V Exclusive! Vado Talks ‘Slime Flu 3,’ Harlem Fashion, And Lessons From Cam’Ron

Today, Harlem rapper Vado drops the latest tape in his Slime Flu series. Considered as his best of the entire series, Slime Flu 3 is sure to bring the fire and give all the slimes something to knock to well into the summer.

VIBE got on the phone with Vado to get his opinion on everything from how hip-hop is similar to the NBA, Harlem’s influence on pretty much everything, and two words from his mentor Cam’Ron that inspire him every time he steps into the booth.

VIBE: You’ve been doing this Slime Flu series for a minute now. What made you decide to make it a full series as opposed to just one standalone mixtape?
Vado: The first one was so much of a classic. I got a lot of good buzz off of it so I felt I could get it [even more] with [Slime Flu 2]. I was going to stop there, but I felt that part two wasn’t my best. I felt that it wasn’t what I really wanted them to put out. I felt that it was music I was trying to make the label happy with, so after I had to come back with Slime Flu 3—harder than ever. It ended up becoming a trilogy.

Yeah. In the past you’ve actually stated that Slime Flu 2 consisted of songs that the label wasn’t really feeling for an official album. With Slime Flu 3, were these tracks made exclusively for the tape or was it kind of the same process?
This is made exclusively for the tape. I locked in like I did for part 1 and Boss of All Bosses—like most of my mixtapes. It wasn’t like I just put some songs together that I had that wasn’t going anywhere, like on Slime Flu 2.

Let’s talk a little bit about the hip hop scene in general. Right now, it seems to be a real heavy presence of Harlem on the scene, with people like A$AP Rocky & A$AP Mob, and even Azealia Banks. How do you feel about that Harlem dominance?
I mean, I feel like it’s something that’s always been there. It’s just a new era. I feel we always stood our ground as far as this hip hop game when it comes to Harlem. It’s kind of like the NBA New York basketball players or Chicago basketball players—they always stood their ground. It’s the same thing with the game, you know with this hip hop game.

Speaking of the new era, how do you feel this era compares to Harlem’s infamous Dipset era?
I can’t compare it, but they are going down that same road, which is a great thing. Dipset really put a dent into the game and really stepped their footprints. It’s always a great thing for Harlem. That’s why you know most haters coming strong this year.

Where do you feel like you fit in? Would you classify yourself in the newer generation, the Dipset era, or something in between?
I definitely feel like I’m part of the new generation. I wasn’t here with the whole Dipset generation. I’m very part of the new generation, that’s why Harlem is looking good. They’re going to be in great hands, because as far as me and my crew—and then A$AP Mob—we’re going to hold down. Plus, we always got Dispet because they going to be here forever. They just graduated to more of a boss level. They’re branching off & finding their own teams.

Dope. Well keeping the conversation in Harlem, the area’s always set the trends—especially in style. As a veteran Harlemite, what are some of your predictions on future statements in urban fashion and streetwear for 2013?
Well right now, we’re in the winter. I’m in the winter mind frame right now, so I’ve brought the bomber coats that was popping in the eighties with the fur collar. I’m definitely doing those right now for the winter. I aint figure out where I’m going right now as far as the spring and summer, but I know it’s gonna be hard. I’ve been dealing with Hawke & Dumar clothing, as well as Strivers Row clothing. I really like their style. I’m gonna put some pieces together and make something incredible. That’s what Harlem dudes do—we’re trendsetters.

What’s some of your other favorite clothing lines, past and present?
To be honest with you, right now I’m still wearing Rugby. I got on Rugby right now as we speak [Laughs]. Until February, or whatever date [winter] is over with, I’ll be doing Rugby, lot of Gucci, Louis [Vuitton], Fendi accessories & belts, Audemars [Piguet’s], Hugo [Bos’s], No Label watches, G Shocks—it don’t matter. You just got to put it together right. It don’t got to be too expensive. It could be affordable; as long as you do it right, you good.

Sounds legit. Going back to Slime Flu 3, what was the process of picking beats? Was it stuff you were hearing on the radio or stored-away gems?
No, it wasn’t really no commercials. Don’t get it twisted, I got a lot of knockers on it, but I locked in with BBK—a producer with a producing company. They my slimes—they’re family. We just locked in to give them those raw beats. I got some crazy Arab’s on there, so it’s good money.

What’s happening with the features on Slime Flu 3?
Yeah. I got one track that’s crazy, called “55” with just me and Gunplay. I got another track that’s crazy with me and Chinx Drugz. I got this other track that’s crazy with me, [Jae] Millz and Fred The Godson—which is definitely a knocker. You know, I didn’t really reach out too crazy on the features. I really just gave myself on this one. I reached out to certains that I felt was coming up as rising stars like Meek, Chinx Drugz, Fred the Godson, and Gunplay.

That’s interesting that you focused on the rising stars. How important do you think it is to have a unity amongst the new school of rappers?
You mean like, as far as beef?

Pretty much. We’ve seen all these recent beefs between Azealia & Angel Haze, or Meek and Cassidy.
You know, it’s like the NBA. Regardless of how good the players are, what’s the NBA without the dunking contests? When they have their battles, that’s good for the sport—great actually. Hip hop is not only songs, it’s art. Hip hop is rap battles, graffiti, break-dancing battles—it’s a whole thing. We got to give them a piece of that any chance we get. When we have our rap battles, we give them a piece of more hip hop.

Great way to look at it. Getting into your close partnership with Cam’Ron, how has he prepared you to be a solo artist? What’s some great advice he’s given you?
He’s given me lots of advice, but most of all to go hard. That’s his whole thing; go hard. if you’re going to do it, do it all the way to your best ability. He’s a “go-harder.” You know what you not doing what you got to do when you work with him, because he’ll give you the vibe. That always stays stuck in my head. When I work, I make sure I go hard with it at all times.

With mixtapes being your primary musical area, do you feel any pressure to release a studio album or is this something that you wanna rock with for right now?
Oh, not at all. I’m right back at work now. I’m working on my next mixtape & working on my album. You’re going to hear big things going on this year for me, so I just preparing for it. I’m getting ready for y’all.

What’s the biggest thing that you want people to get from you on Slime Flu 3?
I just want people to hear this and say, ‘Damn man, I understand how special this kid really is.’ I want them to listen to my rhymes and be like, ‘This kid has some crazy raw talent, and I’m glad he’s back on his job.’

Slime Flu 3 drops today. Stream/Download it by clicking [HERE].