Thanks to the massive wave of innovative music being swelling out of the Windy City, it's easy to forget about Chicago's rich musical history. For those who haven't visited a record store, heard of the plethora of blues lawsuits, or at least seen the terrible Beyonce movie, Cadillac Records, hip hop and it's darker offspring, drill, might be all that is easily associated with the Second City. However heart wrenching this tragedy may be, it does give listeners virgin ears for the young upstarts who are attempting to revive the alternative sounds that have called the city home for years. Smoko Ono, although still influenced by more modern iterations of hip hop, is one of those exciting artists borrowing from his hometowns ample bag of tricks.
Both house music and juke have their start in Chicago, something that Ono is keenly aware of and takes pride in. His latest track "Road Runner" is as much of an ode to DJ Rashad footwork scene (exemplified in those fast paced pounding kick drums) as it is modern R&B. Njomza delivers a solid vocal performance, but is easily overshadowed by Ono's astonishingly detailed production; she rides the track well, but never knocks it out of the park or makes it full hers.
There are moments during this record that once discovered, will have you singing Ono's praises. From the subtle guitar pluck that comes in towards the back end, every time the drums are about to drop, to the strange time the hats seem to be one, it all works together to create a vibrant soundscape. It will remind, those who have forgotten, that there are people in Chicago that like to dance and just have all around good time.
Smoko Ono claims to be the flexologist, which rings true on "Road Runner". He will have you moving your body, no matter how reluctant you are. Check out the track and then head over to his soundcloud for more great music. Keep your eye out for this guy in the upcoming future.