smxkeDoji – Keep Smoking (Album Review)

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    smxkeDoji – Keep Smoking (Album Review)
    Published: May 20, 2023

    This month has been full of #GxldApproved releases and shows and we are barely at the half way point. Joining the rotation is smxkeDoji with the drop of his debut album Keep Smoking. Self-produced with the exception of a few guest production appearances from Ben Beam and Matt Graham, this album has solid production value, great artist features, and a versatile blend of so many different sounds and energies.

    SmxkeDoji recently threw an album release party at JohnKing Bar & Grill in Downtown Charleston and featured performances from some of the artists featured on the album. Nu, Aidey, Rckbottom, and myself helped celebrate the support and success of the album and gave quick, crowd-moving, presentations of our collaboration with the man of the hour, SmxkeDoji. So many different, yet familiar faces in the Charleston scene were in attendance, showing yet another example of the strong level of community that is harboring in Charleston hip-hop.

    4/20 friendly, with a dash of profound snazzy hip-hop tunes, shaped around a vision of handpicked artists with a plethora of sounds. A great direction for a first album. “The Introduction” is a solid example of what you’ll get out of the rest of the album: odes to Mary Jane, catchy hooks and melodies, lo-fi chillwaves, and potent songwriting.

    Brandishing a classic snippet from the blaxploitation film “The Mack”, Smxke Doji kicks off Keep Smoking with the playalistic sounds of “Goldfingaz” feat DoloBoi. SmxkeDoji hosts this track as the producer, but DoloBoi spits his verse true to the theme of the project,he dips in and out of the troughs of this Smxke Doji production with a nice 16 bar verse.

    Continuing ‘the Mack’ inspired dishes from this feast of sound, is “Superfly” feat Aidey and Rckbottom, two up and coming emcees in the underground hip-hop scene. This song put me in the mind of classic Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, 2010 summertime vibes; with the bright, funky production and easy-going, bouncy lyrics from SmxkeDoji and company. I love the use of sampling and blends that Doji continues to dabble in, throughout the album.

    “Righteous Mind” feat Nu, with instrumentation by Ben Beam, brings in a rowdy, punchy, conscious, track to the mix. With sharp delivery and the essence of New York in his cadence, Nu ‘righteously’ adds an impressive exhibition to Keep Smoking. “Life is hittin hard/and don’t know how to cope/it had you hittin hard/blackin’ out on the floor/got me thinking back, knowing the things I know/I would’ve did mo’/wasn’t how it’s supposed to go/ from destiny, I gotta write out/ my own story, hope it aligns-with this spliff you got for me”.

    Doji casually slides back into the session with “Stay Blazed” and “Highrise”. Drifting back into the aerial, float of the 4/20, slow boom-bap sounds, you can definitely take your favorite herbal mixture, relax your mind, and get lifted with these feel good nostalgic vibes. As the album pushes, the groove turns down a tempo but keeps the true to its lyric driven core.

    I was blessed to be able to add my own contribution to the album over a SmxkeDoji production with “Papers”. Draping a smooth rendition of Erykah Badu’s “Didn’t Cha Know” over the hook, I aimed to keep concept in mind, all the while adding my own elemental flavor to the project with a healthy mix of lyricism, melody, and substance. Hope y’all dig it!

    Keep Smoking ends on a ‘high note’, closing out with “Faded in the Sun” and “Off the Coast” feat BluFlame James, who just released an album of his own entitled <em>Digital Danger </em>. An upbeat, pre-farewell as SmxkeDoji shouts out the homies and basks in the support and feelings surrounding his continuous journey as producer, songwriter, performer, and overall creator.

    Being that this is SmxkeDoji’s debut album as a rap artist, I was highly impressed. The amount of collaboration and communal support behind Keep Smoking is a testament to the growing renaissance in Charleston hip-hop. Tap in below and check out SmxkeDoji’s #GxldAppproved album below!

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