s.a.d. is pure happiness

by personwithexcellenttasteinmusic

Seven days ago, the hip-hop/r&b artist and new dog owner Smino A.K.A. Smeezus A.K.A. Smino Grigio did the impossible-  he provided me with peace of mind in quarantine. Previously, I had thought this could only be done artificially by turning the brain to mush through a number of methods, such as 23344234 gin and tonics (ginger ale is a good sub for the tonic, there is no substitute for the gin), 12 straight hours of Nintendo Switch, or 1 hour of online lecture (each of which is equivalent to the others). Smino has shown me another way- one that keeps the functions of the brain intact- a mix of smile-inducing adlibs, versatile beats, vocals, and samples, and some really fucking good advice. All of this can be found in his new mixtape.

The project, titled She Already Decided, was released late at night on 4/20, while the rest of us were either high as fuck (you) or resenting those who were (me). It is a mixtape in the purest definition of the word. The tape is completely free and is therefore not available through the virtual robber barons of the music industry, also known as streaming services, but on Soundcloud and for download via this website: http://smitransfer.com/http://smitransfer.com/ (this website is so dope and highly recommend exploring, but not yet. Finish reading this first). A note on the site states the following: Smino writes that the S.A.D was made for the fun of it and that each track is unmastered, imperfect, and, to use my own words, rawer than my throat in middle school after my first pack of black and milds, as every mixtape ought to be.

But listening to the first song, titled “Fronto Isley,” you wouldn’t know it. What I mean is- this shit is smooth as fuck. Featuring a sample from the Isley Brothers’ 1975 song “For the Love of You” it opens with Smino singing beautifully in alto, “lifted off the sticky weed,” which is an apt way to describe how this song makes me feel. Smino then gives us all some words to live by: “rap good, smoke good, fuck good, look good, shit good.” If there was a guide on how to quarantine, this would be the preamble. 

These words are repeated over the course of the rest of the song between upbeat, uptempo bars, and silky vocals, which is a glimpse of the range that Smino flaunts all over the project. The song ends on a more serious note with Smino giving these words to listeners, “Whatever you had up your sleeves bruh, make sure you go ahead and unroll them hoes and let these hoes see what the fuck you got going on, cause if you don’t do it, somebody else gonna do it.” I feel this is more important now than ever given that we are all trapped within our minds more than ever before, which in my own experience has made it near impossible to express myself.

For evidence of what Smino is capable of, look no further than the next six tracks. All of these bounce harder than that giant baby (bald toddler) on Twitter. But rather than a grimacing frown each is guaranteed to deliver an ear to ear smile and energy that makes you feel like you can run through walls. Within these six tracks are two more amazing samples, “Chicken Head,” by Project Pat on “Popeyes,” and the infamous “Savage,” by Megan Thee Stallion on “Cabbage.” My only hope is that the latter won’t inspire more shitty Tik-Tok dancers (the good ones can stay, they are good).

Sprinkled in these hard beats and bars are some wise words- including an endorsement by Smino for “Bernie Blunt,” and an explanation of what She Already Decided really means. Smino states that “She” is no particular woman, but “the Mother, Mother Nature.” She already decided how all of this is going to be, so the only things we can worry about are those within our control, examples of which are the weed you smoke, and how much you let others negativity get to you, which I feel go hand in hand. The last song in the already mentioned line of six-track bangers is titled “Mike Jones,” and maybe my favorite track on the entire album. It begins with my favorite ad-lib, the classic “SEE… baby,” and is chock-full of fast-paced high hats. Fuck you if you don’t like high hats. But back to my main point of these last three paragraphs, at the end of the track is a voicemail that calls out Smino for rapping too much and not r&bing enough. The set up is perfect the perfect transition to the next song, “Kotton Kandy,” in which Smino begins to show off his range.

“Kotton Kandy,” like the food it’s named after, is sweet and guaranteed to get your lips wet as fuck as soon as it touches your mouth/ears. Smino’s vocals perfectly complement a strong, slow beat and an amazing feature by Sevyn Streeter. The song is so sensual that listening to it while fucking will improve your stroke by tenfold. It is the perfect boner jam. The rest of the album is exactly like the first half in the sense that it is unique and doesn’t contain a single miss. The next song, “Good Ol Julio” sounds like a joyride in a 70s Chevy impala with the top down on the autobahn highway. It is followed by “Blac Soda,” which is a sample of Baby Keem’s “Orange Soda” and urges listeners to support local businesses and adhere to social distancing with lines like “I still got a weed man not no weed maps,” and “[people] need to be smoking they own weed anyway, don’t pass me shit don’t ask me shit, ya dig?”

The next three songs, “2MuchFronto,” featuring Bari, “Chips & Juice,” and “O’HighO,” will melt your brain but in a good kind of way, like a good Sativa, not like bad LSD. “O’HighO” is another stand out among all-stars for me as I’m not sure I have ever heard another song make smoking weed sound so elegant. After listening to it, I actually thought it would be really hard to follow. It turns out, I was wrong! And I am so happy about it. “Jamie Boxx,” a freestyle over a sample of Roddy Rich’s, “The Box,” is so clever and cohesive that I am convinced it is a freestyle only in the sense that it doesn’t contain a hook or chorus; Otherwise Smino will have made B-Rabbit look like a bumbling idiot. 

The next two tracks are the perfect ending to such a perfectly imperfect mixtape. Track 15, “Year of the Goat,” features a slow boom bat beat allowing Smino to display an incredible control over the English language and cadence. And then there is track 16… The remix to Smino’s song “Klink” off the album NOIR featuring FUCKING T-PAIN. With production that I can only describe as sexy and T-Pain in prime late 2000s form, I am compelled to sing/scream as I did in 2010 when “Buy U a Drank” came on in the club (by the club I mean the middle school dance, of course).
In all seriousness, when I say this album brought me peace of mind, I am not exaggerating for a tagline nor trying to grab your attention. After listening to this album, I could give a fuck about your attention. For me, this mixtape represents the search for levity in a time when at least for me personally, it has never been harder to come by. And for twelve producers, six artists, everyone who worked behind the scenes to bring this project to us for free in the midst of an economic crisis reminds me of the good that still exists. Right now, I am happy and grateful and that is because of S.A.D.

Categories: tunes

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