It’s finally here! I’ve been awaiting this release for the longest time, and I’m elated to finally introduce it to the music world. The Smokey Winston Project is a diverse project that ultimately showcases the different emceeing talents that Charity Clay possesses. This project contains lyricism, literary techniques (her skills as an overall writer), relativity, substance, story-lines, complex rhyme schemes, and overall artistry. I believe one of the most prominent strengths of this project is the fact that Miss Clay is able to occupy the listener’s attention by simply being herself. She speaks to her listeners, via her music, as if they’re present in front of her. This makes the listener feels as if she’s emceeing just for you. She also experiments with different gears of flowing and delivery styles. What I appreciate most about this project is the fact that it fully belongs to her and Smokey Winston, the producer. She has no features on this, and that ultimately forces her to stand on her own two feet as an emcee, which not many are taking the chance to do now-a-days.
1) “Déjà Vu” – Charity’s approach in this song is interesting. Since I’m familiar with Miss Clay’s music already, I find the humor in this song. Charity is known for spitting so many bars. She gets carried away and doesn’t even know how many bars she’s in. She can spit for days. So the chorus in itself is truly something to appreciate because it’s spot on.
2) “Diamond In The Rough” – Earlier this week I posted the video to this joint. This track possesses many elements of Hip Hop that once were highly glorified and now nearly defunct. Its strongest points include story-telling and relativity. As if that weren’t enough on its own, there’s also a heavy bass line in it.
3) “He Who” – This joint is another display of Charity’s story-telling skills, but only the first part. I like how she executed this idea. She had one long story to tell so she split it into three different tracks, all featured on this project.
4) “The Conundrum” – The structure of this song is absolutely striking. The structure itself makes this song easy on the ears. The song, to put it into general terms, is about being in a situation where you feel stuck. Charity’s tone in voice makes this easy on the ears and sets the stage nicely for a serious matter. The structure itself is arranged with a hook and a chorus. This is also a structural technique that’s not executed very often in Hip Hop today.
5) “You Ain’t Gotta Listen” – This track gives the listeners a little insight on Charity’s credentials, as far as being a pen-holder and also her thoughts on emceeing, as a whole. She does this while exhibiting the writing skills she embodies herself.
6) “She Who” – This is part two, and the continuation of, “He Who”. This delves into a new character that wasn’t mentioned in the first part. This does a good job of leaving the listener curious about what these two characters have to do with each other.
7) “Runnin’ Man” – This track is the single off this project, and quite frankly it’s a splendid choice. What I like about this joint is that it brought a different feel to the whole album. For one, it’s the only “love” song on this project, and two it’s extremely unique and creative. The chorus is also somewhat quirky, in a good way.
8 ) “Something Like That” – “It’s sort of like, Marvin Gaye singing over Roy Ayers..” Excuse me, but what an awesome way to begin a verse! This whole song is jam-packed with similes. When I mentioned literary techniques earlier, this is what I was referring to.
9) “Other Side Of The Pillow” – This is my absolute favorite song off this project. It’s probably the one with one of the simplest concepts, but it’s so riveting, catchy, and humorous. Charity successfully describes having a day where everything seems to be going wrong, which we’ve all had, but explains how at the end everything turns out for the best. If you’re having a rough day, or need a little laugh, this is what you should listen to.
10) “They Who” – This is the final portion of the story that extends throughout a total of three parts. This portion ties the characters of the first two songs together and finally gives an ending.
11) “Relax And Listen” – Charity goes into the things one’s exposed to as an upcoming emcee. She does this while putting her literary writing skills to use. She took the title of the song to heart and set the stage with a more mellow flow and delivery on this one.
12) “Ventilation” – This song is mainly about struggling, in general, and pulling through. I also like that Charity, effortlessly, switches back and forth between different types of tones of voice. This is something many don’t take the time to appreciate, which is a shame considering it’s not an easy task to undertake.
13) “Sense Of Accomplishment” – What a way to close her project. In the closing of this project, not only does she prove what I said about the first track and her not counting bars and spitting forever, but she also closes it with personality. There’s a little surprise after the closing of the last track, though. So stay attentive.
Smokey Winston did a remarkable job of creating beats that ended up coexisting with Charity’s artistry, rather than overshadowing her or falling short. I would like to hear another collaborative project from these two in the future.
Although this is a lengthy review, it’s completely worth writing, and truthfully I enjoyed doing so. I suggest you listen also, and I can guarantee you will find yourself agreeing with, if not all of them, majority of my statements. Click below to download and finally listen to the long-anticipated Smokey Winston Project Redux!
Special Shouts to Habeas Corpus for the clean mixing and Alvin The Third for the delightful artwork!