Aloha #OTDHipHop fans/supporters/artists whoever and where ever you are!
For today's Mixtape Monday, I'm reviewing The High Times of Cielo Smooth, an old mixtape by Skyy Royal. This project dropped back in 2014 but Skyy wanted me to see what I think listening to it now. So below is my track by track analysis, check it out!
1. Darker Peter Parker (Prod. by D Millz)
Starting off, this track features Skyy Royal doing what he does best - straight storytelling with his smooth style. The beat has an old school vibe with different live instruments playing. True to Skyy’s brand, he is playful at times but can also express serious perspective.
2. Anytime (Prod. by RXN)
This track has an old school feel as well, more like a smooth disco beat with more hip hop drums. It seems like Skyy’s flow on this is like he’s talking to a girl - flirty, seductive, but also genuine and sincere. Hella smooth track. I dig it.
3. Baddest Thing (Prod. by Zuper/Sango)
This track has a sensual feel, inspired by female beauty. The beat has a psychedelic feel in my opinion, and dope lyricism by Skyy. He also samples a little bit of his own singing on here. That’s dope.
4. Dig This! (Prod. by Hocus Pocus)
I’m relieved that this song picks up the pace from the first three tracks. The beat has a west coast Warren G type of vibe, G-Funk type stuff. Skyy continues to smash this track with his dope lyricism and smooth voice. The old school style matches Skyy, but his own personality and flow that he brings is refreshing.
5. “Eruption” Freestyle (Prod. by Prozak Morris)
If I didn’t know this was a freestyle, I would think that these are written lyrics because of how smooth and chill Skyy’s flow is. But this is a dope “break” in the mixtape. He talks about his youth, girls, parties, etc. Dope stuff.
6. Get It How You Live It (Prod. by Ohbliv)
Skyy seems to be inspired a lot by females. This song is another track along the same lines. This time, the story starts off about a girl who works late and does what she needs to do. I think it’s cool that he expresses his male perspective of females and his own feelings, but not just about being in the club and shaking their asses. Definitely has some “adult” connotations, but his tone comes from a deeper mental state versus simply shallow.
7. I Feel Good (Prod. by IAMNOBODI)
This beat has a relaxed feel, with Jazz elements like the saxophone and smooth drums. Skyy is in his element on this track - smooth, seductive, and even sings a little.
8. Lyrical Exercize (Prod. by Wayvee)
This track features Skyy just flowing and having fun on this “lyrical exercise.” The beat seems to be Skyy’s forte, some chill instrumentals and drums.
9. New Shoe Aroma (Prod. by Ackryte)
This beat is hella groovy. You can really hear the 90s influence on Skyy’s flow. He doesn’t seem to ever sound aggressive on his tracks. This song seems to reminisce on childhood memories such as the smell of new shoes out the box. I appreciate that. I’d say that this is a “hip hop culture” type of song.
10. Off the Top (Prod. by Briarcliff Beats)
This beat still has the Jazz and funky smoothness that has been consistent on this project so far. But I’d say that it also has an “trap” feel, as far as the base and other instruments on the beat.
11. Smoked Out (Prod. by S0ulUnreal)
This is a dope joint! Stoney, psychedelic vibes. The beat has a chill classic hip hop style, with more Jazz and soulful elements. There’s a feature from Skyy’s friend in the beginning of the song, and then Skyy comes in singing “I stayyy smoked.” This is another “culture,” type of track, focused on smoking cannabis and relaxing.
12. What? (Prod. by Justice)
This song is probably the most different from all of the tracks on this project thus far. The beat has more of a “house” feel, but largely still hip hop sounding. Skyy raps a lot faster on this one, different from the chill 90s G-Funk style that has been pretty consistent on this project.
13. Expose the Truth (Prod. by Gramatik)
It’s refreshing to hear Skyy rap at a faster pace. I dig his chill, sensual styles that he seems to stick to. But he sounds hella good rapping fast, while still keeping his own smooth style, which is how I’d describe the sound on this track. He sounds more aggressive and shares his perspective on many topics like politics, social media, and society, etc. He goes hella unorthodox with his rhyme patterns on this. I’d say that content and flow-wise, this is my favorite track from The High Times of Cielo Smooth.
14. Magic (Prod. by Tajima Hal)
This beat has a west coast psychedelic vibe, which I dig. Skyy spits well on this one too. I’d like to hear him on newer sounding beats, but this is actually his second project, so it’s cool to get a reference of where he comes from.
15. Mista Funkafide (Prod. by Grooveman Spot)
Another hella groovy beat, and funky vibes from Skyy. What I find interesting is that by listening to Skyy’s vocals, you can’t really tell where he’s from. I mean, he has the west coast G-Funk beats and sticks to those types of beats on this project. But, he is definitely diverse in his sound and content.
This song starts off with what I believe is a female singing, and then Skyy comes in about half way to start rapping. Pretty dope concept. The vocals sound hella good to me!
17. Strange Places (Prod. by Oscar Peanuts)
Love the beat, simple hip hop instrumental. Skyy does what he does best just flowing and storytelling over the beat. Pay attention to how he describes females, so different from what we’re hearing rappers say today!
18. Need Us Like Water (Prod. by Ta-Ku)
Lovin’ the 90s classic style flow from Skyy and the featured artist on here. The contrast from both artists make the song fun to listen to. Great beat too, reminds me of Nas.
19. Stand Still is Defeat
Very similar to the song and pace of “Need Us Like Water.” Skyy definitely has a lot to say about various topics. I like that he can talk about anything and make it relevant to the listener. From politics to women,Skyy has great perspective and lets it flow out. I’d say that this has a subtle inspiring message.
20. Feel It (Prod. by S0ulUnreal)
This song has a spiritual vibe to it. I feel like Skyy is a “new hippie,” similar to the movement that Dizzy Wright and Demrick lead. This collab track reminds me a lot of them.
21. You’re the One I Want (Prod. by Handbook)
This song has a soulful, hip hop beat. Skyy talks about troubles that relationships go through. He has a poetic soul that he puts out on this track.
22. Life is a Beach (Prod. by Sela)
Sonically, I’d say that this is my favorite track on this project. I think it’s a great closing song, and encompasses a lot of the topics and vibes that are consistent on this tape. I dig the wavy, neo-soul elements on the beat, but still very hip hop.
Overall, I'd give this project a 3.8/5 on my "Rap's Lumpia Scale." Considering that Skyy Royal has newer tracks out, this was a great place to start and get introduced to his vibe and style. I dig his choices of beats and general concept for this mixtape, definitely looking forward to reviewing his newer projects.
Independent music blog based in Honolulu, HI. Hotsted by artist/rapper Jehzan Exclusive.