D Smoke blew away the competition with his performance of The Last Supper during the Rhythm and Flow final, which recently dropped to Netflix (October 23rd).
The rapper's winning beat was co-produced with Sounwave, the producer who is responsible for some of Kendrick Lamar's biggest hits. Unfortunately, however, it's these cross-over Kendrick sounds that hinder his debut album, which dropped two days later to cash-in on fame.
A thirst for replicating tried and tested winning formulas overshadow the originality that we were all hoping for. D Smoke's debut album left us excited and eager for more, but that doesn't take away from an underwhelming debut.
Review: D Smoke: Inglewood High
Everything D Smoke boasts in talent is unfortunately marred by an overwhelming desire to sound like Kendrick in debut album Inglewood High.
Replace 'Inglewood' for Compton in various songs of the seven-track album and it'd be difficult to differentiate the two California rappers.
After all, 11 miles of concrete jungle is all that separates the two cities. Unfortunately, the gulf in talent that separates Kendrick and D Smoke talent is far greater.
Sure, D's ability to have fans comparing him to Kendrick was enough to win Rhythm and Flow, but sounding like someone else isn't going to earn him merit in the music industry.
Fans of the Netflix hip-hop competition will be disappointed when they realise none of D's songs that featured on the show make it to the album. Likewise, a lack of big-name guests will also fail to push Inglewood High into the noses of those unfamiliar with the series, something you may be surprised to hear given the fact that the Rhythm and Flow judges panel featured Chance the Rapper, Cardi B, and T.I.
Inglewood High - 3/5
In terms of talent, you'd hope that D Smoke's music career turns to be more than a 15-minute shot at fame, because his debut album is a clear indication of the promise his vocals pack.
Musically, standout tracks such as Inglewood High, On Paper and Ain't You are enough to please any Spotify user flicking across chill-out hip-hop radio stations.
Inglewood High's unoriginality and Kendrick-clone moments fails to provide the sound of a fresh and energetic newcomer who is charging straight out of the bocks to make an impact on the music scene.
3/5 - fizzling without fire
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