The gap between Smif-n-Wessun’s last album and their upcoming LP, The All has been their most extended hiatus since they dropped The Rude Awakening in 1998 (as Cocoa Brovaz) and did not follow-up with Smif-n-Wessun: Reloaded until 2005. And while Heads never like to wait for new material from one of Hip-Hop’s most consistent duos, the break has clearly reinvigorated these Brooklyn, New York rude bwoys. In the Summer of 2018, 9th Wonder announced that he and his Soul Council (Nottz, Khrysis, Ka$h Don’t Make Beats, Eric G., E. Jones, and others) were handling production duties on the next album from Tek and General Steele.
Then, last September, they came back with a one, two punch by dropping the lead single “Let It Go” from The All just days before an NPR “Tiny Desk” performance, that impressed fans. A video for “Let It Go” arrived in December and a second single and video titled “Testify” released last month.
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While Boot Camp Clik diehards patiently wait until February 22, the pair formerly known as the Cocoa Brovaz have one more single to keep Heads satiated. Premiering at Ambrosia For Heads, the song is titled “Ocean Drive” and features Roc Nation/Jamla lyricist Rapsody and soulful crooner Musiq Soulchild. The cut is an ode to “ride or die” partners…to real ones. Tek and General Steele praise their significant other’s strength and give credit to these better halves for being a big part of their success.
The song starts with gentle piano plinks, followed by an echoing horn and a couple of synth notes, courtesy of Khrysis. It is precisely the kind of soundscape Smif-n-Wessun were made to rock. The drums and accents bring the Timberlands and flat-brimmed hats to the warm weather of the South. Tek starts his verse by speaking about the strains touring puts on a relationship: “Businessman, I don’t waste time / But when you miss your man, we can FaceTime / Oversea trips, crossing different state lines / Trying to make a living is a straight grind / Blowing kisses and smiley face emoji-cons / She push the whip, I’m shotgun whatever road we on.” His honesty makes the bars particularly relatable.
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“‘Ocean Drive’ is a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde style ode to relationships; reminiscent of Tupac or JAY-Z & Beyonce’s ‘Me And My Girlfriend.’ Although not your typical love song, it highlights the bond we have with a best friend and or closest rider,” Smif-n-Wessun tell AFH in a statement. “This Khrysis-produced track accommodates our straightforward vocals as we each reaffirm our loyalty with our significant others; thanking them for always be down to ride for their ‘man.’ Rapsody offers her always fresh perspective from a ladies’ point of view, and Musiq Soulchild adds the finishing touches with his soulful plea. This is the perfect tune to groove to while cruising down Ocean Drive in Miami with your partner, or any drive for that matter.”
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Rapsody enters the song as the ultimate ride-or-die partner in crime (or rhyme): “Number 1 rider / Always stay beside ya / Any broad pop off, you know I’m down to fight her / I gotcha back, I’ll hit the block, roll the weed tighter / Relationship healthy, got you drinking apple cider / Days it get deep, sh*t, I’m a scuba diver.” She’s holding her partner down with some dope rhymes, marking Rap’s first 2019 appearance.
The All also features Raekwon, Rick Ross Heather Victoria, SmittytheCAINSMITH, and GQ. Fans near to New York City can also purchase tickets to Smif-n-Wessun’s album release show on Thursday, February 21 at SOB’s.
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Last year, Khrysis and Rapsody were both instrumental to 9th Wonder Presents… Jamla Is The Squad II. Meanwhile, Khrysis was also one-half of Jericho Jackson with Elzhi.
Smif-n-Wessun photograph by Photo Rob provided by Duck Down Music.