Fame School is what happens when two separate creatives collide for one main focus; Being at the forefront of forging a new sound. Telli and Slim’s charismatic nature and musical acumen is something special. Having worked with artists like Manolo Rose, Maino, Prodigy, Nipsey Hussle, and an impressive list of many others, the New York production duo is responsible for a multitude of organically great records and projects emerging from The Big Apple and beyond. Having just recently released “Fame School & Friends,” a collaborative compilation highlighting the new wave of New York artists, Slim and Telli have their sights set on stretching the bounds of music and ushering in a whole new brand of sonics. RESPECT. Mag caught up with the intrinsically talented duo to talk New York, “Fame School & Friends” and pioneering artistc unity in the city where it all started. Class is now in session.
RESPECT.: Begin with the inception of Fame School. How did you two link?
Telli: “Me and Slim, we’ve been homies for like 7 or 8 years now. I was in Ninja Sonik, started working on a song through a mutual friend. He liked the song so much that he was like, “Yo, I got my man he want to jump on it too.” So by the time I got back in town he had already jumped on my song and it was fire.(Laughs) So I really met him after that and it was automatic. He produced as well, so we just started working on a whole bunch of sh*t, side projects and stuff. Ever since then we’ve been homies inside and outside of the studio.”
Slim: “Yup.” (Laughs)
RESPECT.: For anyone who isn’t familiar, talk Fame School and the focus of the brand.
Slim: “We have a vision that is way beyond music. Art, fashion, everything. We’re basically a hub for creativity and coming together as a group. Like this “Fame School & Friends” was a compilation of us working with other people, but this project we have coming out is called “Get Well Soon,” just me, Telli, and a couple features. That project will be us showing where we wanna go; it’s more melodic, just more of a broader range.”
Telli: “The thing is we’re a production house. Slim is like one of the best actual producers. A lot of people just send you a beat, he actually sits with you and builds the sound. I have certain melodies and he’ll be like, “Try is this way.” With his production and my writing and vocal arrangement, it has become a place where one sound is created, it’s Fame School. So in theory, we are just a production monster. It’s symbiotic. Like Spider-Man and Venom with their suits. When we did Manolo Rose’s project, or we’re in there with Nipsey Hussle or Maino, whoever that person is we want to try to amplify that sound with our expertise.”
RESPECT.: Congrats on the release of “Fame School & Friends.” Discuss the direction of the project and what you hoped to accomplish with it.
Slim: “I think bringing New York together was important and there is a whole new generation of New York artists that are willing to support each other, we want to try to be on the forefront of that. People talk about the “New York” sound, but Hip-Hop has progressed. One of the bigger issues with the generation of artists before is that they were all fighting over this little bit of food and more territorial, now it seems like people are more like “yo, we can all eat together.” New York is going to be very strong in 2016.”
Telli: “People want change, but change doesn’t just happen. The unity you see in Atlanta echoes all the way back to Outkast and Dungeon Family, that’s what we want in New York. People didn’t want us to put out “Fame School & Friends,” they wanted us to wait. We used that project as a springboard for other artists you know?”
RESPECT.: What was the selection process like for the tape? Was it pretty New York centric?
Slim: “It was really organic. When we’re in the studio a lot of people just end to pop up, or certain cases like Maino, we went to his studio and did a few songs on his project, Prodigy would stop by, stuff like that. It was really just connecting the dots. All the people on there feel like family, so it was just a matter of putting it all together.”
Telli: I’m from Ninja Sonik and Slim has been doing mad sh*t for years, so we’re just naturally and big fan of the the underdog. We like all the people we had on it. Maino is the big homie from Brooklyn, Prodigy is a legend, etc. We choose artists to work with that we really are fans of. That’s the thing too, at the end of the day we’re fans. I’m a fan of certain artists. It’s like Neo when he unlocked the code in “The Matrix,” being around artists you vibe with, everything just flows. Some people made it and some didn’t, but everything had to flow. The day before we dropped it me and Slim were having heated discussions about what went on there. (Laughs) We just had to make it all fit.”
RESPECT.: Aside from “Tom Ford & Crack Smoke” and “Dope In My Blood,” personally, what are some of your biggest records?
Slim: “Damn let me think. I guess the record that’s received the most radio play would be Manolo Rose’s “Super Flexin” remix with French Montana. I worked with Nina Sky, Seconhand Serenade, the 50 Cent movie/soundtrack, Def Comedy Jam, music with Kid Capri, etc. I’d say it’s that record though.”
Telli: “We’ve been around working for a while. (Laughs) I would have to say “Super Flxin” as well, that records like a trophy man. When Manolo came to work with us, he was fresh off that “All About The Money” sh*t with Ave, we were like “let’s do this man.” He came right there and the first song we made was “Super Flexin.” It came full circle too, it’s a year and a half later and French jumped on the remix. That record was a staple in momentum shift.”
RESPECT.: Any wild studio sessions you can talk about?
Telli: “Makonnen! (Laughs) All of our sessions are like a party, so one night like 4:30 in the morning, here comes Makonnen, floating in on a cloud. You know him, he’s very trippy and psychedelic, so he’s always a blast to have. The studio is packed full of people, he goes up to slim and asks him “can you make it like this.” Next thing you know he goes in the booth and freestyles the whole song!”
Slim: (Laughs) “Then just left!”
Telli: “He’s a magical man.” (Laughs)
RESPECT.: What’s next from Fame School?
Telli: “Visuals are going to com heavy for “Fame School & Friends. We have a nice production house now, we’re going to push the envelope. Look forward to seeing very compelling visuals from us. Not just people partying, etc. Real dramatic and cinematic things. We’re charismatic guys and have a bunch of awesome people around us, so we just wanna translate that thought the visuals. We can show you way better than we can tell you.”
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