All too often when people think of Little Rock, Arkansas, the first thing that comes to mind is HBO’s award-winning documentary Gang War: Bangin’ in Little Rock. Not any more. With the Rock on his back and a Razorbacks’ fitted cocked just so on his dome, rapper SL Jones is out to prove that Little Rock gangsters can bang in more ways than one.
Born Bryan Jones, SL first turned heads when a verse cut at OutKast’s Stankonia Studios caught the ear of Killer Mike, with the pair eventually touring together and collaborating on mixtapes I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind and Underground Atlanta. Following came the release of SL’s debut mixtape, C.O.L.O.R.S.: Bangin’ On Wax, a project that featured the likes of Clipse, Chamillionaire, Trae Tha Truth, and Big Kuntry, in addition to fellow Grind Time members Killer Mike and Pill.
It wasn’t long after, though, that SL knew he had to strike out on his own, and beginning in 2011 he did just that, starting with the release of The Number 23. Hosted by Don Cannon, features on the mixtape included Pill, Trae Tha Truth, Waka Flocka Flame, and Yo Gotti, while Lex Luger, Don Cannon, Shawty Redd, M16, and more handle production. Closing out 2011, SL Jones released his Flight Risk mixtape, Jones’ most personal, most aggressive work-to-date, a project through-and-through influenced by SL’s childhood neighborhood, 23rd & Wolfe Street, with production from Lex Luger, Shawty Redd, and more.
The two mixtapes garnered strong reviews from XXL Magazine and Atlanta’s leading alternative weekly, Creative Loafing, and earned the young gunner well-deserved accolades from FADER, Complex, The Source, HipHopDX, The Smoking Section, Nah Right, RCRD LBL, Dirty Glove Bastard, and more, including a sit down with MTV News’ Mixtape Daily and a nationally televised “On Deck” feature with MTV2’s Sucker Free.
Now, as one of hip-hop’s brightest young talents, the Little Rock rhyme slinger has his eyes firmly on the future, with a new album, Paraphernalia, produced entirely by lauded Atlanta producer DJ Burn One, on the way as he continues to show and prove his way through the industry and into fans’ playlists. "I just want people to listen,” says SL Jones, “and they'll respect it for what it is.--quality music."