Last year, Archibald Slim returned from a half-decade hiatus with Fell Asleep Praying, an album hailed by critics as a “modern day classic.” During his rap sabbatical, the Awful Records co-founder weathered time in his native Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New Mexico. What he did in those spots is perhaps better left unsaid. The weary existentialism, hard-boiled street wisdom, and cold-blooded consequences of his lyrics say it all anyway. They speak to a period of betrayal, unanswered prayers, and relentless stress. An age in which he got caught up in these worldy ways.
Wordly Ways is fittingly the title of his latest opus on POW Recordings. It’s a cautionary warning and a compact distillation of an artist caught between art and the streets, belief and agnosticism, self-destruction and the need for survival. An album that strikes the omerta middle ground between Roc Marciano and Boldy James – or Pusha T if he’d come up in the Dungeon Family.
If his last album, 2021’s Fell Asleep Praying was polished and occasionally guarded, Worldly Ways is unvarnished and unapologetic. Slim balances slick talk with straightforward conversations. Serious regrets and unmasked fearlessnes. It features appearances from fellow Awful co-founder Ethereal, Baton Rouge’s Quadry, and fellow POW Recordings artist, New York’s Gabe ‘Nandez. Slim mixed and mastered it himself
Wordly Ways delivers on the promise first evinced in the mid-2010s when Slim stormed the rap world with the left-field Atlanta collective, Awful, whose members have included ILOVEMAKONNEN, Zack Fox, Abra, Tommy Genesis, and of course, the mastermind, Father.
Still close friends, Slim recorded the entirety of Worldy Ways at Father’s studio outside of Atlanta. Late last year, the duo collaborated with Fox on “Let’s Kick His Ass,” a viral comic threat that racked up millions of streams across various platforms. It built on the momentum sparked by Slim’s organic 2021 smash, “When the Light Hits,” which received half-a-million streams on Spotify without editorial playlisting.
This is the moment when Slim steps into his rightful position as one of the most subtly interesting voices of his generation. With his seen-it-all drawl, he blends cryptic aphorisms with crime family sagas, and an indomitable spirit forged from the red clay. It’s the story of someone who managed to get out alive, and turn those experiences into something deeper. A song collection of blood and shadows, less concerned with showing you the way then revealing the darker paths glimpsed when you get caught traveling in a life too fast.