Little Rock, Arkansas, rapper SL Jones and his partner DJ Burn One announced plans for a six-song EP earlier this year. Now, after countless late-night recording sessions, they’ve emerged with a 12-track mixtape for the fans.
The duo released, this week, their latest project, Paraphernalia, which boasts features from Freddie Gibbs, Rittz, and others.
The Little Rock rapper and Atlanta producer both agree the new, free mixtape is their strongest, most cohesive work-to-date.
“Before we started recording, we sat down and talked about the direction of the music. We really established a vibe,” recalls SL. “We didn’t want Paraphernalia to sound like a bunch of thrown together songs; we wanted to give listeners an experience.”
In many ways, Paraphernalia is about bucking industry trends, and about two artists getting together to make a raw, unapologetic collection of music that reflects the music that they enjoy.
Part of that process, they say, was working to make sure that, from start to finish, it was a collaborative effort.
“This is the first time I’ve really been produced as an artist,” says SL, noting that he’s largely pulled from a variety of producers with previous mixtapes. “Instead of email and beat CDs, we got in there — Burn, me, and his band, iNDEED — and created everything from scratch.”
While that collaborative process has paid dividends, Jones also cites a level of personal and artistic progression that has allowed this new tape to really become something special.
“For me, lyrically, I’ve always been able to maneuver on different styles of production, but my presence on the track is really improving,” he explains. “Rather than just trying to kill every beat, I’m matching my presence to the feel of the record — it’s allowed me to get my point across, which is important now more than ever.”
Paraphernalia is available now, for free.
2. “Dope Man”
5. “M.E.M.P.H.I.S.” – ft. Freddie Gibbs
6. “Training Day”
8. “M.D.M.A.” – ft. Rittz & Ebony Love
9. “Hella Trill AF”
10. “Organized Confuzion (Interlude)”
11. “Per Say”
12. “Key Lows”