It’s a sad truth. Nowadays most rap artists are either lucked in the studio crafting hits or literally locked up. The long list of rappers in and out of jail (Lil Wayne, T.I.) almost included Houston’s native son, Slim Thug. After keeping his court case for aggravated robbery on the low, Thugga finally revealed details about the case that could have landed him in jail for 15 years to life exclusively to

While Slim beat the case, his courtroom drama isn’t over as he’s still facing lawsuits over his track “I Run,” which has held up royalties from his last album, Boss of All Bosses. It’d be enough to temporarily halt anyone’s career but the Boss Hogg is a true hustler and is set to release his third album, Tha Thug Show next week. The Boss will see you now. Does this new album mark a new period of musical or personal growth for you?

Slim Thug: I’m steady growing up. It’s been a lot of changes. I just turned 30 in September so of course. I usually be a little more thugged out than I am right now. I done cut off my braids and took out the grill and shit. On this album I'm doing a different type of music. It’s still what I usually do but at the same time still showing growth on other songs. I don’t want to try and sound like a kid or act like I'm 17.

When you worked with Pharrell some of your fans didn’t appreciate that and looked at you as a sellout. How did you respond to that criticism?

Already Platinum was my first album period. Before that my fans didn’t hear me on nothing but Pharrell and Timbaland beats since I rapped on whatever was hot at the time. I can be on a Taylor Swift beat and I'm still gonna be Slim Thug on it. It’s not selling out or going pop. With the Pharrell shit we wasn't supposed to do that many records together. The only reason we did that many records together is the bootleg got out. I was never signed to Star Trak. I was signed to Geffen/Interscope and Jimmy Iovine put him with me. His formula for breaking new artists is to put them with major producers. He did that with Dr. Dre and Game and everybody else. So it was for the look. I still love all the music I did with Pharrell and I gained even more fans because of that.

Pharrell recently cosigned Game as being largely underrated. Do you agree?

I like Game. He rap his ass off but I can’t say he underrated. The nigga sold millions of fuckin’ records. When I look at the West Coast that’s the two muthafuckas I think about is Snoop and Game. So I don’t see it as underrated. I think he got a lot of success.

Early versions of your new album’s track listing had Lil Wayne as a guest but he didn’t make the final cut? What led to that?

That was tragic. We couldn’t get his stuff cleared in time. It’s our fault since I talked to his people on a Saturday and we had to turn the album in that Monday. It’s not to say we couldn’t get it cleared, we just ain't know for sure we could. I still haven't received no money off my last album ‘cause I'm still going through lawsuits. So instead of not knowing for sure we could get it cleared I decided to take him off there ‘cause I don't want to get sued by Universal. I'm sure if it was on Cash Money they would have cleared it but I rather just play it safe. We did it right before he went to jail. I will leak it so the people will hear it.

So you haven’t to see any money from your last album sales? That’s crazy.

I got sued over “I Run,” and I been going through a legal battle. It has nothing to do with the label. It’s a producer suing Jim Jonsin saying he made the beat. It should be wrapped up in a few weeks. A lot of people didn’t know that I been getting sued the whole fuckin’ time so it’s holding up all the money over that one record. It’s false and it’s crazy how muthafuckas can say that and fuck up your money, but soon as this case over we good.

There are multiple lawsuits concerning producers and their tracks. Has this made you more skeptical of working with certain producers in the game?

I don’t blame Jim Jonsin at all. That could happen to anybody so I'm not sour. It has nothing to do with producers. Anybody could have said that about any producer. It’s about false claims and it’s some unfortunate shit that happened but everything good.

You sent out a tweet the other day where you said that you were about to take your blood pressure pill with a beer. How has your health been?

Lately I lost a lot of weight ‘cause I got to working out ‘cause I was trying to get off the pills. That’s no joke and it will knock your dick out. You’ll have two bitches naked and can’t do nothing. So I was like fuck that let me lose this weight and get off these pills. I lost weight but they still make me take them in a small dosage so I'm cool.

Sometimes high blood pressure is attributed to intense stress levels. Has there been a lot of stress you been going through lately?

Slim Thug: Definitely, I ain't gonna lie. Earlier this year I was fighting an aggravated robbery case through some bullshit and another false claim. They saying I did something to them ‘cause I was there. Whenever you in the celebrity limelight—and I don’t feel like no celebrity. I'm in the club and streets every night and I don’t have no bodyguards. So me being around different spots if they get in a fight and I'm there they say he the one with the money and they put the case on me. They trying to get money and that case had me stressed out. But I beat that shit ‘cause it was false. There wasn’t no truth to it.

Nobody knew about this case in the public eye. Why did you not go public with this while you were in court?

I kept it on the low. I wasn’t saying nothing, going to court and acting like everything was good. I didn’t want to publicize it. It was serious though because aggravated robbery in Texas holds 15 [years] to life. My cousin got out of jail doing 13 [years] on it and his little brother just went to jail on it and he got 13 years. So that’s what had me stressed out. I'm Slim Thug and being that I'm a rapper I feel like they gonna try and make an example out of me like Lil' Boosie and Lil Wayne and all these muthafuckas going to jail just ‘cause they rappers. I ain't want the media to know and then the judge have to do something so that’s why I kept it on the low until it was beat.

In the aftermath of that has it made you more guarded and less accessible as you once were just walking around Houston with no bodyguard?

It ain't about changing where I go. I don’t want to see a fight. Usually I'm a hood nigga with that mind frame so I would look, but I don’t want to be involved none whatsoever. That made me understand I'm not no regular muthafucka. With T.I. and all them going to jail it seems like they targeting us rappers. So we got to be smart and protect ourselves. I won’t let it run me away but I will stay away from the bullshit. My old mind frame was if I don’t like a muthafucka we can fight on the spot but with my new mind frame you say what you want to say. I won’t get locked up over no petty nigga.

You mentioned that rappers are being targeted and while that’s true you can’t deny that a lot of them put themselves in idiotic situations that lead to trouble. So there has to be some personal responsibility there too.

You, right it’s not like the police just doing everything and framing. But some people made bad decisions but everybody human at the end of the day. Just like a regular mouhafucka mess up. We all from the hood and still got that hood mind frame. In some way we still want to do shit 'cause that’s still who we are despite money and where we live. I just wish they free Lil’ Boosie. I pray for him and his family.

Some people also think that hip-hop culture makes it acceptable for our rappers go in and out of jail. All you have to do is look at how they are celebrated and looked at like prisoners of war once they are released.

I don’t believe in that. I don't like jail and I don’t want to go to jail. So I don’t promote that in no way. In jail you can't get no money or see family and do shit. If I got to go to jail to look cool then I don’t want to look cool. It ain't help everybody. Look at Lil Wayne, this muthafucka one of the top three in the game and been gone all that time. It’s the same thing with T.I. Imagine how much money they missing being in jail. That shit gottta hurt. So I'm gonna be smart and fuck with people I know real and not accept newcomers. There's a lot of snakes that pop up.

In one of our past interviews you mentioned that Houston is the worst place for a Black man to live. Do you still feel that way?

That was some shit I read they said about Houston in statistics. I'm not in the hood but I see hood shit everyday. I see niggas get killed everyday and muthafuckas go to jail. It’s hard because muthafuckas is starving and it is a trap. When you young and ain't got shit you got to do what you can, but once you get that first felony case on your name you can't get no job or school. That shit is sad. I wish there was something I could do to change it. When I was in the hood I never believed I would make it this far. I felt like I should do what everybody else do. So I don’t think dreams in the hood go that far. I’m 6’6” and I never played basketball in high school ‘cause I never believed there would be a chance of me making it to the NBA because I ain't have nobody to encourage me. That’s what the hood need; the hood need hope and somebody to encourage them to be at the top.

In our interview you also said that by 30 years old you’d settle down and look for marriage. Are you at that place now?

No, I thought that I would feel old and shit would be a lot different but I still feel younger than a bitch. I been 30 since September and this has been the best days of my life. I been enjoying myself and I had way more success music wise at 24 or 25 but I look back like what the fuck was I doing? At 30, I feel like I got more knowledge and wisdom. I'm cool right now but I ain't ready to settle down. I ain't getting married until 40 now.

Does Nicki Minaj have a chance? You’ve been tweeting her relentlessly. Have you approached her about your interest in her?

Only on Twitter. I saw her [the other] night but I don’t harass her in person. If she ever gave me a shot I will get at her. I like Nicki Minaj and she can get it whenever but I don’t fuck with her in person, just on Twitter.

Earlier you said that you are less thuggish now. What inspired you to make that change?

Slim Thug: It’s growing up. I’m 30 so what I look like doing bullshit these young kids do? If I do that I'm dumb. A lot of the shit I was doing was dumb shit. The aggravated robbery that was hood mentality shit. It costs money to pay for the hottest attorney and bail bonds and to put my future on the line. So that makes you grow up. I ain't on that bullshit no more. I'm on that grown man shit. —Souleo