The moon, slung fat and low over Lake Wichita’s rippling waters, glowed with an unnecessary intensity. Ripe enough you’d have thought one well efforted tug would drown it in the shallow waters just below. It was that thought that shook me from my daze and caused me to step back from the muddy banks, back on to that soft grass in search of shoes I had cast off some time earlier. After all, I hadn’t come for the moon. I had come to capture a glimpse of a rising star. Waiting in the preamble of this Autumnal Equinox had obviously set my mind adrift.
I tried to refocus on something pertinent. Like, where did I leave my shoes? It was at this moment I saw the star I was looking for shooting toward me. Spitting gravel rather, in a hard charging Mini Van. From behind the wheel in one gargantuan stride, stepped Stephen L. Peters. Better known as SLiP. “Had to drop the kids off at the hospital.” He said apologetically. I craned my neck up and said “Iet me find my shoes” in much the same manner. It was an interesting introduction to say the least. So, it was that we meandered off into the night for a moon lit conversation on the trails in front of Lake Wichita Falls, and in no time, we eased in to a conversation that spanned three hours of philosophical musings about music, the law of attraction, family, failings, and the future of humanity.
It’s worth repeating that SLiP is a big man. It’s also worth noting that he gentleness at the core of this particular giant is just as apparent. You’d never know it by listening to the vast majority of his back catalogue. He doesn’t just bark on a track; his hooks have a bite that you tend to feel long after the music has ended. He can be ferociously articulate. There’s a heaviness, a certain world wariness, that punctuates the vast majority of the bars he spits that stands in stark contrast to the hopeful manner in which he speaks when the veil SLiPs to reveal Stephen. He has said that music was often his therapy. In the past it served as a safe place to release his anger and vent his frustrations, personally and societally. It also served as a space to engage the competitive nature of which we are all imbued and stake his rightful claim as a wordsmith. When asked to speak to his earlier work, he comments with the dismissive of an artist who’s more interested in progression than he is in discussing the past. “I’m not really a fan of a lot of my earlier stuff, I hear it and it sounds angry, and that’s just not me. But people like it, so… I’m just looking forward to what’s next”.
This father of three was born in England, spent time in Germany, and first developed a passion for music in Delaware thanks to a toy piano he was gifted as a child by his Mom, a Proud United States Air Force veteran. In an effort to recall the name of “the song” that first lit him up, and tuned him in to the possibility of becoming an artist, we both broke into an impromptu harmony, serenading a family of 4 and their 2 puppies in passing. Was it K-ci and Jo-Jo, quality? Not quite. It was a little grittier, there were no white gloves necessary. Regardless, it’s another memory I’ll carry with me “All My life.”
His mom’s transfer to Shepard Air force base was how Stephen landed in Wichita Falls, where, as good fortune would have it, he met his best friend, Devin Ledezma, in the 5th grade while enrolled at Washington Jackson. He met Devin’s brother, Ryan, soon after, at a birthday party. Fast forward to the present, and those friendships seeded in youth would be the impetus for Stephen’s return to WF and the continuation of a lifelong friendship and return to music. This brotherhood only got stronger with the addition of Matthew Kroe Bridges, another Air force progeny with ties to Sheppard Air Force base, who churns beats and rhymes out at a dizzying rate. with the additions of the T-lo Verde, and Monsta’…The Spit Stain Squad was official.
But wait, isn’t this writeup about SLiP, you might be asking yourself? Well, yeah it was supposed to be. But this consummate family man insisted on spreading the love across his entire musical family. “What goes around, comes around. If I eat, we all eat! That’s just how I feel, that’s how we roll.” A good friend of mine once said stars are born in clusters.
Well, Wichita Falls, let me introduce you to your newest constellation.
– Bryan Atkins