Artist: O.C.Title: Smoke & MirrorsRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Starrene Rhett
Where theres smoke theres O.C., and where theres O.C. there are mirrors and hes holding them up to himself and the entertainment industry. One of the most slept on MCs in the game is back with his fifth album, Smoke & Mirrors (Hieroglyphics Imperium). With soulful and bluesy beats produced by Mike Lowe and Fire Dept., Smoke & Mirrors is 17 tracks of pensive insight into his world.
In the first album where he has total creative control, O.C. manages to reflect on his life, and the hypocrisies and superficialities of the music industry without sounding like the mad rapper. The first lines in Challenge Yall, the albums lead single, sum everything up, I walk through fire with gasoline drawers/Not for shock value I do it just cause/this Hip-Hop thing I dont do it for applause/not knockin anybody but f**k an award. In This is Me he admitted to his lackluster sales but says he wont stop because raps like blood running through his veins. Other notable tracks on the album are Shorty, where hes blasting older men who knowingly mess with underage girls, What I Need, Brothers Keeper,Emotions, and Gone.
Aside from the slightly depressing quality, Smoke & Mirrors is a strong comeback for O.C. and definitely worthy of praise thanks to his clever lyricism, vivid storytelling and honesty.