Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Arkansas rap's best hope?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 3:50 PM

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

Jones with Killer Mike.

After taking most of last year off, it's time to play Rock Candy's favorite guessing game: Who's gonna be the first Arkansan to break through to the national rap game? Excluding South Carolina and West Virginia, we're the last Southern state without name talent making waves nationally. Hell, no one from here's even doing much regionally.

But that might all be about to change. S.L. Jones, the Little Rock born MC who moved to Atlanta back in 2000, appears to be a few key moves away. Since 2002, he's been affiliated with Killer Mike, who's huge in real hip-hop corners of the web and beyond, but who's still perhaps most broadly known as an Outkast affiliate ("The Whole World"). There've been all kinds of collaborations — lately on Killer's "I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind" albums — and last year, Jones put out an album, "C.O.L.O.R.S" that he says has been doing well online. (I wrote a little about it a while back; 607 and E-Dubb appear; you can download it on MySpace and iTunes.)

Over the phone from Atlanta, Jones reports that Killer Mike's putting the finishing touches on a compilation called "Underground Atlanta" that's due in March. Jones says he's slated to appear on about half of those tracks. Also, Killer Mike recently signed to T.I.'s Grand Hustle label in an arrangement similar to the one Roc-A-Fella had with State Property and Dipset: His Grindtime crew will now be under the Grand Hustle umbrella. Which means that S.L. Jones is likely to get some high profile spots in the near future.

In the meantime, he's ghostwriting hooks like crazy, working on a mixtape, due out this summer, and putting work in on another album, which he's planning on calling "Bandana Republic."

Even though he hasn't been back to Little Rock in a while, he's still repping for Arkansas. Ozone just featured him in they're "Impatiently Waiting" feature ('cept they listed him from Little Rock, AK), and he says as he plots his own path, he's looking for songs for his favorite Little Rock rappers, 607 and E-Dubb, too.
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