S. Raekwon, “I Like it When You Smile”
By Antoinette Isama · September 08, 2022 Merch for this release:

Where I’m at Now, the 2021 debut album from S. Raekwon, was the kind of album that tracked life’s ebbs and flows. S. Raekwon was raw and vulnerable throughout, a result of his reconnection with the side of his extended family he didn’t have access to growing up as a biracial Black boy. He’s been doing what many call “the work” within himself, continuing to break down and build back up aspects of his identity, and his latest EP I Like It When You Smile finds him rediscovering his place in the world.

Opener “Talk” is a bright boom-bap love song on which Raekwon layers straightforward, melodic phrases on piano and a gritty electric bass and guitar beneath introspective lyrics. The perspective shifts on “Honey,” a “temperature check” between lovers. “Can you say that we’re good?” Raekwon sings over cascading acoustic guitar and a steady bass drum. The EP peaks with “Tomorrow,” a track that wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack to an ‘80s coming-of-age film. The song is full of dreamlike harmonies as Raekwon emerges from the ashes of a breakup by reflecting on the good times. I Like It When You Smile navigates love and relationships with optimism in tow—finding comfort in the unknown, and hope in not having to navigate it alone.


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