Who is SMartBlackKid?
Based out of Brooklyn, New York, SmartBlackKid is the project by multi-talented one man band, artist and producer, Hakhi Alakhun. In 2012, Hakhi left his post as lead guitarist of live hip hop band, The Lo Frequency, to produce and publish 10 albums of music on Bandcamp. This highly prolific artist released material written and recorded over a decade and decided to release it all in a 10 album series. His 11th album is The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1 will give music lovers and fans a chance to catch up to his output.
Vocals / Guitar / Bass/ Drum programming/ Hakhi Alakhun
4th Pentacle Music Group
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Some individuals are just blessed with an amazing amount of music inside of them. The goal of these musicians should be to get this music out into the world. It isn’t always easy to have this music escape your head but when the valve opens, it often pours. This seems to be the case with our recent find SmartBlackKid.
The Brooklyn, New York based project is the brainchild of Hakhi Alakhun. The singer-songwriter and producer first fell in love with music at the age of 9 when he self taught himself to play keyboards. Hakhi dove into writing and composing and started churning out songs with wild abandon. To further develop his skills he hooked up with some R&B artists around Brooklyn and also became lead singer for the Jazz-Funk band Copasetic playing throughout NYC. When he decided it was time to take his own show on the road SmartBlackKid was born. The songs came fast and furious and 10 albums were released within 2 years.
Last month was the release of his 11th album The Best Of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1. The 17 track record is his selections of the greatest songs from his massive output. The opener “Stand Up” will let you know right from the start that this in a truly original musician. The mass of sounds provides a punk vibe that draws the listener deep into his world. On “Powerful” some impressive guitar skill leads the way as the rock track drives along in seemingly multiple directions at once. The funk side shows its head on “Chill” with a distinct R&B vibe sprinkled in. SmartBlackKid can go in and out of genres at will. There is a darkness on “Sell, Sell, Sell” with an anger creeping into the sound as it grinds along sharing a message that can hit home for many artists. The journey is very varied leading to the closer “Persevere” which touches on Hakhi’s spoken word past while adding an experimental sound behind to act multiple layers to this impressive album. Go enjoy a listen for yourself at: http://thesmartblackkid.bandcamp.com/
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Rock Fusions: A Look at SmartBlackKid’s Latest Album Release
Brooklyn-based rock musician, singer, songwriter, and producer Hakhi Alakhun’s latest album release ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ is a multi-faceted journey through the organic roots of rock to the modern day. Delivering a captivating performance, SmartBlackKid introduces a series of potent numbers consisting of moving tunes, inspiring lyrics, and distinct artistry. If the world is finally in need of something fresh, different, completely original, then SmartBlackKid is poised to deliver and be received with open arms. While ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ stands in a class by itself, Alakhun extends a wide reach, touching a vast audience with relevant lyrical content.
Although the album commands its presence as a rock compilation, eclectic music fans will take delight in the variety of genres that have been fused together to create a truly profound listening experience. To engage in the style of SmartBlackKid, all that is required is an open mind and a ferocious appetite for meaningful content that strikes a chord with the mind and spirit. The artistic collective morphs from intense driving numbers to soft mellow performances while capturing a myriad of emotions and expressing varied energy. As we dive into the sounds of ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’, we will highlight some of the most memorable moments to watch out for throughout the albums stunning execution.
Inside the Album: The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1
The album opens up with “Stand Up”, an instant hook, line, and sinker number that teases listeners with a smooth introduction but then quickly revs up into an intense series of gritty guitar chords. A hypnotizing bass line kicks along the background of the score while SBK shreds out complicated riffs and saturates the track with highly-infectious vocals.
“Free Thought”, a single that was recently released from the album, is an upbeat number with a catching chorus and feel-good rhythms. Embedded within the track are powerful lyrics that awaken the mind. “Free Thought” is more than just a fun song; it carries a resounding message that will hit very close to home. Check out our BTS Look at “Free Thought”.
Another inspiring track on the album that fans will gravitate toward is “Powerful”, an uplifting number that is reminiscent to 90s alternative rock. SBK gives a righteous performance as he sings “born to be powerful”. SmartBlackKid is clearly an artist whose music is developed to transcend time.
Listeners will notice a change in pace and style on the track “Labyrinths Within”, a groovy number that fuses rock and nuances of R&B. SBK delivers a Prince meets Lenny Kravitz production with an edgy twist. “Labyrinths Within” introduces a unique fusion of sultry instrumentals and soul-stirring lyrics.
“Shadow’s Way” draws attention immediately with its deep bluesy feel. SBK gives a remarkable vocal and musical performance on this clean production with wide appeal. “Shadow’s Way” has a cinematic energy that would make it an epic soundtrack for a blockbuster film’s climax.
The intricacies of rock’s evolution are most evident on “Talk About You”. SBK gives a raw performance, contrasting dark and haunting vocals with complex instrumentals. Lingering guitar riffs mirror the intensity of the lyrics as they shred out angry chords, the bass looming in the background. “Talk About You” has a noticeably darker ambiance than the previous tracks and still complements the full package.
Following the extreme performance on “Talk About You”, SmartBlackKid turns it down a scale on “Chill”, a mellow production with gentle rhythms and earnest lyrics. “Chill” sends off gentle melodies and warm waves as SBK gives a suave vocal performance.
“honestly, I just wanted to hear more guitar. I want to make some noise already.”-SmartBlackKid
SBK brings the musical landscape to life one again on “Are You Alive” a melodic number with dreamy instrumentals and inspirational songwriting. SBK really speaks to his audience with a powerful message, asking “are you alive?”. The song is robust with intricate layers and a guitar performance reminiscent to one of the greats, Santana.
“Live Again” is a dynamic number with driving rock instrumentation. SBK’s vocals are virtually flawless and of course listeners are treated to rich lyrical content. “Live Again” is a truly uplifting experience that speaks to the experience of those desperately in need of reinvention.
SBK further demonstrates his eclectic style on “Solar Flare”, a high-octane track with a rebellious energy. “Solar Flare” mashes up some of the most pronounced elements in rock and fuses them with a modern industrial sound. Dramatic chords and unconventional layers make this an unforgettable experience.
The energy remains on overdrive on “Sell, Sell, Sell”, where SmartBlackKid chronicles his relationship with music while revealing a hidden truth. SBK gives an unapologetic performance with brazen realism.
SBK delivers a strong performance on “Gimme Love”, an enjoyable number filtered with retro vibrations and edgy guitar riffs. The track is entertaining, outside-of-the box, and infectious.
“Deserve”, though consisting of music complexities, provides a seamless performance with effortless vocals and steady beats. This production gives way to relatable lyrics as SBK sings, “I deserve r-e-s-p-e-c-t”. When he sings, “you did not enter this life to live with fear”, it becomes clear that SBK has a message for the masses and it definitely needs to be heard.
SBK tells a remarkable story on “Take Your Power”, a full number with a moving social and political commentary. When SBK belts, “it’s time to take your power back”, listeners become aware that there is much more to ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ than what is witnessed at first glance.
The album begins to wind down with “Enough is Enough”, an instrumental number punctuated by heavy vibrations, and shredding guitar riffs. The production offers its fair share of chills as it digs deep into the embodiment of rock music with dramatic chords and emotive waves.
“These are the ways”, is a revolutionary sounding production that sheds light on matters of the heart. SBK gives a refreshing performance that renews the imagination. The song fuses together dream-pop elements, ambient layers, and picturesque melodies to deliver a fascinating display of ingenuity.
The album concludes with “Persevere”, a motivational track with a positive message for anyone needing a boost. Journeying through the many challenges faced by individuals who walk the earth, SBK has some significant words of encouragement to keep it pushing. “Persevere” is a strong finish to a noteworthy performance.
‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ is a much needed escape from the madness that surrounds us. Giving rock new meaning, SmartBlackKid innovates a fresh style that is conspicuously unmatched. While the album delivers compelling sound, it sends off messages that are equally as awe-inspiring. SBK gives fans the best of both worlds: good music and purposeful content.
‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ is the 11th album release for SBK otherwise known as Hakhi Alakhun, singer, songwriter, musician, and producer. The NY-based released the album on September 13th, introducing himself to his newest army of fans. Hakhi’s previous 10 albums were released between April 2012 and January 2013 when he dropped one album per month. The album releases marked Alakhun’s 10-year long career in music which included private production work and serving as a lead guitarist for bands such as Lo Frequency and Bullyfoot Massive.
‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ was an enormous undertaking, a feat that many aspiring artists have yet to accomplish. Hakhi did not wait for success to come his way, he took it. The musician performed lead and background vocals on his album, played all the instruments, and produced the project on his own inside of his very own SBK Studios. Hakhi also has his own imprint 4PJMusic Group from which he published his music.
About his music content Alakhun says, “I’m daring to sing about what’s really on my mind, the future of society and our world. I can’t be the only one who cares about that”. Earlier this year, SBK released the single “Free Thought”, a social commentary about the right to privacy in the digital age.
Hakhi got his start in music early at the age of 9. He wrote and composed his own work and later performed as a backup singer for local artists and was the lead vocalist for the jazz-funk band Copasetic where he performed at venues such as Nells. In 1998 he performed background vocals on Dennis Edward and The Weather Girls’ “Don’t Look Any Further”. After adventures as a spoken word artist in NY’s underground and a self-taught guitarist, Hakhi started his own band in 2001 called Synai along with Sayo Ogundiran. The band released ‘As Is’, an EP that had been compared to work done by Ani DiFranco and legend Prince.
Hakhi later joined Lo Frequency as the lead guitarist and traveled as a music educator around the world. After traveling to places such as Beirut, Manama, and San Jose, Honduras, Hakhi performed before the UN General Assembly in 2012. He ventured out on his own taking the time to release one album per month, driven to create inspiring music. Hakhi says, “honestly, I just wanted to hear more guitar. I want to make some noise already.” Alakhun’s latest release ‘The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1’ features songs from 5 of his albums. The album is currently available on iTunes, Apple Music, Bandcamp, Amazon Music, Google Play, SimfyAfrica, Tidal, Verve Life, Guvera, Juke, Rhapsody, eMusic, Target Music, Xbox Music, and many more digital stores. Learn more about SmartBlackKid by visiting the Official Website at www.smartblackkid.rocks.
The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol.1 – a full throttle rock album from start to finish
SmartBlackKid is a Brooklyn based rock project of singer, songwriter, musician/producer, Hakhi Alakhun. Former lead guitarist with The Lo Frequency and Bullyfoot Massive, SmartBlackKid went solo and released 10 albums between 2012 and 2013 via Bandcamp. SmartBlackKid produced the albums in a monthly series from April 2012 to January 2013. On September 13th, SmartBlackKid released The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol.1 on Bandcamp, iTunes, Apple Music and 30 other music stores.
Hakhi sings lead and backing vocals, plays all the instruments, and produces his music himself at his home studio which he calls SBK Studios. The music is published from his own indie label imprint 4PJMusic Group. “I’m not singing about getting the girl, or the breakup or the typical things happening in music today, Hakhi says, “I’m daring to sing about what’s really on my mind, the future of society and our world. I can’t be the only who cares about that.” The lead single from the album, “Free Thought”, is a social commentary on maintaining rights to privacy and freedom in this digital age of surveillance.
Hakhi has gone from being a self-taught keyboardist at the age of 9, to singing backing vocals on the remix of the hit Don’t Look Any Further by Dennis Edward and The Weather Girls in 1998, to being a spoken word artist and a self-taught guitarist. The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol.1, features 17 songs taken from his first 5 albums.
This album is another step in the continuing process of the musical genius that is SmartBlackKid. His 11th studio album shines as brightly as his first, and the rich, heartfelt soul searching lyrics accompany the wonderful, soulful, funky rock music. Each song is a treasure. This is a full throttle album from start to finish.
SmartBlackKid has shown himself to take his seeming eclecticism and ability to showcase his influence, and to help his listeners to realize that all of the music within his spectrum comes from the same source. It’s all from smack dab in the middle of his heart. The blues, rock ‘n’ roll, soul and funk are all very close links in a chain-all of which inspire each other in seemingly infinite combinations. Hakhi’s love of a slinky rock groove and expressing the emotions of passion, the wonder of life and pinpointed social issues in his lyrics, play perfectly with the fact that he turns up the honesty factor high in his albums.
With The Best of SmartBlackKid Vol.1, Hakhi takes his talents, skills and prowess as a serious rock performer and producer to the next level. His songs are catchy, his grooves deep and he rocks with attitude. If you want to hear the depth of Hakhi’s musical inspiration, tune into “Free Thought”, “ Powerful”, “Chill”, “Live Again”, “ Deserve”, “Take Your Power” and “These are the ways”.
This album rocks from beginning to end. Hakhi’s guitar riffs are killer and the drumming is superb. I could easily just write the word ‘awesome’ and explain this album thoroughly, but it deserves way more praise than that. Quite simply, SmartBlackKid is underrated as an artist and this is a masterpiece of songwriting, rock power, funky jams and soul baring emotion.
SmartBlackKid - "The Best Of SmartBlackKid Vol. 1" Album Review
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
SmartBlackKid is a multi-talented one man band, all performed by Hakhi Alakhun. He has impressively produced and released ten albums spanning many genres, and with his eleventh release, he has complied the ultimate collection of his songs over his career, in this 'Best Of' album, making for a great opportunity for existing fans to catch up on, and of course for new fans to discover...
To get things started we have, "Stand Up" which is ultra smooth with it's beats and rhythms, along with melodic memorable guitar work, with refreshing and charming vocals, all delivered with style!
Single "Free Thought" has great catchy hooks and an classic rock vibe, but with a upbeat modern twist, making it a perfect choice for a single and his creative sound offers something a bit different, which is always nice to see..
"Powerful" immediately highlights Hakhi's guitar skills yet again, with ambient and bouncy riffs throughout, with equally powerful compelling vocals to accompany..
"Labyrinths Within" helps to show off the sheer diversity offered further..with this being a more pop funk inspired number, that is very soulful and strong, again exhibiting some brilliant ambient solo guitar with bluesy rhythms..like a 'maze' this is complex, and one where you could easily lose yourself in the music..
Following on finely, to strip things back a bit and offer a slower pace, "Shadow's Way" uses softer guitars and sweltering vocals, with have hints of blues, and soulful rock. This is a stand out track, which is one to let wash over you and get engulfed in! Everything is effectively placed, in terms of structure and the use of backing vocals for more emphasis and depth.
"Are You Alive" is highly resonant, with the use of effects on the vocals and guitars, and again demonstrates his exceptional guitar skills, along with brilliant harmonies, as well as his remarkable musicianship and ability to deliver sublime lyrics, that are executed with such passionate and heart; something there is no shortage of on the entirety of the album!
"Live Again" is well positioned following the previous song. This is one of my favourites, having a high energy rock alternative sound, which grabs you instantly! Hakhi explores more-so with his varied flawless vocals to match the mood and vibe of the track - which he does in an optimistic fast fun manner!
"Sell, Sell, Sell" opens on a somewhat sinister guitar hook, and in the chorus we see Hakhi use lower vocal pitches for impact, in what is a very repetitive chorus, which is perhaps a nod to punk, in terms of musical structure and delivery, that along with the killer sombre guitars, makes this the most dark song featured.
"Gimme Love" again is in keeping with the previous tone, this has a almost gloomy rock 'n' roll vibe which hits hard in a short amount of time!
Final song, "Persevere" sets the scene with an informative intro that tells us about the human mind, making it thought provoking...with more talking featured, over beautiful soft vocals and quiet guitars, which is all very stripped down, before the instruments start to pick up in this real, and motivational number! It progresses well instrumentally and helps with the context of the song, and to end things in style, we are treated to the best solo guitar work yet, where Hakhi let's loose with insane results, ending things on a hard hitting and powerful note!
SmarkBlackKid is an truly innovative and skilled musician who puts his heart and soul into all of his songs, and explores numerous genres in a slick and almost effortless way! There is something for everyone on this album, and there is no doubt that SmartBlackKid can conquer all genres! The whole collection of songs is vibrant, refreshing, creative and overall enjoyable! What a musical gem to discover, that genuinely shines through with passion, craftsmanship and professionalism, and explores a plethora of genres, all the while maintaining his own signature sound!