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  • Writer's pictureMalcolm Williams

Don’t Sleep S2A1: Black Habits

I‘M BAAAAAAAAAACCCCKKKKKK!!!! I know it’s been a long time since a brand new Don’t Sleep article dropped but in the eight months away I was working on my craft as an artist myself and two mixtapes were released in that time span. The second project InterCity Dreamer was created the way it is was mostly because of how inspired I was after listening to D Smoke‘s Black Habits Album. How often does an artist win a music competition show and actually deliver a quality body of work? How often does someone get on TV and hold themselves to the integrity they were taught to maintain? Not often. It’s quite rare when you think about. I watched D Smoke win a competition show with grace and integrity. That same grace and integrity flowed through Black Habits like the blood in veins. I wanna speak on Morning Prayer really quickly. What an amazing way to set the tone of an album. I remember going to work early as a bitch and turning on this album the first day of release and hearing the affirmation their mother had them do before leaving the house for school, the prayer, little mans saying “sock him in the face“ when momma asks what they should do if someone tries them. I just smiled because it let me know immediately where those values I‘d seen on Rhythm & Flow came from. It let me know exactly what type of PERSON Smoke was and how that happened. So when I hear the music there’s a different level of thinking, a different set of eyes I’m observing with. I wanna skip right to Top of the Morning. To start a song with “Don’t get it fucked up, it’s love in here” is the hardest sheesh ever to me. To me it’s like we can be on some bullshit but we prefer to show love and build up the people around us. When I hear that song it resonates because that’s literally me. I’m go when it’s time to be on that but normally it’s all love and growth. That Sax be having a nigga going crazy too. Then that transition into Sunkissed Child is muy bien. That song is such a warm and necessary record. Jill Scott brought a texture and warmth to that hook that I don’t believe anyone else could ever do. She has so much motherly energy and warmth in her vocals that it just feels like she’s wrapping her arms around you and really making the booboos go away. There’s this song Free and it’s hard for me to explain what that song does to me when I here it. This is the song that literally forced me to shift the way I was creating Intercity Dreamer. The way he managed to paint the picture on how systemic racism creates a detrimental cycle in a community in the first verses story arc captivated me. Then that story of a B&E going wrong was like every day life where we are from. He’s casually telling these stories of what we are experiencing in like 8 bar verses but there‘s so much imagery in them. Like the last verse of Bro finding out he has cancer. I’ve seen that type of thing firsthand so it just resonated with me. You see someone full of life then BOOM everything flips on its head. I really made it my business to create stories on my second outing because of this song. There’s so much I could say about this album there’s so much depth. And I definitely will soon. Let me talk to y’all about Black Habits I & ll. I’m having a hard time thinking of the words to describe how much I’m inspired by the way he was able to carry a singular feeling between two songs with so much space between them in the track list, that also have two very different tones. Black Habits l is this upbeat busy song, while ll is this slow and chill viby record but the messages are aligned. I think it’s better if y’all experience it then me giving it all away but D Smoke was able to create one song for two different type of shows.

It’s been so long since I’ve written a Don’t Sleep Article so it was important for me to jump Season 2 off with the album I have as the best album of the year so far. The storytelling across the entire project is impeccable and I think that a lot of fans and artists should study what was done on Black Habits. D Smoke became one of my favorite artists from the moment between him and Snoop, it doesn’t seem like that’s gonna change anytime soon. My first time seeing him there was an air about him, integrity and grace emitted from his aura and now we get hear what that sounds like across an entire album. To say I’m pleased with Black Habits is an understatement. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Maaaaan I’m baaaaaaack. I want to thank D Smoke for being a model of excellence and integrity for guys who were looking for example for someone coming on the scene nowadays without all the shenanigans. I respect everything going on with the movement being created on that side. As a fan and artist I needed Black Habits and I thank you for the inspiration.

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