War & Wonders
D Smoke knows that not everyone understands who he is yet. There’s a brief interlude tacked on to the end of “Road Rage,” from the Inglewood MC’s sophomore album War & Wonders, where a purported music fan states as much in a frustrated tone: “First he talking Spanish, then he tryna lead the masses, next thing you know he with the gangstas. Like, what is he really on?” The short answer: all of those things, and then some. As a former high school Spanish instructor, he can, indeed, rap in Spanish, the way he did on his way to winning the Netflix reality show Rhythm + Flow and also here on “Dirty Mercedes.” Additionally, he’d love to be able to “lead the masses” to individuality and intellectual freedom, the way he attempts to on songs like “Shame on You,” “Find My Way,” and “Crossover.” He surely understands the gangsta mentality, the way he addresses its trappings on the title track and also “Why Run,” but to really understand who D Smoke is, at least in the way he’d like you to, the listener has to ingest the whole of these perspectives the way they are presented across War & Wonders. Because it is here that D Smoke gives us everything he’s got.