Album Review | Rich Jones & Iceberg Theory – Smoke Detector

This album was released on June 15th this year. Rich Jones is an artist who’s been popping up on a lot of really dope underground releases that I’ve reviewed over the past year or so. The first song that comes to mind is Idiosyncratic by Duncecap, but he’s also been featured on projects from guys like Bloodmoney Perez, Defcee & Sleep Sinatra. I’ve enjoyed all of the features I’ve heard from him up to this point, but I’ve yet to hear a solo track from him, so I don’t really know what to expect from his music. I know he can rap and sing though, so I guess I have kind of an idea of what this project will sound like. I’m a giant fan of Iceberg Theory‘s rapping, but he’s been impressing me a lot with his production skills lately. If I had to guess, I’d say that this is gonna be a really chill, jazzy project that would be perfect to shmoke weed to, but, like I said, I’ve only heard Rich Jones on features in the past, so I could be wrong. I just feel like it’ll be really surprising if this is a super aggressive, bombastic record. Anything’s possible though I suppose. Just to be clear, Iceberg Theory is the one who produced all the songs, and Rich Jones is on the mic. I’m going into this project with a clear mind, but I’ll be shocked if I don’t enjoy it to some extent.

The album begins with a track called Chilly, which has a really nice, jazzy instrumental.

The horn loop here sounds really calm and relaxing, and Rich Jones sounds great over it. Both of the verses from him are very good, but my favorite aspect of this song is definitely the sung hook. It just sounds really goddamn good. This song gives me the same feeling that I imagine I’d get if I were to drink a fresh cup of coffee while watching a sunrise. It’s a very chill, relaxing song. I think it’s really dope. The following track is called Tuna Melt, and it features Davis the Dorchester Bully. Once again, the production is really nice and jazzy. The first verse from Davis is really dope too. That line about the Devil chasing him down with a golden noose was really cool. The second verse from Rich Jones was also very good. I don’t really know that I have a preference between the two verses here. They’re both equally good in my opinion. This isn’t really a highlight for me on the album at all, but I definitely enjoyed it to some extent. I think it’s very good. The following track is entitled Talk to the Hand, and it features Joshua Virtue & IL. Subliminal. I really love how dusty and rough the percussion on this track sounds, and the woodwind loop sounds really nice too. The first verse from Rich Jones is dope.

At your own peril
Moved past caring if I’m being transparent and the path is feeling narrow
Squeezed, time, space, love plus money trees
Check please, turning at the cemetery for my pet peeves
Leaving things dead and buried
Birds getting drunk off juniper berries

I think the second verse is performed by Joshua Virtue, but I could be wrong because I wasn’t familiar with them prior to hearing this record. I mean, I’d seen their name floating around Twitter, but this was my first time actually hearing them rap. I really enjoyed their verse here though.

Funny how life is mad expensive, yet the violence free
Headless niggas waddle down the street, reminds me of me
Too upset to go to bed, and then too tired to sleep
Too hungry to hit the blunt and then I’m too high to eat

The final verse from IL. Subliminal is actually my favorite part of the song though. I feel like they had a really technically-sound performance here.

Gumshoe gung fu, swine flu Mooshoo
Dumb smooth, fly tooth, hung to time booth
Phantom toll, atom stole, matador actin' swole
In Madripor Landau, Luckman, and Lake
Asshole stuck in the cake
Clams be fuckin' the bake
Royal Casino, don’t seem so evil when the dead walk awake
Hold my phone, people, I’m goin' to take my bitter time
Spit a rhyme in the grime, get in line for the brine
Vinegar state, I’m 'bout to swim on a date

Their flow was really nice. Overall, this is a really dope track to me. Again, I love how hard-hitting and rugged the drums sound, and all of the verses are very good to me. The following track is called Speed Bump. This track’s got one of the weirder beats on the album in my opinion, but in a good way. It’s kind of noisy and Electronic-sounding. I love the melody when Rich sings “speed bump ahead.” This track kinda sounds like an interlude just because it’s under two minutes long, but it doesn’t sound incomplete at all. There’s still time for a hook and a full verse.

Was on a mission for a minute
Somethin' was missin'
Unidentified objects of desire detected, but un-inspected
Expectin' imminence diminishin' by the second

It’s another really dope track. My favorite aspect of the song is definitely the hook along with the weird production. I fuck with it. The following track is an instrumental entitled Life Goes On. It’d already be an enjoyable beat to me on its own, but the addition of the rain and thunder sounds really added a lot to it for me. I appreciate the lack of percussion too. I feel like if there were drums I’d be wondering why it was just left as an instrumental. Anyway, this isn’t really a highlight on the album just because it’s pretty uneventful compared to every other song, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. I think it’s a good song. The next track is called Blankets, and I think it’s amazing. I love everything about this track. It’s easily got my favorite beat on the album, and Rich Jones’ singing over it sounds phenomenal. The first verse is great, and the vocals from Yomí are beautiful. This song also contains what might actually be my favorite Curly Castro verse of all time. He fucking killed this shit. As soon as I heard the opening couplet I was hooked.

Most people want a third eye, I want a third tongue
Speak the unspoken we lost once the Earth's done

This feels like the most ambitious song on the album because it has so many features and is 7 minutes long. I think they knocked it outta the park. The third verse from Semiratruth is really good, and the way the beat builds after their performance is gorgeous. The song also features an artist named Reno Cruz, who I assume is the one who performed the electric guitar outro. Everything about this song is absolutely stunning. This is one of the best songs I’ve heard all year honestly. I think it’s dope af. Track 7 is another highlight called Dream Life. I really like the melodic, kind of poppy production, and Rich Jones’ singing sounds gorgeous over it. He doesn’t rap on this track, but I don’t even mind because the singing is so good. I particularly love the hook.

Take me back please, take me back please
Take me back please, take me back please
Take me back please, take me back please
To my dream life

The song’s got a very straightforward structure, but the production and singing are too good for me to care. I love this song. I think it’s dope as hell. The following track is a more rap-centric song entitled 600 Paid, and it features Convertible Ashley. I really like the way both of the MCs on this track trade bars. There are a lot of lines that stood out to me on this track, particularly from Convertible Ashley.

Got 'em shakin' like a Spirit airplane when it lands

The production from Iceberg Theory is very good too. This song doesn’t stand out to me that much from the rest of the tracklist, but I definitely enjoyed it overall. I think it’s a good song. It just feels kinda brief, despite not being the shortest song on the album. I fuck with it though. The next song is called Have You Tried Turning It Off & Back on Again? Once again, I really love the hard-hitting, dusty percussion here. The first verse is really dope, and I love the sung hook on this track. The second verse is even better than the first one in my opinion.

Whiskey and a beer was a potion for me
Until my gut's too hurt, actin' way too sure about the route that I'm lured
What's the allure when you're most secure in a state too blurred to recall the words?
Then you share 'em with a person who swear is your family
4:30 AM, everybody's rambling

The song’s got a very straightforward structure, and is under two minutes long. I think the brevity works to the song’s benefit though because the beat doesn’t really switch up at any point; it probably would’ve gotten old if the song was any longer. I think it’s a dope track overall. Track 10 is called Party Time, and it was one of the more exciting tracks for me because it features Defcee. The production is pretty groovy and lighthearted-sounding. I fuck with this beat. The first verse from Rich Jones is really great too. I think this song has some of his best rapping on the whole album honestly.

Thought it was a given that I'd see next Summer
The way we disappear, I'm startin' to wonder
What's around every corner, got my neck feelin' sore
From lookin' over my shoulder on the way to the store
What for, what for? I don't wanna guess
Dirty butter or they didn't like the smell of my breath

Defcee of course murdered the second verse too. That dude is seriously one of the best rappers alive right now. The song is really dope overall. Track 11 is called Be Kind, and it’s got a very pretty instrumental. I really fuck with the general sentiment behind this track. The first verse is performed by someone named Lord Cartel, with whom I was previously unfamiliar. I really enjoyed their performance on this track though. Rich Jones killed this track too. I think this song has more of his best rapping on the album. I really like the sung hook too. I don’t really have any gripes with this track at all. I think it’s really dope. The penultimate song is entitled There Are 2 of You. This song has one of the prettiest beats on the album in my opinion. I really love this instrumental. Rich Jones is vocally absent from this song; the entire track just consists of a French woman speaking. I assume it’s a clip from a movie or a TV show, but I’m not totally sure. Anyway, this is a really dope interlude to me. Again, I think the production is fantastic. The closing track is a highlight called See You All the Time. This is definitely my second favorite song on the album. I love the production, and Rich Jones’ singing sounds great over it. He doesn’t really rap on this song at all; the entire track is just him singing, which I don’t mind at all. I think this song makes a lot of sense as an outro. It’s a pretty lighthearted, feel good song. It’s definitely going in my happy playlist. I think it’s dope as hell.

This album is great. There’s not a single track that I don’t like here. I think this is the first time I’ve covered a project that Iceberg Theory has fully produced. I’ve always enjoyed his production to some extent, but I think this is some of his best work behind the boards. I was really blown away by some of the beats he provided here. Rich Jones sounds perfect over them too. I can’t think of any other artist who I would’ve preferred over this batch of instrumentals. I feel like Iceberg Theory really understands the type of sound that Rich Jones thrives over. I really love Rich Jones’ singing voice too. There are a lot of really great hooks on this project. This is the first time I’ve listened to a release from Rich Jones, so I don’t know how it compares with his other work, but I honestly don’t know if I’d wanna hear him over anyone else’s production. He sounds right at home over these beats from Iceberg Theory. I’m lovin’ this project like McDonalds. Check it out and let me know what you think of it. It’s really dope to me.

Favorite Song: Blankets
Least Favorite Song: 600 Paid


Grade: B+

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