In the previous article, there was a discussion about what makes S.L. Jones who he is. Musically, he is an artist that wants to establish his own sound. This drove him to work with DJ Burn One. Carving out their own niche with Paraphernalia, Jones was allowed to open a portal for listeners to walk through. That portal could easily lead to understanding or confusion. Still, it was the street mentality that helped mold this man into the artist that he is now.

This time around, we get to discuss important aspects of his career: the independent hustle, working with Killer Mike, and how he met up with Freddie Gibbs.

The Independent Hustle or Not?

The independent grind may work for some, while others struggle to find their place. With S.L. Jones, he feels that your type of hustle is dependent upon your goals:

“The grind has been hella cool for me because it’s first nature. Nobody never gave me nothing and I don’t ask for nothing. So, it kinda go hand in hand with my mentality. Personally, I’m not anti-deals at all. To me that’s business. What you deserve and what they offer you are two different things. I feel you have to earn everything first off. Once you work hard, all I fell a person deserves is an opportunity. “


For S.L. Jones, it is mainly about making the most of a situation. Being a hustler first, rapper second, it is easy for him to look at major deals as “just business”. Realizing that, at the end of day, money comes first has molded Jones into becoming a smarter business man.


However, he is weary of those that sign major deals for the wrong reasons. To him, many artists sign deals “to look a certain way or to appear to be some way so bad”. Rather, he takes a more sensible approach. To him, if an artist signs a deal, “their life should change. They should be more than a tax write off. You shouldn’t still be doing the same thing”. S.L. only can imagine a deal if it bolsters his bottom line. IN the end, a major deal has to improve his livelihood or it isn’t worth the effort.


The Killer Mike Connection
The story behind his like to Killer Mike is actually a “right place at the right time” situation. S.L. would come out to Atlanta during the summer with his uncle. He freestyled for this guy named Malik at his studio (before S.L.’s true rapping days). With a microphone in a room full of rappers, the rhymes came. Killer heard him via Malik mixing his stuff down at Stankonia Studios. Once he found out who S.L. was, they linked up and started putting in work together.


The magical thing about it is that their relationship was built around respect. Then, it evolved into working together on music and touring. “He took me out on the road with him. We went everywhere! It was like 25 cities. I been around the country twice with him,” noted S.L. as he reminisced on his early days with Grind Time. Yet, he wanted to make sure people understood that Grind Time is not a company; it is a family. Nobody is around by accident. Also, he had to make sure that Killer Mike keeps a loyal team around him. S.L. made sure I understood that “Killer Mike is a business. There are people waking up every morning with Killer Mike on their mind.”


Jonesy and Gangsta Gibbs
What was even more interesting was how he became connected with Freddie Gibbs. From S.L.’s own words, all he did was “connect with him”. He didn’t need to contact a bunch of people to get to Gibbs. Rather, he connected directly with him. After trading music, what we have is the banging track “M.E.M.P.H.I.S.”


What was even more impressive was Gibb’s enthusiasm with the work. First of all, S. L. recognized the references Gibb’s made in his rhymes. Understanding the streets fully, he understood the references made about his Chicago Bulls references and his snapback being to the left. “I got family members that are GD’s. I got a homie that’s a Vice Lord. So, when I heard it, I knew he went it because anybody that know where he from know what he saying,” Jones noted. In laymen’s terms, game recognized game and SL is quite familiar.


At the end of the day, S. L. Jones wants to add some truth to what we call “hip hop music”. Everything may not be positive. He understands that. However, it is the level of genuineness in his rhymes that puts him over the top. Plus, he knows how he wants his music to sound. In summary, S. L. Jones is going to present the truth of the turf.

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