Happy Veteran’s Day to all of the heroes that have sacrificed with valiant effort to defend and protect the freedoms of our country. Growing up surrounded by the men and women who have dedicated their lives to service is a constant reminder that every day we walk among unsung heroes. Every once in a while, it is nice to know that you are appreciated and that your work is not in vain. Many people fail to realize what it takes to serve, the many things that have to be given up, the simplest of things civilians take for granted. Few can truly understand what it is like to walk in such shoes day after day and even fewer are brave enough to go forth into worlds unknown, leaving behind the comfort of loved ones to embark on adventures that eventually turn into stories of heroism and bravery etched in time. Thank you America’s servicemen and women for all that you do, you are loved and most appreciated.
L.A. Colors Bold Color Lash Mascara Plus Eyeliner Double the Fun
Don’t get me wrong, I am a total makeup fanatic who loves to splurge but let’s keep it real, this girl is definitely on a budget. Launching your own business isn’t cheap and sadly neither is keeping up the high maintenance activities of nail manicures, extensions, and trendy shopping. With my busy schedule, and juggling a handful of wonderful clients, girl, ain’t nobody got time for all that, seriously.
Now, I’m not going to say that coppin’makeup from the Dollar Store is at the top of my to do list but, if they do happen to have some of the good stuff, and they often do, I will snag what I can just to keep up stock. On a recent trip to pick up some art supplies I swung by the cosmetics aisle and was enamored with the collection of nail polish and mascara available. L.A. Colors, I must say has some pretty good polish but I had never tried any of their makeup items. I found a couple double-packs of Bold Lash Mascara and Eyeliner in Jet Black and Ultra Violet that I could not pass up. For about $2 for each pack, the price could not be beat. I figured if the nail polish works decent, the mascara should too. Usually, I do not deviate from my Maybelline XXL but hey, why not live dangerously (hoping I do not get a dreaded pink-eye). In all honesty, these things can happen.
So far I have tried both the Jet Black and Ultra Violet Mascara and coordinating eyeliners, and I am pretty happy with the results. The Mascara went on smooth without irritating my eyes. It did not clump and enhanced my lengthy lashes well. I have worn both Mascara products with and without the liner and I must say without the liner is great for a simple daytime look. The eyeliner, gives a nice edge. I also blended the Jet Black Liner and Ultra Violet Liner to create a contrasting cat-eye which looked pretty cool (look for pics on Instagram).
The products are relatively small, compact and perfect for tossing in your purse for a quick fix or taking on a weekend trip in which you prefer not to lug your entire kit. The pigment in the Jet Black Liner and Mascara is great as well as the pigment on the Ultra Violet Liner. As far as the Ultra Violet Mascara goes, I would like to have seen a brighter hue to make the lashes really pop with that purplelicious goodness but, otherwise not a bad find for 2 bucks.
Check back to find out what makeup products I discover next!
NYX HD Finishing Powder High Definition Makeup
Hiding dark circles is a project all by itself. For all the girls out there who have dark circles for one reason or another, know that you are not alone. In an effort to avoid the caked-on appearance of heavy concealers, I decided it might be time to try out a lighter powder. I found the NYX HD Finishing Powder at ULTA and decided to give it a whirl. The price was great so I figured if it didn’t work well, no biggie. The trend seems to be High Definition and translucent which almost seems like a juxtaposition however, I have found some success in using some other defining products in the past such as the Revlon Photo Ready Powder. I opted for the NYX HD Finishing Powder to focus specifically around my under-eye area where my circles tend to be the most pronounced.
The NYX HD Finishing Powder is a light, translucent powder that effectively reduces the appearance of lines and pores on the skin. The powder is available in three shades including: Banana, Mint Green, and Translucent. I selected Banana as my powder of choice and immediately got to work on my dark circles.
The powder really is lightweight but it does have a matte finish. In order for dark circles to appear less noticeable, I have found that there needs to be some illumination happening. Though the finishing powder did have a flat, dull appearance, it went on smooth and did not weigh down my skin or clog up my pores. I would compare the product to dusting a light layer of baby powder on your face. If the matte look is not something you are going for you, you can always brighten it up with some shimmer powder. The matte finish however, does reduce the appearance of fine lines around on the face to give a softer appearance.
I would definitely recommend this finishing powder for anyone looking to soften those tiny smile lines around the mouth but, for combating dark circles, definitely go for some added glitter, shimmer, and shine.
Urban Decay Naked Illuminated Shimmering Powder Gorgeous Glow-Flawless Finish
On my latest trip to ULTA, I picked up a few goodies to get my skin ready for fall. One of the sweetest finds that I came across was the Urban Decay Naked Illuminated Shimmering Powder. I knew instantly that I needed to try this powder because I had been wanting to illuminate some areas on my face that had fallen victim to summer breakouts and subsequent scarring. I have no problem using bronzer year-round. In fact, I encourage it. The problem with most bronzers however is that they are poorly made. All too often I find myself disappointed in how pasty or overly pigmented bronzers seem to appear. The Illuminated Shimmering Powder by Urban Decay is lightweight and made for use on the face or body.
There are 3 options available for Illuminated and they are: Aura, Lit, and Luminous. I selected Lit because it was closest to my complexion. With so many different undertones, it can be hard to locate the right powder throughout the year. The product is packaged in a shimmery box with rose-gold design, metallic lettering, and includes a mirror and applicator brush. There is plenty of powdered packed into the 0.2 oz box so I imagine that it will last for quite some time unless you are like me and use it every single day.
Illuminated goes on smooth without leaving a caked on residue. After a light application, I noticed that my skin took on a healthy, natural-looking glow. I use the powder on top of my blush to give it a nice sun-kissed look. This is hands down the best illuminating powder I have used and I would highly recommend it as a must have makeup staple. I may be tossing out several bum-bronzers that I have picked up along the way if not re-purposing them for other color-combo projects.
Want to find out about what other products the girls over at Glitter & Stilettos use to keep it glitz? Subscribe to the blog to get the latest.
Who is Rebecca Berman New Talk Show The Cooler
But who is Rebecca Berman? Well, here is a little tidbit on this budding star…
After graduating with a degree in Communications from American University, Rebecca worked as a production assistant. Cocktail, Arthur on the Rocks and Masquerade are just of the movies she worked on. Rebecca spent most of her post graduation time at MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon. She helped produce elaborate events such as the VMAs, Movie Awards and the after parties for the VH1 Awards. She also worked behind the scenes to plan the launch party for MTV Asia.
After seven years in the entertainment industry, Rebecca decided to slow it down and raise her family. She began a career as a Real Estate agent; where she is still currently thriving in the tri state area.
Her temporary hiatus from the entertainment field did not last. Utilizing her creative personality and production skills, Rebecca landed a local job as a lifestyle reporter on a weekly news show The Local Live. She has reported stories on diverse topics ranging from local restaurants and bars to waste management and Veterans. With Veteran’s Day coming, watch this incredible, award nominated video:
Her new talk show, The Cooler, is a fun, upbeat spin on your regular talk show. She has celebrities, pro sports players and chefs on the show. You never know what will come out of the cooler. She has appeared on CBS’s The Better Show, Bronx Net TV and has been featured in the famous LOHUD paper. There will be so much more to read about this beautiful lady.
Along the way, Rebecca was introduced to veteran comedian Stacey Prussman. The chemistry between them both was unimaginable. The chemistry and character of these two women was such a hit, they decided to launch a new podcast together. It has been an instant success.
Here is the first episode of the Berman-Prussman Prussman-Berman Show. Special guest is Dion Flynn, who has appeared on Jimmy Fallon over 60 times. He is highly known as Obama on NBC television.
To keep up to date with Rebecca, her recent celebrity interviews, The Cooler and the new podcast, follow her at the following links:
With Motown Gold your night of celebration is just getting started. This split led group of both female and male vocalists is sure to make your family and friends and any other well-wishers feel like they’re the bell of the ball. As a wedding gift to your loved ones a night of partying with one of the best bands in the business will make this an evening not soon to be forgotten. Earcandy.co.uk painstaking three-tiered audition process is in full force with this act as the crème de la crème rises to the top with chart topping hits sure to inspire, engage, and excited all who attend. The five-piece standard set kicks things off in a major way, but Motown Gold doesn’t stop there. This fully customizable band tops out at a massive ten-piece ensemble with three vocalist, guitar, bass, three brass section players, drums and a sound engineer assuring this colossal orchestration is fully lit and sound checked to garner the best night possible.
Need something in between?
Motown Gold can accommodate any desire. The list of available tunes Motown Gold can preform at a moments notice has everything a couple sharing their first full day together as a complete unit can request. If Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye, The Four Topps, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, The Contours, and Ray Charles are your speed then toss that bouquet off to the next in line and line up on the dance floor where all the real action is happening. This is the most fun a couple can have with their clothes on and there is no better way to express your love than with the ultimate in sing-a-longs. You Can’t Hurry Love, Build Me Up Buttercup, and Baby Love are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding that perfect song for the first dance and the list goes on as you party down to until your feet hurt.
As multi-layered as that double, triple dark chocolate truffle cake, the icing of the night, other than the exchange of vows, is sure to be a band that vows to top the night off with memories that will last a lifetime. Contact earcandy today to book this one of a kind act and let the band take care of the rest. You went to all the trouble of inviting guests, picking out the right dress, the right decorations, the right venue, and you’re ready to spend the rest of your life with the right person, now continue in that tradition with the right send off.
Connect with Motown Gold!
EsZ New Release MIA NIA (Missing in Action, Name is Anonymous) Navigates Complexities of Lost Love EsZ MIA NIA Remembers When…
EsZ returns to the scene with another reminiscent track titled “MIA NIA”. While the title conjures images of a gorgeous girl from around the way, EsZ makes a subtle play on words as the acronyms stand for Missing In Action, Name Is Anonymous. Leave it to a true visual artist to design even the title of his release in such a way that it not only conveys an embedded message but also leaves listeners guessing. Getting back to the business at hand, “MIA NIA” is smooth mix that you will want to add to your playlist. If in a fleeting moment you find yourself longing for your ex-bae, the one that got away, or maybe the one whose name you just can’t seem to remember, “MIA NIA” will tug on your heartstrings if you so happen to have any left. Heartbreak is a bitch and love sometimes sucks, but this New York artist makes dealing with it just too “EsZ”.
“MIA NIA” delivers a soft, mellow vibe with delicate chords as EsZ spits out some evocative verses. From a first-person perspective, listeners are introduced to a detailed story about a girl who left a lingering impression as he ponders about her future, exploring the ‘what ifs’ and where. Without giving her a name, the girl who is the subject of “MIA NIA” could easily be any guy’s first love, the one his thoughts return to time after time. Think Love & Basketall… Poetic Justice, and that is the exact same energy that you absorb when listening to this nostalgic number.
EsZ blesses fans with a savvy music production that encapsulates the ingenious use of metaphors and sonic visuals to develop a sophisticated tale. “MIA NIA” is a provoking wave of reality that will surely sweep across the human mind with substance, something that in popular music, has been amiss. EsZ’s work embodies the aesthetic of a free-spirit, soul of an artist, and is the cultivation of today’s millennial.
Listen to EsZ performing “MIA NIA”, now streaming on Soundcloud.
EsZ is a New York-based visual and music artist who is known for his “gift for words”. Having been inspired by popular hip hop icons such as Jay-Z, Eminem, and Nas, EsZ has discovered his own unique voice. Since his debut, EsZ continues to gain ground in music and can be found performing at venues across New York City. “MIA NIA” is the artist’s most recent release to come on the heels of his project ‘Twisted Visions from The Attic’ featuring “Maybe I’m Trippin” and “UpInTheClouds”. Last year, EsZ Released ‘Songs in My SketchPad, Draft 1’, and was featured on the popular hip hop music blog Neffworking and in the magazine Hip Hop Weekly.
If you have yet to enter Erron’s Attic, you must have been living under a rock but, all will be forgiven as long as you get to know more about the artist by visiting his official website at www.erronsattic.com.
What’s Up in Erron’s Attic?
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Artist Exclusive: Interview with Hip Hop Artist EsZ Behind The Scenes with EsZ
One thing I can’t leave home without…
my iPod, I don’t like putting music on my phone..kills the battery faster.
What is on my iPod right now..
old songs like the The Temptations, and new songs like Drake & Future.. might even hear some Nu Shooz …
The last album I bought was…
Looking forward to collaborating with…
Pharrell, Timbaland, Andre 3000, Kanye ect.
Checking out What’s Up in Erron’s Attic with Hip Hop Artist EsZ
I was cleaning my old hard drive and seen old photos. .sparking the hook, about this girl ( Name is Anonymous ), later found this beat I made back in ’09 and was feeling the melody.. the hook matched the rhythm..fixed the drums,
and after a lil cut and paste.. MIA NIA
Can you in 3 words, describe to us who EsZ is and what is this Erron’s Attic we keep hearing about?
3 Words? soon you’ll understand.. Feed the Beast
Besides hip hop, what other types of music do you enjoy?
Anything that catches my ear, folk music, Reggae. .Bachata, anything
What do you think it is that sets you apart from other hip hop acts?
I, Erron, am human, I Error…
For some reason people are still saying hip hop is dead, what are your thoughts on the discussion?
Hip Hop is about expression..via Dance, Tagging, Rap, Dj’ing and the way you dress… that’s Hip Hop..Can’t say the popular success of Hip hop today is what killed it because if that’s the case, it died once LL cool J and Run DMC got on MTV..or even back to the Sugar Hill days. They to had ” Commercial Success “.
Lyrical content might not be as it was back in the ( 80’s – 90’s ) but that was the expression of That environment..we have smart phones that read and do math for us now..what do you expect? * takes selfie *
You have been teasing us with some EP’s since ‘Songs in My Sketch Pad’, can fans expect an album in the near future?
lol Maybe, stay tuned.. ‘Songs in My Sketch Pad’ was just a first draft…
Just getting the music noticed, you know the saying, ” if a tree falls and no one’s there to hear it, does it make noise? “
Well With a label, all the connections are already made…Radio, TV plugs, Co signs ect. it’s like you have a head start, indie is starting from the bottom..
Explain what the vibe was like the very first time you went to perform on stage?
nervous, lol I don’t think anyone would say different. .unless your like extra high or drunk.. nervous
We were checking out YouTube and found some videos of fan4s doing choreography to a few of your songs, what goes through your mind when you receive this kind of attention?
Amazement, like..WoW, that’s My songs..like its one thing when people say they like a song, but to express how the song made them feel, using their own art form…its like, wow! It was touching, I’m very honored..
If there were 3 pieces of advice that you would give to anyone wanting to give a go at music but maybe a little hesitant, what would you tell them?
Keep at it.. I was an art student, every time I would like try to let the music majors hear a beat or listen to my song I wrote.. it was like ” yea, but can you draw me a Goku wearing Jordans or a Tweety bird for my girl” now I’m doing an interview about my music, and you’re reading my answers on this site… so just keep at it, and believe in yourself ..I’m still learning myself, with a long way to go..but when I have more I’ll let ya’ll know
Check out more from EsZ by following the links below
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Watch on YouTube
Interview with Artist SmartBlackKid BTS Discussion with SmartBlackKid
One thing I can’t leave home without….
Gemstones. I carry gemstones with me every single day.
What is on my iPod right now….
I don’t have an iPod, but my iPhone right now? Is playing Bad Like Jesse James by John Lee Hooker.
The last album I bought was…
Can’t tell you the last time I actually bought an album.
When it comes to music, I dream of…
Genie. Kidding. When it comes to music, I see colors swirling around
to match the sound. I see the vibration of the world rising with the right music.
Inside the Music with Hakhi Alakhun, SmartBlackKid
We recently checked in with Brooklyn musician, singer, and songwriter Hakhi Alakun to find out the scoop on his newest album release ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’. Check out the deets below!
Your album seems like a huge project, What moved you to release ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol.1’ ?
I gave myself no time to do any promotion when I released an album per month in 2012. I literally would drop an album, rest for the first week of the new month; and by rest, I mean, gathering the songs, music, pre-production. 2nd week was recording. 3rd week was mixing and 4th week was mastering, packaging and release. When it was all finished? I couldn’t believe myself. But still no one except my immediate fan base from social media knew what I was doing. I knew back then that the next album would be the “Best Of” as a way to draw attention to catalog and actually promote the music.
Can you tell us about some of your music influences and what impact they have had on your style today?
My first real musical influence was Maurice White from Earth, Wind & Fire. My mom shoved one of their albums in my face when I was 5 and she asked me to read the lyrics and pay attention to the words. I did the same thing with Sly and the Family Stone, sitting and reading the lyrics. Then Prince happened to the world and his music helped me discover my voice as a singer. I have a pretty low baritone most times and can’t sing those high tenor songs. Prince had a baritone and a falsetto and by singing his music, I discovered I had the same thing. The energy and spirit of my music is heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix. Lyrically and creatively he seemed to always be reaching for new realities, new ways to hear sound, new ways to play guitar. I try to have that approach to making my own music, to not limit myself to hip hop or r&b just because I’m a black dude. But to really explore.
When did you discover that music was your passion?
I discovered music was my passion at 9yrs old. I asked my mom for piano lessons and she said we couldn’t afford them at the time. Instead she bought me a Casio keyboard which I took and sat with my boombox and taught myself how to play my favorite songs. I worked at this everyday with no motivation, and no encouragement. I just needed to know how to express myself with this instrument. I was in love with it and I couldn’t really stop until I developed some level of fluidity.
Everyday after school, I would hold these concerts in my room for about 2hrs, then I would have dinner and do my homework and be a normal kid.
It seems like your music is not just about music but there are some serious messages there, can you give us some insight into what that is all about?
I spent about 10 years of my life in the NYC underground poetry scene and from there I attended an unofficial “school of performing arts” so to speak. I was apart of a large community of artists ( writers, actors, dancers, photographers, musicians, poets, etc. etc) who performed regularly at various venues in the City. The standard was high and the expectation was excellence. I was a spoken word artist who always had a message about self-empowerment through the mind and through spirituality so a lot of my old writing habits from those days are still with me. I feel that writing song lyrics is a serious art and I have a lot to express but I have to be brief in a song. My time as a poet trained me, so to speak, to write about serious issues and themes in a way that is clear and simple. Plus, there’s no one really doing that right now. Bob Marley to me was the greatest example of music with messages done in a very wise and proverbial way. I’m reaching for that standard in my songwriting.
Do you feel that other artists need to be putting out more meaningful music content? If so, why?
Yes. Absolutely. There is a song for everything, every moment, every feeling, every circumstance that a human being can go through on Earth. But for some reason, today’s music only speaks to a few aspects of human life: social status, financial status and sexuality. It’s a very limited means of self-expression against the backdrop of this very complicated world we live in. I personally need art to help me make sense of the world, and to hear the truth be affirmed. Music is bigger than money and fame; it’s a language of motivation , of love, of community, of society and I want to be counted among the musicians who wrote about more than myself. There are 13 and 14 year olds out there who are big thinkers just like I was as a kid. I want my music to be present for them. If our world was a plant, and music was the water feeding this plant, it’s a plant that is wilting pretty bad I feel. I don’t feel the love, the insight, the wisdom, the motivation, the affirmation from a lot of today’s music. I hear a lot of the same themes in variation and repetition. Meanwhile, I’m over here trying to eat organic and not consume too many GMOs, I’m thinking about my right to privacy in the surveillance age, I’m talking about coming to terms with my shadows and my own dark side so that I’m not projecting it on others. I want to personally hear music about these things. So I write it.
If there were 3 words you could use to describe ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol.1”, what would they be?
Creative, Intelligent and Visionary.
Ohhhhh that is so hard. That’s like asking which finger is your favorite. Hmm.
I would say the song I’m most proud of is Labyrinths Within. I say that because it was inspired by a book
I read on shamanism. Most songs about people target another person as the antagonist, the cheating partner, someone didn’t love you enough, someone hurt you etc. etc. I wanted to write a song about what’s really going on inside of people. What if your biggest enemy is really yourself? Your ego? We are often projecting what we dislike about ourselves unto others. We blame others for situations we create with our various levels of self-esteem. We are often looking for people to love us in place of not really loving ourselves. The song deals with that and in particular, betrayal , which is something a lot of people can relate to. I really like how I was able to capture a complex idea and turn it into what I feel is a funky, danceable, groove. That was cool. I also like Sell, Sell, Sell because it’s daring to say what people wouldn’t really dare say on a record. Today’s music sucks. Every song is favorite, really.
Your album is available in multiple media outlets, how has the response been from your fans thus far?
As an indie artist in control of my own business, I think the response has been really good but can also be better. Since I don’t have a major machine behind me, every move forward is a success.
If there were at least one takeaway for new listeners just tuning into SBK, what do you hope that one thing will be?
That real music played with real instruments with intelligent lyrics is very very very cool and worth owning and listening to regularly.
So, you do your own instrumentals, vocals, production, have your own label and publishing capabilities. Is there anything that you do not do?
There are instruments I can’t play, notes I can’t sing, and guitar riffs I’m still learning how to play. I have my limitations but I end up attacking them when I get ready. I also don’t eat GMO foods. I don’t watch TV and I don’t believe everything I see and hear.
If there were aspiring artists out there looking to follow a similar route in production and distribution, is there any advice that you would offer them?
Make sure you copyright your work twice. You need to own the sound recording AND the composition. Never take advice from amateurs and people who are NOT artists. Create time and space for self-care. Artists like to brag about how long they worked in the studio last night, or how hard they worked on this or that. But speaking for myself? I need to schedule some time at a spa and get a massage; and sit in a hot sauna to get my mind, body and spirit in the right balance. Always create the conditions that inspire the best of your creativity.
When you are not in the studio or touring, where can your fans find you?
Wandering the streets of New York collecting ideas for songs. Or at a burlesque show being inspired the feminine form.
Your album just came out and is gaining traction, what’s next?
Next is releasing the video for Free Thought which will happen as soon as the planet Mercury comes out of retrograde. Then I will release a series of SBK videos to offer visual elements for the music. Also, be on the lookout for the SmartBlackKid Show which will be a series on YouTube later this fall.
Any parting words for our music-starved readers?
Visit smartblackkid.rocks and support an artist who actually cares about you-the music lover.
Check out our latest Music Review of ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1
The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1 A Mutli-dimensional Rock Perspective Rock Fusions: A Look at SmartBlackKid’s Latest Album Release
Brooklyn-based rock musician, singer, songwriter, and producer Hakhi Alakhun’s latest album release ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ is a multi-faceted journey through the organic roots of rock to the modern day. Delivering a captivating performance, SmartBlackKid introduces a series of potent numbers consisting of moving tunes, inspiring lyrics, and distinct artistry. If the world is finally in need of something fresh, different, completely original, then SmartBlackKid is poised to deliver and be received with open arms. While ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ stands in a class by itself, Alakhun extends a wide reach, touching a vast audience with relevant lyrical content.
Although the album commands its presence as a rock compilation, eclectic music fans will take delight in the variety of genres that have been fused together to create a truly profound listening experience. To engage in the style of SmartBlackKid, all that is required is an open mind and a ferocious appetite for meaningful content that strikes a chord with the mind and spirit. The artistic collective morphs from intense driving numbers to soft mellow performances while capturing a myriad of emotions and expressing varied energy. As we dive into the sounds of ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’, we will highlight some of the most memorable moments to watch out for throughout the albums stunning execution.
Inside the Album: The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1
The album opens up with “Stand Up”, an instant hook, line, and sinker number that teases listeners with a smooth introduction but then quickly revs up into an intense series of gritty guitar chords. A hypnotizing bass line kicks along the background of the score while SBK shreds out complicated riffs and saturates the track with highly-infectious vocals.
“Free Thought”, a single that was recently released from the album, is an upbeat number with a catching chorus and feel-good rhythms. Embedded within the track are powerful lyrics that awaken the mind. “Free Thought” is more than just a fun song; it carries a resounding message that will hit very close to home. Check out our BTS Look at “Free Thought”.
Another inspiring track on the album that fans will gravitate toward is “Powerful”, an uplifting number that is reminiscent to 90s alternative rock. SBK gives a righteous performance as he sings “born to be powerful”. SmartBlackKid is clearly an artist whose music is developed to transcend time.
Listeners will notice a change in pace and style on the track “Labyrinths Within”, a groovy number that fuses rock and nuances of R&B. SBK delivers a Prince meets Lenny Kravitz production with an edgy twist. “Labyrinths Within” introduces a unique fusion of sultry instrumentals and soul-stirring lyrics.
“Shadow’s Way” draws attention immediately with its deep bluesy feel. SBK gives a remarkable vocal and musical performance on this clean production with wide appeal. “Shadow’s Way” has a cinematic energy that would make it an epic soundtrack for a blockbuster film’s climax.
The intricacies of rock’s evolution are most evident on “Talk About You”. SBK gives a raw performance, contrasting dark and haunting vocals with complex instrumentals. Lingering guitar riffs mirror the intensity of the lyrics as they shred out angry chords, the bass looming in the background. “Talk About You” has a noticeably darker ambiance than the previous tracks and still complements the full package.
Following the extreme performance on “Talk About You”, SmartBlackKid turns it down a scale on “Chill”, a mellow production with gentle rhythms and earnest lyrics. “Chill” sends off gentle melodies and warm waves as SBK gives a suave vocal performance.
“honestly, I just wanted to hear more guitar. I want to make some noise already.”-SmartBlackKid
SBK brings the musical landscape to life one again on “Are You Alive” a melodic number with dreamy instrumentals and inspirational songwriting. SBK really speaks to his audience with a powerful message, asking “are you alive?”. The song is robust with intricate layers and a guitar performance reminiscent to one of the greats, Santana.
“Live Again” is a dynamic number with driving rock instrumentation. SBK’s vocals are virtually flawless and of course listeners are treated to rich lyrical content. “Live Again” is a truly uplifting experience that speaks to the experience of those desperately in need of reinvention.
SBK further demonstrates his eclectic style on “Solar Flare”, a high-octane track with a rebellious energy. “Solar Flare” mashes up some of the most pronounced elements in rock and fuses them with a modern industrial sound. Dramatic chords and unconventional layers make this an unforgettable experience.
The energy remains on overdrive on “Sell, Sell, Sell”, where SmartBlackKid chronicles his relationship with music while revealing a hidden truth. SBK gives an unapologetic performance with brazen realism.
SBK delivers a strong performance on “Gimme Love”, an enjoyable number filtered with retro vibrations and edgy guitar riffs. The track is entertaining, outside-of-the box, and infectious.
“Deserve”, though consisting of music complexities, provides a seamless performance with effortless vocals and steady beats. This production gives way to relatable lyrics as SBK sings, “I deserve r-e-s-p-e-c-t”. When he sings, “you did not enter this life to live with fear”, it becomes clear that SBK has a message for the masses and it definitely needs to be heard.
SBK tells a remarkable story on “Take Your Power”, a full number with a moving social and political commentary. When SBK belts, “it’s time to take your power back”, listeners become aware that there is much more to ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ than what is witnessed at first glance.
The album begins to wind down with “Enough is Enough”, an instrumental number punctuated by heavy vibrations, and shredding guitar riffs. The production offers its fair share of chills as it digs deep into the embodiment of rock music with dramatic chords and emotive waves.
“These are the ways”, is a revolutionary sounding production that sheds light on matters of the heart. SBK gives a refreshing performance that renews the imagination. The song fuses together dream-pop elements, ambient layers, and picturesque melodies to deliver a fascinating display of ingenuity.
The album concludes with “Persevere”, a motivational track with a positive message for anyone needing a boost. Journeying through the many challenges faced by individuals who walk the earth, SBK has some significant words of encouragement to keep it pushing. “Persevere” is a strong finish to a noteworthy performance.
‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ is a much needed escape from the madness that surrounds us. Giving rock new meaning, SmartBlackKid innovates a fresh style that is conspicuously unmatched. While the album delivers compelling sound, it sends off messages that are equally as awe-inspiring. SBK gives fans the best of both worlds: good music and purposeful content.
‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ is the 11th album release for SBK otherwise known as Hakhi Alakhun, singer, songwriter, musician, and producer. The NY-based released the album on September 13th, introducing himself to his newest army of fans. Hakhi’s previous 10 albums were released between April 2012 and January 2013 when he dropped one album per month. The album releases marked Alakhun’s 10-year long career in music which included private production work and serving as a lead guitarist for bands such as Lo Frequency and Bullyfoot Massive.
‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ was an enormous undertaking, a feat that many aspiring artists have yet to accomplish. Hakhi did not wait for success to come his way, he took it. The musician performed lead and background vocals on his album, played all the instruments, and produced the project on his own inside of his very own SBK Studios. Hakhi also has his own imprint 4PJMusic Group from which he published his music.
About his music content Alakhun says, “I’m daring to sing about what’s really on my mind, the future of society and our world. I can’t be the only one who cares about that”. Earlier this year, SBK released the single “Free Thought”, a social commentary about the right to privacy in the digital age.
Hakhi got his start in music early at the age of 9. He wrote and composed his own work and later performed as a backup singer for local artists and was the lead vocalist for the jazz-funk band Copasetic where he performed at venues such as Nells. In 1998 he performed background vocals on Dennis Edward and The Weather Girls’ “Don’t Look Any Further”. After adventures as a spoken word artist in NY’s underground and a self-taught guitarist, Hakhi started his own band in 2001 called Synai along with Sayo Ogundiran. The band released ‘As Is’, an EP that had been compared to work done by Ani DiFranco and legend Prince.
Hakhi later joined Lo Frequency as the lead guitarist and traveled as a music educator around the world. After traveling to places such as Beirut, Manama, and San Jose, Honduras, Hakhi performed before the UN General Assembly in 2012. He ventured out on his own taking the time to release one album per month, driven to create inspiring music. Hakhi says, “honestly, I just wanted to hear more guitar. I want to make some noise already.” Alakhun’s latest release ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ features songs from 5 of his albums. The album is currently available on iTunes, Apple Music, Bandcamp, Amazon Music, Google Play, SimfyAfrica, Tidal, Verve Life, Guvera, Juke, Rhapsody, eMusic, Target Music, Xbox Music, and many more digital stores. Learn more about SmartBlackKid by visiting the Official Website at www.smartblackkid.rocks.
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