If you’re not already familiar with his story, ATL Smook is a rapper who hails from North Carolina and used to have a rap nom de plume that reflected as much. He’s been a rapper from Atlanta much longer than from North Cackalacky though, so by the time of “Still High From Yesterday” I felt like +I+ was still high trying to place why he seemed so familiar. I pulled up my review from three years ago and found some eerily prescient words in the final paragraph.

“The nicest thing I can say is that he’s no more or less narcissistic, misogynistic, pilled up and pitch shifted than any of his contemporaries. He’ll do fine on his own, but he won’t change the game.”

Newcomers may find the contents of “Still High From Yesterday” acceptable, but I was dismayed by how little artistic growth he had made in the intervening years. In fact one could argue songs like “Crazy” actually show regression. He repeats the title of the song a shit ton of times before the first verse, which unintentionally becomes the track’s high point, because he mumbles his way through verses so heavily modulated that he’s nearly indecipherable. Actually… I think he might be. I tried going to a well known lyric website for their interpretation and it “hadn’t been released” yet, which means either nobody tried… or nobody wanted to.

There’s both good news and bad news about the album’s lead single “Don’t Be a Fool.” The positive is that AltoSGP turns in a bass heavy track that could rattle even the most laced subwoofers in Miami. The bad news is that Smook is so soft spoken you can barely hear him over the track. After rewinding as many times as I could I started to pick out bars like “I really don’t need too much, thank God I’m alive/RIP them members, had to put one up in the sky.” Smook may be paying tribute to his homies, but he’s not decreasing the body count for other people’s homies. “I got shooters that’s gon’ shoot, that’s what they do/I be with some rude guys, they gon’ ride for the Smook.”

When Smook says “Got too high on that drank/I can’t even roll” on “Batman Coupe” I believe him. This is a case of truth in advertising. The cover of “Still High From Yesterday” shows Smook swimming in an ocean of syrup and pills. The delivery sounds just as medicated, lacking even the minimum amount of enthusiasm that Alto’s impressive boom demands on songs like “Curtis Snow.” I can’t even say ATL Smook is phoning it in though. That would be factually incorrect. I think this is Smook trying his damn hardest but being so completely blown on meds that he’s got no rizz. I’m not mad about it but I do think it’s regrettable that he’s going to sleepwalk his way through life… or wind up paying the same price for his addictions that Big Moe, DJ Screw and Juice WRLD did. I hope that’s not the case.

ATL Smook :: Still High From Yesterday
5Overall Score