The Come Up: SL Jones

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On His Rap Name and His Hometown:

SL Jones: “I knew I was doing something right when I heard an argument in a barbershop about me and they didn’t even know who I was because SL Jones is just a rap name that I came up with, not the name I used coming up in the hood. Now, thinking about it, it would be cool to use the name you used in the hood but that name is associated with so much other stuff that I just decided, ‘If I’m gonna rap, it’s going to be someone else.’ It was going to be a name that I came up with for rap, not a name that was known for putting in work or just doing whatever.

“The way Little Rock is, it’s so weird because I didn’t even get attention from my hood. People from my hood know who I am, so they might’ve known on the cool that I was rapping, but they just didn’t expect to hear nothing from it. They’re still dealing with they every day, they ain’t my number-one fan, they ain’t my cheerleader or nothing. For instance, if there’s some dude that’s a Blood and he start rapping, that doesn’t mean that I’ll know who he is because the city is sectioned out by neighborhoods and gangs. If I seen him, it’s gonna be a problem so there’s no reason for us to fuck with each other coming up because it was real. Now it’s different, because SL Jones is on some rap shit. So when they say SL Jones, a rapper from Little Rock, yeah, you’re gonna hear me, but the only way my name would’ve been ringing bells is if I was killing so many of your homeys that it was like, ‘We gotta find this nigga.’ There’s homeys like that in Little Rock that are known for putting in thug shit. Wolfe Street is like the only Crip neighborhood in Little Rock, so there were plenty of places I damn sure wasn’t gonna be. I done been in my neighborhood and got shot at because it’s a straightaway, so if some of my homeys did some dirt and they want to get back, they just know to drive by that gas station, they know some Crips gonna be out there and they just shoot it up and ride out. And this is like, you’re a kid—you’re 12 years old buying some potato chips and all of the sudden, ‘Dum, dum, dum.’ Every time a car drive by in Little Rock, you’re just trained to look up. You react to every car, it’s weird. Like when deer hear leaves ruffle—they’re looking for a lion.”