I spoke with Vado for AllHipHop.com. Read it in full below!
If you’re a part of the Twitter world or just not living under a rock in general, chances are somewhere at some time you’ve heard someone refer to their friend as “slime” and tell someone to “stop it, 5.” A newcomer out of Harlem, rapper Vado, is to thank for that.
After signing under fellow Harlemite Cam’Ron in 2009, Vado is already making a name in hip-hop and finally giving Harlem the shine it hasn’t seen since the days of Ma$e and shiny suits. Allhiphop.com catches up with Vado as he explains how he’s in the Diplomats but not Dip Set, the real deal with him and Juelz Santana and what exactly a “slime” is.
AllHipHop.com: When you signed on with Cam’Ron, that was only just last year. For a lot of artists, it takes at least a few years to really see any notoriety at all, let alone doing shows all over the country and getting so many record spins. What was your mind set going into this situation? Were you prepared to just really grind it out for a few years, or was part of the deal like you got to get out there ASAP?
VADO: I was ready to just grind it out, you know? I got with somebody that I always looked up to, so I was just happy to be there. I was happy to just work with him and grind it out, whether I make it or not.
AllHipHop.com: How did you two link up to begin with?
VADO: My man Suga Duga is a mutual friend from the neighborhood – you know we all from Harlem. I reached out to him because I knew he be with Cam. In turn, he reached out to Cam, and Cam heard me out.
AllHipHop.com: Suga Duga must have really said some good things, no? Everyone knows someone that knows someone that’s “on.” People aren’t really getting deals left and right off of, ‘Yo, check my man out…’
VADO: Yeah, shout to Suga Duga for real. He really said some good things, and really just explained to Cam like who I am, what I do, the buzz I already had on the street. To really help the situation and back up what he was saying, me and Cam had both recently been in an issue of XXL, so Cam was like, ‘Oh okay, I’ll hear him out.’
AllHipHop.com: Okay, so then how’d you get into rapping?
VADO: Back in the day running around with Jae Millz all the time. We grew up together. I was kind of like the popular dude but street hustler, you know? He was like the very talented one, so I’d just be in the studio with him all the time, going around the world with him. So one day I’m like man, let me just start spitting. So I start playing with it – no homo – and I used to rap it to him and he’d be like, ‘Who said that?’ You know, as if like I’m quoting like a real hot rap lyric. I’d be like, ‘Man, I said that!’ He’d be like, ‘You ain’t say that!’ I’m like, ‘Word, I said that!’ So I started doing it a little more and he used to tell me stuff like, ‘Yo I love listening to you!’ No homo. When he said that, I’m like word? So then I started doing this mad cipher thing with him and that’s how I caught my buzz. When people started showing me love from that, then that’s when I knew like, aight, I’ma do this.
AllHipHop.com: Did you ever think your current record “Speaking Tongues” would take off as quickly as it did? I mean, to have Funkmaster Flex obsess over a record with a new artist as quickly as he did, it’s kind of huge.
VADO: Yes and no. Like, I really didn’t realize it was going to do what it’s doing, but I did think it’d make a buzz for me and for us. I thought like as far as New York to make people start paying attention, I thought that’s about as big as it’d be. I ain’t realize like it was going to be getting spins all over the country, got me on the road and everything. It’s crazy but it’s such a blessing. Shout to Sire, he did the beat because the beat was just incredible. It’s an instant knock.
AllHipHop.com: You and Cam have a joint album, Gunz N Butta, coming out next month. Where did the decision to do a joint album come from?
VADO: We want to show the movement, the whole U.N. movement to say like you know, we’re here. It was originally a group, but me and Cam’s combo is just so crazy we were like man, we’re just gonna do this, just us.
AllHipHop.com: So the U.N. just solely consists of Cam’Ron and Vado? There’s no other rappers in the group?
VADO: Nah, just me and Cam.
AllHipHop.com: What kind of sound is Gunz N Butta leaning towards?
VADO: Gunz N Butta is just classic music, it’s Harlem. It got that Harlem sound all the way. The lyrics is definitely Harlem, it’s just gonna give you that feeling that’s gonna make you want to go through Harlem. You might live in Oklahoma and be like, ‘You know what? I wanna roll through Harlem today.’
AllHipHop.com: Where’d the title come from?
VADO: Gunz N Butta is just brains and business. Guns is just a slang way of saying your brain.
AllHipHop.com: With the onset of the Diplomats reunion, where do you fit in with this? Are you Dip Set?
VADO: Nah I’m not Dip Set at all. I’m not Dip Set, I’m just an artist over there. Dip Set came back, but the movement is the U.N. So I’m the artist coming out under the U.N., but at the end of the day, you know, it’s Diplomats. I’m signed to Diplomat Records, but I’m not in the group Dip Set.
AllHipHop.com: What are the future plans for U.N.? Is it going to remain just you and Cam forever, or do you guys want to build on that and add more artists and things like that in the future?
VADO: Yea we gon’ build the U.N. same way he built the Dip Set.
AllHipHop.com: You have this highly anticipated mixtape, Slime Flu , that’s supposed to have come out for a while now. What’s the status of that?
VADO: The thing is when we hit y’all, we gonna hit yall with a two-piece that’s gonna be so strong. Because Gunz N’ Butta come out September, and I think Slime Flu come out the next week.
AllHipHop.com: Is it going to be just a street mixtape or will it actually be sold in stores?
VADO: It’ll be in a store near you.
AllHipHop.com: Now being that you’re in an obviously similar position as Juelz Santana once was, it’s inevitable that people are going to talk. There’s been so many comparisons and people attempting to put you two against each other. There’s rumors that you said things about Juelz and vice versa. Has there been dialogue between you two? Is there beef or tension?
VADO: Oh nah, there’s no beef. We’re cool. We went to school together. At the end of the day, I don’t feed into subliminals. Even though I know there aren’t any, but of course the streets are always gonna talk. Me and him is cool, it’s just that, you know, we’re two dudes, come out of Harlem that’s protégés of Cam’Ron. I’m not no wack looking dude, you know? I got swag, so of course there’s going to be comparisons. ‘Oh he think he Juelz.’ Why I think I’m Juelz? Because I got swag too? That don’t make sense. I’m from Harlem, what you think?
AllHipHop.com: Coming into a deal with Cam, were you apprehensive about the situation because of the negative things put in the press about the fall-out of the Diplomats originally? Juelz had said Cam did him wrong, Jim said it. Did you ever think like, ‘Man, I’ve got to be careful and watch out for him?’
VADO: I mean you got to be careful regardless with anybody you deal with, you know? But as soon as I got with Cam, the first thing he said to me was, ‘I want to help you make some money.’ That’s all he need to say to me. I don’t care what you call “rape” but get me out the hood. Just get me out, you know what I’m saying? That’s why I don’t pay attention to what I hear because I’m paying attention to my own situation. He’s doing what he got to do. He got me out the hood which is square one and we working, you know?
AllHipHop.com: What is it about your individual styles of rapping that compliments each other? Why do you work so well together?
VADO: Our styles is kind of the same. I like to talk about street stuff, stuff that’s going on in my world – which is Harlem. I don’t care if you don’t know that person. I don’t care if you don’t know that drunk wino in the store, I’ma talk about him, you feel me? We click real heavy when it comes to music. Sometimes, you know, strong minds think alike and I might say a slick bar and he’ll be like, ‘Man, I said something similar to that, but I’ma let you get that.’ You know? It’s all love.
AllHipHop.com: This whole situation is a huge look for Harlem. Do you feel it’s important to rep for it?
VADO: When I came in the game, I wanted to make it with Millz because you know we came up together, bunk beds…no homo. He’s my partner , so when that didn’t happen…when he got signed to Young Money and I realized that wasn’t gonna happen no time soon, I reached out to Cam. But when Cam wasn’t back on the scene, I wasn’t reaching out to nobody you know? I was just chilling, tryna come up by myself. But when Cam came out, I reached out quick because it’s all about Harlem. It’s all about making Harlem as big as Atlanta, Miami, Houston…all these other towns that done came up.
AllHipHop.com: You and Millz have been tight for years, but he was always the bigger name. Do you think there’s going to be any tension running with different crews and the possibility one could be doing better than the other at certain times?
VADO: Nah because we brothers. It might be a little because we brothers but you know, brothers fight and then it’s over with. Like for instance, we’re getting a little tension now from our block. They be like, ‘Oh Vado better, oh Millz better, oh Vado‘s more street, oh Millz more talented…” They say all types of stuff. But at the end of the day, you ask me where I’m at? I’m at Millz crib. Or Millz at my crib. We don’t pay that no mind. Sometimes I tell my slimes like, ‘Don’t feed into that, man! Don’t pay that no mind.’ At the end of the day, me and Millz just laughing, you feel me? And they’ll be the ones that’s cut off. I don’t ever compare myself to Millz. I feel I’m talented, I feel he’s talented and we just fire and together we’re crazy.
AllHipHop.com: I have to ask about this “slime” thing you always say. What does it mean?
VADO: It means “street life, intelligence and money is everything.”
AllHipHop.com: So you really sat there one day and said let me put together the word street, the word life, etc. and make this acronym? Did you come up with the actual word first or the acronym because those specific words are just extra important?
VADO: Nah the word came first. Shout out to my man G-Dogz, he kinda made it up. He was always saying, ‘Slimeee! Slimeee! What’s popping slimeee?‘ so my whole crew, Most Hated, we just started running with it. I heard Nore was saying it too so you know, he passed me the torch. That’s the Slimefather, but I’m Slime Rothstein.
AllHipHop.com: I notice you’re pretty heavy on Twitter (@VADO_MH). What are your thoughts on it?
VADO: It’s like the new Myspace. I ain’t got to go to the block to be on the block. Everybody from the hood got it so you get to know what’s going on, what’s happening. It’s like a newspaper – a hood newspaper.
AllHipHop.com: So what are your plans for the game? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
VADO: In 5 years, I see ownership. I see entrepreneur, actor, model, everything. Everything I could my hands on, for real – own a clothing line, everything. I don’t know if it’s going to happen in 5, but we could try. But for now, September 28 Gunz N’ Butta, Slime Flu the next week and DJ Drama Gangsta Grillz part 3 should be out in September. And Slime Flu: Lost Tapes probably in October.