in Houston, it was something about growing up in Houston, there was a little North side versus South side type of rivalry. The South side wore a fade, which is like what I have now. It’s a South side fade where it’s a little triangle at the front of your head and the rest is just bald faded. And on the North side, we wore braids. Slim definitely pioneered that. It was something that was going on in the North side, but Slim definitely was like the leader.

Slim was like the leader of the North side, so it was something that we all had, even me. Not just Black folks, everybody had braids! Asian people, Mexicans, white people. Well, not everybody who was white, but a couple of us had them. So Slim, with his braids, it wasn’t like he was just wearing a hairstyle. This was something that he really put his stamp on for the city. Matter of fact, Slim Thug being the most popular rapper from the North side and one of the most popular from South side, ESG, they had a song called “Braids & Fades.” And that song really was the South side and the North side coming together. From that point on, that ended the beef. But up until that point, people would get killed, steal each other’s cars, we was always fighting in the clubs. It was like Bloods and Crips type of rivalry like that, but in the city of Houston.BC: So instead of colors, it was hair?
PW: A little more than that, but yeah!

ST: That sounds so crazy!

PW: But real talk, though. If you were from the North side, you would not have a South side fade at all. And you almost wouldn’t have a fade. But if you was from the South side, nobody in the South side had braids.

ST: A North side dude is a thug. So you would have the gold teeth, braids, tatted up. All that there, that was the description of the North side for the most. For the South side, it’s a more player-like. They stay clean, you know what I’m saying? Low haircut, clean and always trying to impress the ladies. We was the more grimy kind of guys. We ain’t really give a damn. I know it sounds crazy, but it was so big in Houston. There’s just different descriptions of how we did our thing.BC: Let’s talk about the Drank film.
ST: It’s a movie we’re trying to put together right now. Basically, it’s gonna be based around Houston culture. There’s a lot of things that when we come out here to New York, y’all don’t understand. It’s kind of like we talk a different language with a lot of words that we use. Through the movie, we plan on giving the world a better description of how it is to be in Houston – slab culture, sipping syrup, and everything. We ain’t gonna take it too seriously; we’re gonna make it a comedy. Everything in the media is all out here in New York, so we’re trying to make sure the world understands our whole culture and understand what we do and how it is.

BC: Will you two be working on a musical collaboration?
ST: Yeah, we’re gonna do a whole project together.

PW: It’s gonna be crazy! And I’m doing another one too with Baby Bash. We got a whole weed project called Legalizers, and we got a whole lot of different people involved like Berner, B. Real. All the smokers, we got them involved with it. It’s basically a weed-smoking album.

BC: Plus we have Paul’s Slab God and there’s the Hogg Life series.
ST: Yeah, I promised my fans I’d drop four albums this year, so we dropped one album every quarter. One big song off was “Church,” and I sampled Joel Osteen. That’s like crazy in Houston on the radio. So now we got another one “Drank” we did with Paul Wall and Z-Ro, and we just shot the video.BC: Are you a Joel Osteen fan?
ST: A big Joel Osteen fan. I go to his church, I post his message every day on social media. I been going for years, before he was the pastor, when his daddy was the pastor. I feel like through the years, helped me change my thought process. Like a lot of stuff I probably would have tripped on, but through his teachings and his preachings, it’s taught me how to think different and not let certain stuff get to me. And also, I think it gave me a different type of outlook on life, so I think it definitely helped subconsciously, just from listening for years and years.

PW: It’s crazy how sometimes now, you go to church now and pull up, and there’s people out there with signs, protesting the church. Every now and then, you get someone stand up in the middle of the sermon and say something crazy, try to throw something at him like a bottle or something.

ST: They be on social media like, “We hate him! He’s greedy!”

PW: Yeah, a lot of people don’t like him.

ST: And I don’t understand!

PW: I see a lot of it comes from other preachers, putting that into peoples’ minds. So that’s where they’re getting their ammo. Their anti-Joel Osteen ammo is from other preachers. Now all preachers don’t hate him, because he got a lot of preachers’ support too. It’s crazy how even when you try to do something positive… He believes he’s doing the Lord’s work, people still gonna hate on him for doing that!

ST: You don’t see nobody from my church going over to another church saying, “We don’t like this pastor! We don’t like how he do this or do that.”

PW: It’s more protesters that I see outside of his church, than I see protesting outside of Subway for Jared, feel me?Read more at bevelcode.com
Words by Kathy Iandoli