Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Smooth 7

Rap Slanger

This release by Goodlife OG/Mass Men member I Smooth 7 has been making the rounds online for a little while now, but it still remains somewhat of an enigma. From all accounts it came out in '94, a year before his great unreleased debut, Ghetto Life, but I don't know how substantiated that is. The anonymous beats and production sound later than that to me, and the last track, "The Life", was on the '98 Portrait of a Ghetto Raised comp. And perhaps most telling, Smooth 7 calls out the year '96 on the track "A T.H.U.G.'S Story". Beyond that, there is some debate if this is even an official release. The cover, at least, is the same as his '95 single for "Coolin' In Da Ghetto," and some folks online have accused it of being a bootleg.
In any case, for those of us who know how rare Smooth 7 material is, it doesn't really matter. Here are 8 tracks by the man whose career has been hindered by everything from label politics to incarceration, so to have any unheard material, no matter where or when its origin, is like gold in the hand.
Sonically this album is much different from Ghetto Life. The production is spare and underground, rather than the slick g-funk on his previous release, and his voice is a lot less low and growly than what I'm used to hearing. With the unpolished quality of the music, it is possible that this is a collection of demos - although if that's the case, these demos are much more professional-sounding than many underground records out there.
With spiritual salvation and the trials of ghetto living as the central themes to this collection, Smooth revisits a lot of the material from Ghetto Life, but without the militant edge that was ever-present on that record, making this sound like a more mature effort from this artist. I personally think it's a dope release, official or otherwise. Thanks go to whomever originally put this up on the web (not me).
T.H.U.G. Poetry

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