Get familiar with the name SL Jones. Creeping out of Little Rock, Arkansas—later moving to Atlanta—the longtime protégé of Killer Mike has his eyes set on carving out a name for himself in a game that’s become more emo than street. Fresh off the success of his Don Cannon-hosted The Number 23, Jonesy is back with the brash, in-your-face Flight Risk.
Things kick off on the rattling intro “23rd Hour.” Producer Honorable C.N.O.T.E. lays the perfect backdrop for SL to coo his bravado while flaunting his flag color, “Jonesy! Ain’t shit changed but the weather/Everything blue with the fam, we stuck together…I want this shit forever, for better or worse/When you from the ghetto being gifted is a curse,” he spits.
After proving he’s indeed cursed with gifts, the young rapper rides clean on “Actin Bad,” a track that captures a gritty feel mixed with Southern flair. “The code of silence is golden, I don’t say squat to the cops/I keep prescriptions on deck in case your doctor forgot,” he delivers. The blaring production on the track allows SL to spill his confidence and keep it G, continuing, “I ain’t got no Grammys for my mammy or no Oscars for my pops/But I got real gangsters in my family and no imposters on my block.”
From the tranquilizing “Wild Side” to the titillating, “Gas Station” and anthemic “One Phone Call,” Jones proves his versatility on Flight Risk while showing some progression. There’s still room for improvement with a few underwhelming tracks ( “Spaz” and “F.B.I.”), but the tape is another dosage of quality material from SL. Streets approved, no questions. —Ralph Bristout