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All the Smoke
Jojo Montgomery
Friday, February 28, 2020

     After the great success of winning “Rhythm & Flow” and releasing his first official EP “Inglewood High” last year, D Smoke released his debut album “Black Habits” on Feb. 7.

     “Black Habits” features the voices and talents of his family members, talented artists and the legend himself, Snoop Dogg. Specifically, the artists on his tracks include his family members SiR and Davion Farris and multiple established-artists such as Ari Lennox, Jill Scott, Jackie Gouche and Iguocho. D Smoke does not slow down from his EP, representing Inglewood above all else, but also starting to touch deeper into the civil problems in his community as well as America today. 

     Throughout “Black Habits,” D Smoke hits controversial and black empowering topics stronger. In “Bullies,” he talks about a boy growing up in Inglewood who grew up bullying everyone. In the end, the song reveals a conversation about Bully, the guy that even the Pirus and the Crips did not want to deal with, and the life Bully had led resulted in his death. However, even while talking about serious topics such as these, D Smoke manages to express it in a way that is not too explicit or uncomfortably specific, but instead in a more teaching and awareness type of way. Furthermore, in “No Commas,” D Smoke hits the topic of injustice against the black community, specifically, the hidden Jim Crow laws that still remain to this day. In the song, he says, “This ain't rocket science, here, let me simplify. We think we owners, but we only renters, why? The system ain't broke, it's designed to keep us declinin’.”

     Despite the album being labeled hip-hop and rap, it features a lot of different sounds and vibes, ranging from gospel to R&B to jazz. While all of his beats are usually slower, in ”Gaspar Yanga” featuring Snoop Dogg, he does not necessarily speed it up, but he adds urgency to the beat. He even adds a Hispanic choir on the track, emphasizing his Inglewood roots that has a rich Hispanic population and cultural influence. He shows that his music can be for everyone, throwing in some songs and pieces that are more jazz-like, soulful or R&B and adding Spanish verses that he raps himself. 

     While “Inglewood High” is a tribute to where he came from, “Black Habits” is a tribute to how D Smoke grew up and his biggest influences growing up. It touches the most sensitive topics as well, peeling away the stereotypical of a black teenager growing up with a father in jail. In “Fly,” featuring his brother, Davion Farris, he adds on a conversation between his mom and dad when his dad was locked up. It tells about the doubt between his brothers that their father would never come home. At the end of the album, he wraps up the topic of his father in the songs “Free” and “Like My Daddy.” In these songs, he adds the moment when his father was announced released from his sentence and a speech his father had to thank his wife for not replacing him and keeping her faith in him while he was locked up. 

     Overall, “Black Habits” receives 10 out of 10 stars. This sixteen-song long album earned a 98 percent approval rate by Google Users and can be streamed on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play and Deezer.