The Come Up: SL Jones

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On His Influences and His Creative Mobility:

SL Jones: “I know I’m hard-headed and I want to do it my way and I don’t really give a fuck. Artists, it’s your job to push the line and be creative, even with street shit. I understand that the longer it takes for people to get me, it could hurt me. But where I am, I’ve still got a lot of time so there ain’t no pressure like, ‘Oh, man—I gotta hurry up and get out.’ I feel like it’s inevitable that eventually people will get it. I just love dope shit. If I hear something hard, I just be wanted to kill it. When I started rapping, what I grew up on was so different that it gave me an advantage. I would wake up to screw. My older brothers’ from Texas, so I would hear nothing but screw. Like, I only heard ‘Ridin’ Dirty’ screwed, I didn’t hear it regular pace until I grew up and could get it myself. I’m talkin’ bout, they would play Jodeci screwed or Blackstreet screwed. R. Kelly—everything was screwed. And then you’ve got Triple 6. We hella close to Memphis, so the stuff that I heard as a fan was different versus when I got my own music and when I heard rappers from the East Coast do it, then I got up on the legends: Biggie, Hov, listening to how technical they were. We had technical rappers, but it was like Bun B—that’s where I got my technical stuff. But for the most part, the south was about that feeling. So it was a cool mixture. Killer [Mike] used to always be like, ‘Man—you this good and you’ve never heard Big Daddy Kane?’ Because Killer is just a hip-hop connoisseur, so he’s into everything. He’s not one sided. He just like to know everything. It’s not even about his opinion whether it’s dope or not, he just likes to be aware of music. That’s a jewel he gave me: ‘Just listen to everything.’”