Since his mid-teens, Croydon’s SL has been a force to be reckoned with in the UK game. With a steady stream of releases since 2017, the now 18-year-old continues to grow and flex his talents. His masked persona adding a level of intrigue to an already-unmissable new talent.
Even Kenny Beats, the game’s most in-demand producer, has taken notice and throughout ‘Selhurst SE25’, the pair create an intriguing transatlantic take on drill. And even on the one track Kenny Beats doesn’t produce (‘Hit The Block’ featuring Coventry hero Pa Salieu), SL shows off the undeniable dexterity that has got people talking.
Mainly, it’s all about the banging ‘Little Bird’. Relentlessly teased by Kenny on his Instagram for months, every British fan has been pestering for the single. Putting SL’ laid-back, spoken delivery in the spotlight, the rapper’s imaginative metaphors about his reckless lifestyle makes him the hood’s poet: “Talk tough, then I’m aimin’ at your mandible / You got loud grub then I’ma eat it like a cannibal”. Over the blaring sirens and zooming melodies, ‘Little Bird’ doesn’t necessarily have the same spark as your usual SL single, but an intriguing one nonetheless.
One that works even better is ‘Bad Luck’. Taking on a more US trap style instrumental, SL attacks this beat with due diligence. Using his textbook rhyming scheme and tongue-in-cheek barbs (“Take man’s land, call it colonisation”) his careless cadence makes ‘Bad Luck’ a jumpy, excitable vibe for any rebel out there.
For the true drill lovers out there, ‘Leave Me Alone’ is a glimpse of the genre’s future. The experimental sound Kenny is praised for blended with that grimacing darkness of UK drill creates a ludicrous sound no one other than Kenny would think of. Then get one of the UK’s most exciting, imaginative rappers to conjure up once again vivid stories of his and it’s almost certainly the best drill track of the year.
Mixing the lustrous, skippy hi-hats of the UK with Kenny’s signature 808s, the bassier and more trap-like sound is nothing the seasoned drill star can’t deal with. Selhurst may be his home, but top of the drill game is SL’s final destination.
- Release date: July 3
- Record label: Mic Cheque Limited