D Smoke – “War & Wonders” review

D Smoke is a 35 year old MC from Inglewood, California most notable for being the older brother of R&B singer/Top Dawg Entertainment signee SiR. He made his full-length debut in the spring of 2006 with Producer of the Year, but re-emerged in 2019 off his debut EP Inglewood High & then the Grammy nominated sophomore album Black Habits only 4 months later. However after keeping things on the low throughout a bulk of this year, D Smoke is returning in the form of his 3rd album.

The title track is a bouncy opener saying only 1 voice matters in a world between good & evil, but then “Dirty Mercedes” has a bit of a smooth boom bap feel talking about how he got ways to go. “Shame on You” takes a mistier direction going at those who don’t understand his shit leading into the Dem Jointz-produced “Road Rage” thunderously proclaiming the streets as his.

Meanwhile on “Mind My Business”, we have D Smoke going into detail about why he stays in his own lane on top of an laidback instrumental whereas the Tobe Nwigwe-assisted “Find My Way” goes back into boom bap turf looking back on their younger days. Shady Records’ very own Westside Boogie hops on board for the stripped back “Crossover” going at those faking the funk just before “Common Sense” with SiR finds the siblings on top of some jazz shit pondering the price we pay for the titular topic.

“Why Run?” is a rich reminder that life’s what you make it & “Stay True” is a jazz trap fusion about always keeping it real. “Say Go” brings in some Viking-esque horns talking about his homies hydroplaning while “Good Thing” serves as a vibrant banger about positivity coming in many forms.

Fireboy DML pretty much dominates “Sleepwalking” getting romantic with some acoustic while the song “Better Half” is a chipmunk soul-tinged tribute to D Smoke’s lady. The penultimate track “Clockwork” is an R&B-tinged cut about being loved like the world is ending & “Free Write” rounds it out with a funky fresh freestyle.

For those who dug Inglewood High & Black Habits, I think you’re gonna like War & Wonders even more. Sure there are some portions that’re blatantly inspired by Kendrick Lamar, but I dig the whole concept of him detailing what it was like for him growing up in the city of Inglewood.

Score: 3.5/5

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