Smitty Bandz – “3” (Album Review)

Atlanta based rapper, Smitty Bandz, has been releasing music for a couple years now, five in fact, based on the quick little bit of digging I did on Soundcloud and Spotify. His latest release, an album titled “3,” is an easy going project seemingly meant for the listener to soak in casually.

If you aren’t one who minds spoilers, I’ll tell you now; this album is okay. It isn’t exactly bad, but there are too many things that, in my opinion, keep it from being good. For instance, the very first song, “No Fear,” has absolutely no build up to it. The beat cuts in, and Smitty is rapping immediately at the 0.02 second mark. You can’t say that it’s the wrong way to open an album, but at the same time, in most cases, even when a rapper chooses to start on the first beat, there is some sort of space in between the start of the track and the actual song. There’s this buffer period that allows listeners to kind of prepare themselves and settle in first, but that’s not the case in “No Fear.” I know this is a very minor thing to discredit an album for, but I bring it up because that was my first impression of the project and it set the tone for the rest of my listening experience.

Moving on to a more broad topic of discussion, the lyricism is kind of hit or miss for me. A lot of it comes down to personal preference, so take this with a grain of salt, but personally, I prefer when artists have coherent lyrics that tell a story or stick to a theme. In the vast majority of the songs on the track, there seems to be no real correlation between the verses and the choruses. Smitty is just rapping to rap (which again, isn’t bad, it’s just a matter of preference). However, all of his choruses are just a couple lines put on repeat for two to four bars, and the rhymes in his verses tend to lean on the same couple syllables in each song. The last thing to mention is that he sometimes takes the “easy way out” and repeats one or two words at the end of each line to mimic a multisyllabic rhyme without having to actually write any.

The production isn’t bad, it just feels uninspired and a little lazy. Some of the beats are really good, my favorite being “Baby Food,” and some are just average. They kind of all take the exact same formula and duplicate it with minor tweaks. Take a four note melody, often from a keyboard, loop it, and then two bars in, toss some hi hats, heavy kicks, and maybe a tom or two with some sort of sound effect, and you’ve got your instrumental. On top of that, every now and then the mixing between vocals and instrumental is a little bit off like it is in “Shake and Bake.”

This seems like a largely negative review so far, and I guess it is. However, I can absolutely see some people really enjoying the style that Smitty Bandz has to offer. I’d equate him to a slowed down version of DaBaby. He’s got room for growth, but also I wouldn’t be surprised to see him grow an audience as he is now, so although I can’t say his music is for me, there’s always a chance that “Baby Food” is the next banger you put on your workout playlist and you can enjoy his other music from there.

Rating: 6/10

Highlights: Flow

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  1. Richie Mochizuki, 17 March, 2020

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