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.
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.
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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