SKULLFACE BONEHEAD – [Na-Kel Smith]

There are certain artists in the music world that I don’t think sleep even a wink most nights because they’re always working, and that’s something I respect more than ever. At the same time, there are certain individuals who are members of the music industry while also being forces in other ventures and careers as well, and when they make music that’s actually worth listening to while also being tastemakers in other industries, my words can’t do them nearly enough justice. For Los Angeles native Na-Kel Smith, I’ve been a fan of his for over a decade thanks to his affiliation with Odd Future, a group that I idolized back in the early 2010s.

Since then, I became a huge fan of his skateboarding and when I saw that he got into acting through the Jonah Hill-directed movie mid90s, I instantly flocked to that as well. Nonetheless, music is the endeavor that I don’t think Nak gets nearly enough credit for considering he has dropped 5 projects in the past 3 years, and each one seems to get better than its predecessors. Just yesterday, to my surprise, Nak kicked 2022 off on a wonderful note with the release of his latest tape entitled SKULLFACE BONEHEAD, and it seems to show another side of his talents that are more eye-opening than ever.

With 8 songs spanning just short of 15 minutes long, Nak takes the reigns himself on every aspect of this project from the rapping to the arranging to the production, proving that he’s more than just an emcee with a dream. Although not a single song on this album is normal, that’s what makes it great as Nak inserts himself into the world of Lo-Fi which is seriously a place that I think he thrives in. Whether there is an up-tempo track or a slower, more soulful and melodic record, he constantly innovates throughout this project thanks to some uniquely altered vocals, some of which sound more familiar than others.

During certain moments, he’ll pitch his voice up as if he just hit a helium balloon that’s reminiscent of some of Frank Ocean’s vocals on Blonde while in other songs, his voice is deepened for a sound that is even similar to some of the effects that his counterpart Tyler had shown off on some of his earlier solo albums. No matter what kind of innovative sounds Nak includes on SKULLFACE BONEHEAD, they’re all welcome additions to his already impressive and lengthy discography, making this an album you’re going to need to add to your list immediately.