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The term multi-hyphenate is thrown about casually these days, but Brooklyn-bred rapper, actor, screenwriter, producer, and television and film director Slick Naim embodies the true meaning of the phrase. Naim describes the artistic union of music and filmmaking that exists in his ever-churning brain as two parts of a whole. "Music is the wife, and film is the husband," says the native New Yorker. "They're in holy matrimony together."

The connection between his love of music and visual storytelling also started early. "I would watch movies and research the songs from the soundtracks," he remembers. "When I'd find the song, I would visualize my own scene which would be different from what I saw in the movie." That ability to conjure up imagery informed Slick's approach to songwriting and, eventually, screenwriting. With him spending his formative years in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and his mom and dad living in Manhattan and Queens, respectively, Naim spent a lot of time on the train listening to music. Initially writing his own verses to popular songs, Slick eventually began creating original music and videos.

Slick received a batch of new beats from a producer around 2011, "The beats all told stories to me," he recalls. "I started writing to those and thought, 'There's a story here where I can narratively tie all these together.'"

The story became an album and a feature film entitled Full Circle, released in 2013. Writing his first script was daunting, but making the movie for less than $20K seemed impossible. Naim funded the entire endeavor with small donations from mom-and-pop shops in Bushwick, along with online donations, staffed the crew with local film students, starred in the film and cast the rest of the parts with a mix of friends and Hollywood actors (including Rob Morgan of Marvel fame), did his own stunts, handled catering, contracts, and insurance- all on less than 4 hours of sleep each day. "That was essentially my film school. That's how I learned to put it together," says the musician and filmmaker.

He never stopped creating music, but Full Circle opened numerous doors for Naim to become a successful Hollywood director. He followed up his first feature with the award-winning short Stanhope, which led to a job as a second unit director for the Baz Luhrmann Netflix series The Get Down. From there, he directed shows like Power, Snowfall, The Blacklist, Animal Kingdom, Equalizer, Black Mafia Family, the Peabody Award-winning comedy-drama Mo, and directed and starred in his own Netflix comedy It's Bruno, which received an Emmy nomination. His work on Mo caught the eye of film legend Steven Spielberg, who admired Naim's work and brought him to write on a project still in development.
But even with all of the success in film and television, Naim remains committed to his music.
He's released five albums total, three in the past few years, and his wellspring of creativity is not close to running out. Naim turned a budding career as a rapper into a thriving career writing and directing TV and film. Now, he's working toward becoming just as well known for his music. If that seems improbable, just remember that bringing stories back full circle is kind of Slick Naim's thing.


​Slick Naim

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