Good Day Blogosphere (It really is, 70 degrees in November… in Illinois?!)!

Written by guest blogger and fellow hip-hop head, Troy Brundidge- better known in music circles as SevSeveer, today’s post is a review of’ latest mixtape from Chicago MC, Charity Clay; titled The Smokey Winston Project (big ups to Troy for showing the female MCs some love).

The Smokey Winston Project

The Smokey Winston Project

“From my pops I got patience, my mama gave me stubbornness/ streets gave me courage and the fam’ gave encouragement/ between the two I got a double dose of nourishment/double dose of knowledge from street scholars and college/ product of it all so all I acknowledge—the diamond in the rough that got polished”
If you’re the type who is interested in getting the scoop on an artist before they blow up, look no further than this lyrical gem from Charity Clay. Her November 2nd release, The Smokey Winston Project is glittered with raw hip hop extrospection, as well as a fair dose of introspection in trying to find her voice as an emcee.  Produced by beatsmith Smokey Winston, the album is a solid display of literary skill, and hopefully only a prelude to future projects on the horizon.

As an emcee, Clay’s story telling abilities are enhanced by honest, non-fiction bars combined with
next-level creativity. “Runnin Man”—which vividly describes the process of trying to settle a man afraid of commitment—and “Other Side of the Pillow”—a song that displays C-Dot’s singing talent and takes the classic story telling format of describing the chronological events in a day—are very well written accounts that leave you with an overwhelming feeling of “realness”.

My favorite track, “Relax and Listen”, is punchline-heavy and easy to vibe out to; and along with the infectious harp sample in a crisp Smokey Winston instrumental, this one is a must-repeat.  And for hip hop heads and geeks alike, C-Dot goes in for 10 bars straight comparing whack emcees to a bug soon to be caught in anti-virus software.

For all who are fans of lyricism, The Smokey Winston Project is ear candy. However, from the beatsmith’s perspective, the album may disappoint those who hear drums before lyrics. Although Smokey Winston’s instrumentals have a welcoming jazzy feel to them, they lose power as the album plays out, using the same kick and hand clap for nearly every song. Altogether the album becomes somewhat blurred by the repetitive production.

I first heard Charity Clay on “Done With 09,” a single with the late Rarebreed Extended Family posse, and was immediately moved by her bar structure and cool, calm flow. Since then, I have been waiting for her next album release, and The Smokey Winston Project comes correct as a collaboration between two artists who are clearly in it for the quality. There is no limit to C-Dot’s potential as an artist, and her talent will have emcees and beatsmiths scrambling for future collaboration opportunities.

Troy Brundidge “Sev Seveer”
on air-talent (The Hip Hop Project on WLUW 88.7 FM)