At just 18-years-old, Slatt Zy is slated to take over the music industry, one dolorous melody at a time. The Atlanta bred, Chattanooga raised emcee has a vocal texture that’s unhurried, supported by a brash delivery that augments his raw ethos as a creative. Candidly speaking, he’s an emotive artist, and rap is his canvas. “I’m very open about anything, because I overcame.”
Despite his young age, Slatt Zy has endured more than the average young adult. He comes from a big family, the middle child of 12 siblings. Naturally, Zy is driven by a desire to provide for his loved ones — no more Section 8 chronicles or eating noodles for dinner. Family is everything; loyalty is everything, and while Zy spent time surviving Tennessee’s concrete jungle, loyalty became harder to find. Instead of drowning in his sorrows and bouts of depression, the harrowing crooner found comfort in sharing his story. “You go through it, you get over it, you live to see a better day,” he avows in confidence.
With a collection of emotionally charged strains in pocket, Slatt Zy is hellbent on being “remembered as a legend.” “I don’t wanna be no use to be when my career over with,” he continues. In short, there’s no doubt that Zy is on the right track; notching over 10 million streams in his first nine months of recording.
Slatt Zy’s relentless grind and well-tarnished voice is unlike anything else. He crafts melodic earworms in a way that champion his storytelling dynamic, revisiting tales of neighborhood drama and the perils of life in the streets. A voice for the trenches, our conversation follows below.
What drove you to start making music?
What drove me to start making music is being broke. Walking around the hood broke, working a 9 to 5. Dropping outta school in the 8th grade, just shit like that. Shit you can’t get over.
With dropping out of school at such an early age, how did you manage to pass time?
So, basically, I was moving around so much. Mama couldn’t really keep no house. It was so many of us living on section 8 and shit. I relocated from Atlanta to Chattanooga, went straight to the projects. Just running around the projects doing bad shit, shit you ain’t posed to be doing. Running around, going wild at the Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army — that’s where all the kids go to. Just running around doing bad shit. Nothing to do with my life really.
How has Tennessee influenced your art?
I wouldn’t say my sound, but most definitely my lyrics. I’m talking about what I go through. Everything I done put in my lyrics is about what happened in Chattanooga. So it most definitely had something to do with my lyrics, but I wouldn’t say my sound.
Your music exudes pain and overcoming hardship. How vulnerable do you allow yourself to be when you’re in the booth?
I’m very open about anything, because I overcame. I’m willing to talk about any situation like — it really don’t matter, long as I overcame that situation when I’m talking about it. Wearing my brother’s shoes to school, or not having nothing to eat but noodles for dinner, or anything — I’ll put it in a song. I’m cool, I’m very open about my personal life.
How do you cope with being exposed to so much trauma at just 18-years-old?
I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it’s life. You go through it, you get over it, you live to see a better day. What don’t kill you make you stronger, feel me — this everyday life.
What does loyalty look like in your eyes?
Loyalty is somebody who will never switch up on you. You really can’t vibe out with a person if they don’t have loyalty, cuz’ a nigga can snake you. Loyalty is everything. Loyalty is yo bruddas, feel me.
I imagine you had to make sacrifices to get ahead in life. In retrospect, do you have any regrets about the path you choose for yourself?
Nah. At the end of the day, that money coming in. As long as that check coming in, I’m good.
I tell everybody, it’s lonely up here [at the top]. You the main topic, everybody notice what you do. When you at the top, people get mad at the smallest shit. You cannot speak to nobody, that you didn’t speak to when you were regular, and they’ll have a problem. People like to change up.
When you’re alone, what thoughts consume the mind of Slatt Zy?
What’s my next move in life. Sometimes, I’m not gon’ cap, sometimes I think about what I would be doing if I wasn’t rapping or making music. Just a whole lotta shit.
And what do you feel like you’d be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I’d say a bank robber [haha]. I ain’t gon’ cap, growing up, I used to work for my money. I do know that I was getting tired of that working shit.
What’s the hardest part about your come up?
I can name a lot of hard parts. As a rapper, everyday life is stressful. You around people — I don’t know if it’s just me, but I don’t like attention. I just want my music to be heard. Not with fans, but, it’s family that wasn’t speaking to you — you got family members that never said nothing to you or wasn’t around before you were a rapper, basically dogged you really, in so many words. Now they come around, “oh I love you” or “call me”, type of bullshit like that. So basically, I’m saying fake love, that’s the hardest part. You don’t really know who love you for you. You don’t know who there because they wanna be there for you. You give a muhfucka the time, they gon’ ask for something. Not that I’m selfish or won’t give it to em’. Sometimes you want somebody to be there for you. You’ll have plenty of muhfuckas ask you for money, or ask you to do this, but how many of y’all gon’ come to the studio with you and put in the work.
Outside of yourself, who do you make music for?
I make music for my fans. People who go through the same shit as me. I read comments. I make pain music, I can relate to anything. When I go in the studio, I think about my fans, my bruddas, my parents, my sisters — them the only people I think about. Everytime I step in the booth, that’s what I think about.
When I first came into the game, I had great motivation. I ain’t gon’ cap, I had started going through a depression stage, when I lost my lil’ brudda. I was going to the studio not motivated, not wanting to be there forreal, wanting to be somewhere else. Now, I snapped back, I’m back motivated. Now, when I step in the booth, that’s when good songs come, that’s when the hits come.
When it’s all said and done, what do you want your legacy to be – how do you want to be remembered?
I wanna be remembered as a legend. The kid who came in the game strong, left out strong. Came in hard, left out hard. I don’t wanna be no use to be when my career over with. I wanna be that nigga.