Prince RedSmoke Releases “Michael Phelps” (SINGLE)

Sporting an ease in his delivery from the first verse in “Michael Phelps” forward, Prince RedSmoke’s new EP Organic Blue has a sense of confidence backing every lyrical and musical statement it makes this August – and let me tell you, it’s not lacking in ambitiousness by any critical measurement. “Michael Phelps” turns up the G harmonies to an excessively high temp, but the playful bassline and ethereal melodic subtext created by the synths never distract from the fluidity of Prince RedSmoke’s lyricism.


He’s on top of these verses like he’s been in this game since the day he was born, and despite a little bit of pushback from the bass towards the conclusion of the track, he always sounds like the most prominent and defining element of any given performance here. His swagger is inescapable; whether he’s getting dirty with this opening cut in Organic Blue or expressing himself in more vulnerable terms in a song like “Lean On Me,” his confidence is the most consistently effective part of this tracklist. It influences how we read the greater narrative here and, more specifically, what kind of a future we can expect from this player. 

Though it’s the longest song on the record by approximately fourteen seconds, “Chemicals in My Food” (3:42) plays out with a simplicity that makes it feel even shorter and sweeter than the aforementioned “Michael Phelps” (3:05) is. This is mostly because of how focused an attack Prince RedSmoke is producing for us in every capacity of the recording process here, but it’s also because of how well-arranged all the instruments comprising this piece really are. 

Organic Blue has a couple of moments that press the limits of conventionality within a pop context, but make no mistake about it – this is something that suits the radio as much as it does those late-night drives where you don’t need anything more than asphalt in front of you and a smoke in the ashtray to feel centered and in the position to finally do some serious contemplating. It’s not common to find this kind of introspection in a hip-hop EP nowadays, but let’s be honest – Prince RedSmoke is so much more than a melodic rapper trying to make a name for himself in the competitive era we know in 2021. 


With no features and four distinct songs to illustrate everything going on in his head right now, it’s unsurprising that this player was able to turn in something as evocative as Organic Blue is. That said, I don’t believe I was anticipating Prince RedSmoke coming into his own as emphatically as he is in this third official release to bear his moniker on the cover. From the balladic “All of You” to the muscly “Michael Phelps,” this artist gives us as much of his heart and soul as can be broken off from inside of a recording studio, and if this is just a taste of what his future is going to look like, he’s got a lot of success waiting for him in the years to come. 

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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