Mike Smith’s rap album
Did you know that Suffocation drummer Mike Smith made a rap album? Neither did I until recently. As "Grimm Real," Smith made Demise of the Clone in 1999, when he was out of Suffocation. Here's an excerpt from an interview from several years ago.
I'm a lyricist so I had a lot of time on my hands and I used it to put together some songs on top of metal tracks, even some Suffocation ones. The reason I did was because I hated the way rappers started putting hip-hop lyrics on top of metal tracks, when they know nothing of what they are doing and calling it something new. So I got pissed off about it and I recorded some tracks. I was even approached by Sony to put it out but I decided not to. Word got out that I did this though and so the fans want to hear it.
I certainly wanted to hear it. Few things make me smile like celebrity music albums. But Smith's record — the few tracks I heard, anyway — was not the trainwreck I expected. In fact, it's completely respectable late-'90s underground New York hip-hop. With dramatic pianos, strings, and synths (all played by Smith), the production recalls the Wu-Tang Clan and Gravediggaz. Smith's flow is wordy but skilled. It is also rather hostile. As one review put it, "Just about every song on here is about how wack everyone else in the industry is. This guy really needs to smile sometime."
Here are three tracks I found from the album. I didn't feel like shelling out big bucks for the CD on Amazon. (But if you do, go here.) Someone needs to reissue it, perhaps with new material and liner notes by Smith...ah, who am I kidding. Smith belongs in Suffocation, not behind the mic. But maybe in some alternate universe he is to Long Island what Snoop Dogg is to Long Beach.
- Cosmo Lee