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SL Jones: The Number 23

MADE Entertainment

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From Killer Mike to T.I. to Young Dro, the best local rappers take venomous delight in language. SL Jones fits comfortably in this tradition. He's smart and a little bit flashy, with a slow-crawling monotone flow that sounds most at ease over the kinetic, synthetic beats of his new mixtape, The Number 23. On "Trapped Out," he plays a docile foil to the more animated Yo Gotti and Waka Flocka Flame, deadpanning marvel-smooth couplets while those two grovel and yell. Internet hit "Swervin'" sounds like a direct homage to the Texas rap producers of the mid-1990s; it's as woozy and disjointing as a sizzurp high. Many tracks ("2 23," "Grind-100-Hustler") sustain a similarly leisurely tempo, while others, like the Lex Luger-helmed "Driveby Music," ride waves of chafing 808s and synthesizers. Regardless, The Number 23 is very capably produced, bringing SL's universal appeal and linguistic flair into sharp focus. (4 out of 5 stars)

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