SL Jones’ forthcoming The Number 23 mixtape is shaping up very nicely. So far, each leak — “Swervin‘” and “Paper Cuts” — has displayed his compelling delivery, which switches from meditative to double-time from one line to the next. Plenty of rappers before him have done this. But Jones’ style is so engaging because it sounds so effortless and he maintains strong lyrical content instead of just rhyming to, well, rhyme. You can hear this, too, on the tape’s latest leak, the Lex Luger-produced “Driveby Music.” Jones and fellow Little Rock, Ark. native Errol Westbrook spit confidently over the surging Luger beat, which usually calls for a slower flow. But the two rappers find their pocket and stay in it.
And as he’s done with the previous leaks, Jones provided some background on the track:
“Every hood in Little Rock has its own slang, and when you’re active on the set everything you wear – the team logo on your fitted cap, the color of your flag, all the way down to the laces in your sneakers – it stands for something. In my hood, for example, the brand K-SWISS was an acronym for ‘Kill Some When I See Some.’ I’ve been affiliated all my life, so when I speak on anything gang related I’m just being honest. I never censor my music but I always choose my words carefully, because it’s important to me that I get my point across no matter the topic. I try to walk that fine line between documenting something and glorifying it, but when you’re an active participant in a lifestyle that has the ability to bring harm – the words are more than just lyrics in a song; they’re a reality for me and so many others. Writing a song of this nature requires hands on experience. I couldn’t just make this shit up. No imagination needed; just a few childhood memories.”
You can stream the track below and download it here. The Number 23 drops May 23. Photo by Shane Nash.