Self-produced internet media being what they are, this, too, is available now. Welcome to Slugger Roo TV.
In this episode, Slug picks up fellow holy hip-hopper Praiz' at the airport in St. Louis and takes him to two video shoots: one at a church, Remnant Worship Center International, and the other in front of a green screen at Jamestown Mall.
At church, we mostly see Praiz' lip-synch to the track he produced for Slug, "Cold Outside." It's interesting to see someone in hip-hop attire dance and lip-synch to a beat while standing on an altar, flanked by video light banks.
It's up in the mall that we actually see Praiz' pray. That's consistent with the dude's philosophy. When I first introduced these two guys, Praiz' aggressively encouraged Slug (who used to be a really bad guy) to get out in the streets and in the clubs to testify.
"Just because 50 Cent is in a church, is he any less a thug?" Praiz' challenged him. "Church is fine, but the world is outside. We need to be outside."
Slug used to be outside, all right. Kenya Vaughn of The St. Louis American grew up in Alton, where Slug was once a young bad buy. When I first profiled him in the paper, Kenya said her family members fell out. "Isn't that Slugger Roo? The Vice Lord?"
It was. But then "Slugger Roo got saved!" as his first gospel single declared. He has been grinding on his gospel rap ever since. That's how this thing with Praiz' got going, once I put them together one day.
With my concept of a confluence, borrowed from the geography of our city, I love to bring different kinds of people together. Nothing makes me happier than to see two people I have brought together make the most of the connection.
Praiz' was much further along in the industry game when Slug met him (Praiz' had a monster hit with his song "Deliver Me," which dominated local gospel radio and is still known by heart throughout black St. Louis), and Slug respected that. He worked hard to keep alive the connection - Praiz' had moved onto Tallahassee, when they met - and he instigated their long-distance collaboration. I am proud, a little fatherly, to see a single come out of their collaboration, with a video on the way now.
You get a good taste of Praiz' music on his website. I dig it, without being a Christian myself - I love the sounds, the imagination, the passion and the loving vibe. But if it's a day in the life of two incredible guys like this you'd like to know more about, then Slugger Roo TV is the place to be.
Pic of Slug and Praiz' on the first day they met is by me.