by Brooklyn White
Salma Slims’ new project, Runway Rapper is here. It hosts features from Salma’s Private Club Records labelmate (and brother in-law) MadeinTYO, Slim Jxmmi of Rae Sremmurd and Ty Dolla $ign. The EP, as well as Salma, is inspired by Naomi Campbell, the cheeky model with an extensive career and indelible presence. But make no mistake, Salma Slims is her own woman.
The former cheerleader, girl group member and Lowes employee has come a mighty long way from having 9-5’s and juggling college courses. Her hard work has paid off though and now she has multiple high profile campaigns under her belt (including Calvin Klein) and over 200,000 Instagram followers who are ever excited about her latest moves. Read our email exchange with the runway rapper herself below.
Brooklyn White (BW): You're based in Los Angeles now, but you spent your formative years in Atlanta. How did living in the south prepare you for the types of people and events that you come across in California?Salma Slims (SS): Atlanta raised me. Taught me how to get it out the mud,... keep my foot on they necks and never let up. My mentality is fixed on that. Coming to LA, I’m the same person but I grind harder out here because this is an entertainment city and everybody is after the same thing - to make big. [I]t makes me go 10 times harder being out here.
BW: Your introduction to the music industry was in your teens, under Tiny Cottle's Pretty Hustle. Can you tell us a little about that experience?
SS: My introduction to the music scene was actually with 247 Ent/Konvict music when I was in a group, and from there our group caught the attention of Tiny though a cypher we did that went viral…[S]he liked the fact that we were a rap group and it was something different that you didn’t see much of during that time.
BW: What do you want listeners to walk away with after listening to 'Runway Rapper'?
SS: Runway Rapper is a lifestyle. Being a bad bitch with lots of attitude and class. This [EP] has a mixture of everything and a little bit for everybody.
“I absolutely lovvvvvvvve Naomi..I feel like I’m her daughter and she doesn’t even know it. We have very similar stories - she grew up in a very religious home being [Jehovah’s Witness] and I grew up in an Islamic home.”
BW: How long did it take you to craft this project from beginning to end? Did any particular life occurrences motivate it?
SS: It took me about 4 months to finish the project[,] I’m in the studio every other day. I was just waiting on the label to drop the project, so it took forever to come out. I actually just finished a project with super producer Dun deal and it’s some of my best music, so I have so much music I’m sitting on right now.
BW: You've cited Naomi Campbell as a major influence, and that inspiration is evidenced on the cover of your project. What have you learned from her career and how do you juggle music and fashion?
SS: I absolutely lovvvvvvvve Naomi..I feel like I’m her daughter and she doesn’t even know it. We have very similar stories - she grew up in a very religious home being [Jehovah’s Witness] and I grew up in an Islamic home. She had so many doors [closed] on her but she still remained to go hard and now she’s the biggest supermodel in the world. I get a lot of my creative inspo from her. The cover of my project was paying homage.... I’ve always wanted to [redo] her PLASTIC DOLL portrait from 2011 that was shot by Seb Janiak. Shoutout to the photographer Brian Christopher, the graphic designer Weird Creative, and [creative director] FilthyMcDave for helping me bring that to life.
BW: Your most recent track is "Seasoning" - a ticking, thumping, bass-heavy track full of clever references and confidence. How did "Seasoning" come about?
SS: I was in the studio working with Camiam and he’s done a lot of huge records. The beat was so hard, I wanted the record to be the intro to my project. I just went in the booth and spazzed on the beat.
BW: What are your plans for the rest of 2019?
SS: [The] “Seasoning” video also dropped May 31st. And..I’m hoping to go on tour this year and take everything out the roof.
‘Runway Rapper’ is available on all DSP’s now.
This interview has been edited for clarity.