Hardaway Smith: The Street Gentleman With A Kingpin Flow
There are these rare moment that occur when you press play and the first syllable uttered not only represents an artist’s talent, but a glimpse of something unique. At first, its hard to put a finger on why this artist is special,is it their sound?, their delivery?, their tone?, until…BOOMIES!… It’s their voice, a well crafted sound, that oozes with charisma and new heights of freshness; both genuine and mesmerizing. Such a voice belongs to South Central rapper, Hardaway Smith, whose cinematic approach towards the direction of his albums, provides a sensational appeal with the struggle to reign supreme in California’s climate.
Born Jeremy Smith on November 19,1992 in South Central, CA, Hardaway first touchdown was on 9/25/2011 with the release of his debut album Smith Renaissance: Absolute, produced by Corey G.
Off the rip you get a sense of Hardaway’s crafty versatility to ride a beat. The beat selection displays hard guitar riffs with rocking drums in the background or soulful samples with angelic vocals harmonizing along the snares. Smith quickly establishes his persona as a true go getter bent on turning dreams into reality. Hardaway’s debut was a great showcase but his creative mind shines with his second project The PoolHouse released on 08/01/2012.
The PoolHouse is a filmic walk through about the West Coast lifestyle of a playboy, hustling to be legendary, in California. With tracks like Playa Ways and See Me Now that elude to the Hollywood stunting that comes in the summer or the tracks Breathe (Vent) and 9 to 5 that acknowledges the struggle to maintain it all . Though there is a lot of flashiness to the album, the songs Hard Times and Discovered Dreams tap into Smith’s genuine side. Smith stylistic sound provides a chilling resemblance to Jay-Z golden 90’s flow, with a Fresh Prince demeanor, and a tone of confidence that could only be match by Juelz Santana.
After the release of The PoolHouse, Hardaway had a two year gap before releasing Lincoln Paintings 02/14/2014 and Classic Crime EP 12/18/2014. Lincoln Paintings sheds the glamorous stylings of The PoolHouse and becomes more of a coming of age tale of a boss on the rise. This time, Hardaway uses various snippets from movies to push the narrative of the album forward. Smith’s style is more refined and classier than ever, with elements of R&B, jazz and funk, Hardaway’s word play slays with a grown man’s finesse, sharp and original. Classic Crime EP provides an intermission from the fly talk to double down on Hardaway Smith’s rhyming skills and his hunger for more. The narrative of the EP is one of a gangster standing his ground or in Smith’s case staging the scene for something bigger.
Hard work pays off and on September 29,2015, nothing was more evident then Hardaway Smith’s Street Gentleman. A perfect blend of talent and production, Street Gentleman provides the nostalgia of the California scene through the eyes of a desperado. Not to get too carried away with big city and bright lights, songs like LovePoem and Faith, provide soul touching inspiration, while tracks like 22 featuring Sistine remind you that Los Angeles isn’t all glamour and shine.
Hardaway Smith’s next project, Street Gentleman 2, is scheduled to premiere early 2017. I’d suggest getting a bucket of popcorn, press play and enjoying the ride.