The musical journey of Slug Christ is a long one, to say the least. Since 2007 the Atlanta born musician has dropped over 30 projects, some solo, some with varying bands spanning many genres. Going from mathcore and related genres to hip hop is not a path most of our favorite rappers have taken to get to where they are today, but then again, Slug Christ is not like most rappers. Since accurately encompassing Slug’s entire music career into one article is no easy feat, I’ve decided to focus on his most recent project, Judas’ Betrayal and the Three Day Burial of a Salted Slug.
Dropping at the top of the year on January 28th, I believe this is Slug’s best work to date, a sentiment that I’ve seen echoed among many Slug Christ fans, and even echoed by Slug himself. If you’ve never listened to Slug Christ before, be warned that it’s not uncommon for your first listen to be an unpleasant one. I know for myself personally, the first time I heard Slugga I was extremely confused and initially turned off his music to a significant degree. This aversion to his music is perfectly normal, as the average hip hop fan likely hasn’t really been exposed to someone like him before. Even in a hip hop landscape where unconventional delivery styles are becoming more and more popular with artists like Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert rising to prominence, Slug Christ stands as completely unique from his contemporaries. With a nasally, erratic, wailing delivery both in his rapping and his singing, Slug has a style that can be extremely polarizing.
Opening up the album with Feel Saner, we are immediately thrust into Slug’s world of drug abuse and wildly fluctuating mental health. If it wasn’t obvious by now, Slug Christ is not the type of rapper who is going to blow you away on a technical level with impressive wordplay or double entendres. Instead, he focuses are largely on depicting his realities as a self admitted addict, both the positives and negatives of that lifestyle. On the track in question, instead of rapping, Slug opts for a singing style delivery in which he discusses his refusal (or perhaps inability) to feel anger, even in the face of being wronged.
“Rape my soul if it makes you feel saner,
And I won’t even feel none of that anger
I swear to God I’m gonna go insane, bruh
My my head, I can’t, I can’t relate to ya
I just copped the .40, aim it at ya
But I aim at myself before I hate ya
I can’t feel no hate, I can’t feel anger”
Slug’s brutally honest lyrics combined with the sparkly and light, yet hard-hitting trap style production make for an extremely strong opener and serves for great insight into his mind.
As the album continues we’re met with more “typical” hip hop tracks like Separation, Watcha Got and Nautical. I say “typical” only in the sense that Slug is taking a slightly more conventional rapping style with his flows because as a whole, these songs are far from typical. His aforementioned erratic delivery is prevalent as ever, even down to the adlibs. Some of the lyrics enter a metaphysical or religious area that, while extremely strange and atypical from the topics one might typically hear in hip hop, create an outlandish and endearing quality to his music that I can’t help but find myself drawn to. Even if these types of lyrics aren’t particularly interesting to you, it’s hard to deny Slug’s uniqueness with lyrics like with transposed over trap hi hats:
“I look inside myself for the answer of life, and look what I found
I found an infinite ocean, God was penetratin’ Satan
They birthed a child and who was that bruh?
They named him Christ and he was doomed at birth
I’mma go to the fuckin’ moon where I can’t see none of you”
Say My Name is by far the albums weirdest track, and easily my favorite. Initially starting very quiet and almost ambient sounding, it soon explodes into what can hardly be described as rapping accompanied by an extremely dark and harsh synth. On this track Slug briefly addresses the misconception that he’s attained all he could ever want and that he’s living the dream. His tone, in addition to lyrics on this track reflect anything but a man who has reached a place of happiness; his pain sounds the most visceral here. Around the halfway mark of the song, the energy completely dissipates as Slug’s vocals cease as it transitions into a more ambient, electronic piece, sounding nothing like it did a mere 30 seconds ago.
In a recent interview with HAM Radio, Slug provided particularly notable insight into the creation of this project supporting the claim that the record is in fact his best work. Slugga mentions that over the last 3 years of his music creation, any time he felt he made a song that was a clear cut above the rest it was sent to a folder from which the project eventually sprouted. More artists ought to adopt this method, as it can evidently lead to some of the best work created in years. Even though it’s exciting being a fan of artists who are constantly putting out new music (which Slug has no doubt done as well in the past), it’s refreshing to see a project come out as a definitive magnus opus.
Slug keeps the quality steady as the album draws to a close, remaining incredibly real in his lyrics and incorporating earworm-inducing hooks and repetitions. Ultimately they add replayability to the project, an aspect often overlooked in music as strange as Slug’s. Placed over spacey trap influenced production, Slug’s strengths makes for an album that you might not “get” right away, but once clicking is extremely addictive. Judas’ Betrayal and the Three Day Burial of a Salted Slug is currently available on all major streaming services as well as iTunes, all of which are linked below.