D Smoke pushes positivity over adversity with “It’s OK”

« Even the right decisions come with consequences » D Smoke

Music-wise, 2020 has been a great year for D Smoke, it ended in the best way possible. Shortly after releasing a captivating visual for his song « Rapture », the Inglewood MC was rewarded with a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album, for his stellar first project Black habits.

Treating each song, each visual like a full project, D Smoke keeps on building his sophisticated catalog with the visual of new single « It’s OK ».

D Smoke starts off 2021 by staying within the lines of his artistic mission, providing uplifting and inspiring pieces.

It’s OK – The Meaning

Throughout the song, the MC rhymes about adversity, what plagues his mind and exposes rough circumstances, notably, in terms of hood politics. Despite all these obstacles, him and his people maintain and remain resilient.

« But when it’s all said and done/ We face them fears and I’ll never run

Replace them tears with power, Edison, yeah/ And even when life ain’t fair »

With « It’s OK », D Smoke provides, once again, a testament to black culture’s richness. The colorful video in itself speaks to many moments of hip-hop history.

In the very beginning of the song, we see D Smoke supported by a group of kids, as they start singing together we can easily find a parallel with Jay-Z’s hit « Hard Knock Life ». The 99’s hit accounted Jay-Z’s ascension from the projects of Marcy to full-blown stardom. His verses were built around a chorus inspired by « It’s a hard knock life » from famous musical Annie. In « It’s Ok », the young voices convey the overall sentiment of the song :

« Yeah, it hurts, yeah, there’s pain / Yeah, we grow, ’cause there’s rain  Yeah, we work and we strain / Just to cope and maintain »

Hearing a message of that ilk embodied by younger voices hits much harder, even more so when those voices sing the chorus out loud :

« It’s alright, It’s Ok »

Echoes with The Symbols of Positivity in Alright‘s Music Video

The chorus will obviously be compared with Kendrick Lamar’s « Alright ». In 2015, « Alright » came out in an explosive context and became the anthem of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

The comparison between the two songs doesn’t just lie with the chorus. Much like Kendrick then, D Smoke strives for positivity while stressing the ills that he has to overcome, from inner conflict to harsh realities that he still has to be aware of :

« Bought a nine and a gauge like a renegade/Then I gave a nine to the homie while he hustlin’ »

Five years after « Alright », « It’s OK » conveys a much necessary content, as we are coming out of an intense and dramatic year that’ll have a tremendous impact on the ones ahead of us.

« Can’t nothin hold me down, Can’t nothin stop me »

These are the words that close out the song, we hear them chanted like a slogan at a protest.

It reminds us of the Puff Daddy and Mase’s hit « Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down ». However, what was more of a player’s mantra full of bravado and opulence takes now on a new meaning. In « It’s OK » those words echoes the necessity of self-affirmation, the pride of a generation, of a community,  and perhaps the words of a revolution.

Alfred Dilou

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