[WATCH] D Smoke Performs 'Black Habits' on NPR's Tiny Desk
just knew this guy would give me exactly what I needed... especially in this current climate. Such a brilliant and conscious artist, D Smoke has really had my heart since winning the Netflix series The Rap Game last year. His elegance and cadence over his own self-written tracks showed me and the world that he is a force to be reckoned with. With the release of his latest album Black Habits, D Smoke has been on a constant rise to fame as fans can see the quality he puts behind his projects.
In lieu of Covid-19, the typical live Tiny Desk we are used to seeing had to turn into a more intimate, quarantine version. As D Smoke performs 4 songs off of the album, his ability to methodically place songs together always catches my ear. (This man knows his arrangements!) But also the fact that each song he picked truly represented some of the hard emotions being dealt with during this time. He gave lyrics based around real feelings of spirituality, past relationships, love within family and inspiration for a better life for yourself. The fact that he also tied it in as a Black experience is what made it all the more comforting; a true Black talent.
Songs like No Commas and Season Pass effectively shows D Smoke's ability to go bar for bar while rhythmically keeping the song a total vibe. Even down to integrating Spanish lyrics, his flow is seamless and distinguished. He's definitely solidifying himself early as a powerhouse in this industry. His song Closer to God is one that I think registers to a lot to our generation in that some may focus heavily on their relationship with God but how that relationship can look different from everybody's perspective. Even through some of the daily struggles, he explains that it is your own sins that get and keep you in the faith:
"I don't know why I get high, maybe I'm trying to get closer to God."
I think the last song he performed is the one that hit the hardest. This was the first time D Smoke has performed Black Habits II so we got to watch the raw emotion in it all. He talks
about how our Black lives can be a symbol for a lot of things, but it all things it is beautiful and it is OURS.
"Run these streets with a Black passion, gotta grind til I wake up in Black mansion"
"Our Black lives are a Black challenge, they just leave us hanging in the Black balance"
During this time, it has been extremely hard for many of us to cope with, grieve with and deal with harsh realities while simultaneously appreciating the beauty of our Black lives. I am so appreciative that an artist with such duality is using his platform in the best way he knows how.
D Smoke, We see you. We hear you. We appreciate you. We support you.
Click the video below for the full NPR Tiny Desk Home Concert!