Hive Five: Our Daily Listicle of Musical Musings
“You take the gang culture in Little Rock and you mix that with the art and the musical influence we have from being in-between Texas and Tennessee and above Louisiana and you get something that’s special,” says SL Jones, a rapper who dropped his Trapper’s Delight EP this week in conjunction with Grand Hustle’s DJ MLK. Comprising seven tracks and confidently eschewing the need for guest features, the free download project fuses Jones’s sharp street swagger with feisty and abrasive production from M16. With SL Jones fast becoming the leading new face of his city’s scene, here’s his recommendations for five under-the-radar Little Rock rappers to start adding to your playlist with the quickness.
1. Kari Faux
She’s one of the only females that is rapping and at the same time you wouldn’t put her on the list by default just ’cause she’s a girl. She’s one of the hardest. A lot of people in Little Rock is all-out on the gang-bangin’ and selling dope, but what she does is different and the stories she tells you is something else. [Download Sophisticated Ratchetness via Datpiff.]
2. Errol Westbrook
As far as street n****s go, Errol Westbrook is hella respected: He’s that rapper that nobody in the city has anything bad to say about. He’s from the west side and in his ’hood he’s known for getting money, and it’s a Blood thing, but they wasn’t the type of Bloods always looking for beef or whatever you wanna call it. Westbrook represents that determined hustle in Little Rock and being about his money and keeping it solid. [Download Free Errol Westbrook via Datpiff.]
It’s crazy, ’cause in some ways he’s far left in how creative he is. I remember he did a song, “One Man Band,” where the rap makes sense when you say it forward and backwards. He did a whole record like that. The way his mind thinks is dope. He’s from the south-west. As far as lyricism goes, he’s a real credit to Little Rock. Lyricism isn’t always the first thing people in Little Rock go for — it’s about what you’re about before the lyricism, like how you’re living first and what you’re looking like first and whether you’re about what you’re saying — but if you take away all the street cred and strip it down to the other stuff that makes a rapper interesting, then 607 is dope. [Download YIK3LIF3! here.]
Pepperboy’s one of the realest n****s in the city too. There’s certain individuals in the town that when you say their name it ain’t even about rap — it’s about living street legends. The whole town just knows about them, they face card is so solid. Pepperboy was known for having hella paper; he was always in brand new cars. It’s the same as Errol Westbrook — the name rings bells, they’re on some ’hood superstar shit. When I first heard Pepperboy, my ’hood and his ’hood wasn’t necessarily the same, so I was hearing his story from the other side but I can relate directly to it ’cause his story is just so real. It’s not about how complex it is, it’s about how to the point it is. He’s a great story-teller and you can feel his pain. [Download the P.T.S. mixtape via Soundcloud.]
5. Fresco Grey
He’s one of the newest rapping. He does everything and makes his own beats and directs his own videos, so with him I think it’s all about making up his mind if he wants it. He’s the first [from Little Rock] that has everything about him. He’s from a Blood area — in Little Rock you’re gang related by default, ’cause they’re the people you grew up with and you identify with them even if you’re not a gang banger — but with Fresco there’s really no ceiling. He can make his own [album] cover, make his own beats. If Little Rock has a new scene, it would be him and Kari Faux.