There’s more to the mask than meets the eye where SL is concerned. At just seventeen, the Peckham-born, Croydon-raised rapper represents a new class borne out of the cross-pollination of genres. From stories of linking girls to chilling with his boys, SL chronicles daily life as a teen growing up in south London. When he raps, it’s evident that south London is in his DNA.
Early in his career, the artist formerly known as Slimz found himself in the pocket of drill, creating music that reflected the lives of both he and his peers. The name change represented a new chapter but also an opportunity to experiment with different sounds. “Since coming off drill, I like to switch it up. I pick the maddest of beats that I know no one else will jump on, and that diversity is why,” SL said in his first interview with The Fader If Giggs is the godfather of the lazy, nonchalant south London rap flow then SL is his descendant.
These days, SL describes his sound as ‘tropical drill’ –– melodic, conversational and tongue-in-cheek. He touches on topics that most seventeen-year-olds can relate to and through his writing, SL gives us a window into a world of UK rap that centres the daily rituals of living in ends.
With each release, SL creates a song as vibrant but sonically-diverse as the last. Premiered by Mixtape Madness in 2017, his most popular song to date “Gentleman” gained 24 million views on YouTube and was released when he was fifteen. 2017’s “Tropical” his breakout song, launched SL’s brand of tropical drill that takes a diversion from the haunting and gritty production the genre is known for. While last year’s “Nothing To Say” and the anthemic “Summertime Santa” showcased the rapper’s penchant for using melodic beats that flirt with the boundaries of R&B.
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