Fact editor-in-chief Al Horner on SL’s Tropical
Croydon teenager SL had a grassroots hit last March with Gentleman - a dark, 808-splashed funeral procession of a track whose video has amassed nearly 14 million YouTube views to date.
The MC took his time following it up: it wasn’t until Christmas Day that the more polished Tropical dropped, complete with a video so lavish you might mistake it for cutting room floor footage from a Bond movie scene set in the Swedish fjords.
It was well worth the wait: with J Hus-level confidence, the tune is 100% ice cold, full of breezily-delivered lines about balancing a blossoming music career with street life.
“Mish, mash, I’m doing it all,” he brags at the beginning - a boast that could easily be applied to his smart blend of styles - before detailing how success has done little to numb his paranoia that violence still lurks around every corner.
“My mum don’t like how I play with knives/Well I’m real sorry mother, but I won’t have no joke boy take my life/So for now I gotta stay with my other,” he raps.
Full of uncompromising tales of postcode wars and deep, melancholic beats, UK drill - the murky London sceneSL emerged from - has been tipped to follow Afrobeats into the mainstream in 2018.
Only two releases in, SL already sounds like he’s on his way.