Let me tell you something: “Big Smile” is my album selection for the offering. I always imagine, “What if there is one piece of music that outlives our society?” At the current moment, Big Flowers’ “Big Smile” is the best candidate. The features are outstanding; the production is impeccable; the chemistry is infectious. If the world were to end today, this album can be said to have some of the hottest artists coming up from the East coast. Big Flowers, a Buffalo-based multidisciplinary artist, assembled heads like Pink Siifu, Deem Spencer, Elijah Bank$y, Chango4, E L U C I D, and more. The project began circulating the streets March 29, 2021, with physical cassette copies available. I’m definitely buying mine for those end of the world tunes after the internet collapses.
Until then, “Big Smile” is available for purchase on Bandcamp. The beauty of this tape is truly in the numbers. Aside from a great supporting cast of features, production is masterfully handled by talents including but not limited to Pleasant Sherman, BLVCKMANCOWBOY, Pepper Adams, frowns5000, and Big Flowers himself.
With so many different entities on one tape, how could Flowers possibly unify them to make one cohesive listen-through? My guess is that it starts with the production. Altogether, this is the kind of album that I love to see paired with a dope ass VCR edit on YouTube (this and a blunt?) Each instrumental is extraordinary when compared to the others, yet, they all belong together. I want to chalk that up to Flowers, being able to culminate beats that fit together while standing so far apart. Flowers chose, and crafted himself, beats smoother than butter, and about as abstract as the definition of the word allows.
I wish that Bandcamp would incorporate the replay feature. What frowns5000 did with ‘postpone’, featuring brwnsounds, is unforgivable unless they do it again. It’s the perfect lo-fi beat for that bus ride home when the sky looks like it was painted by God themself. I could honestly listen to it on loop for an hour. On the same note, Flowers and brwnsounds definitely came through with their Sunday’s best. Flowers walks all over the beat with his usual tactical onslaught of lyrics. For example, “Pay me no mind, cause that’s some type of currency,” slipped in there so discreetly, but now it’s a line I will always listen out for. And Brwnsounds is absolutely correct, “Luther Vandross is never too much.”
For now, it’s unsung to me how each feature landed on their final resting track, but I wouldn’t have it any other way (for this tape). I’ve spoken with Chango4 about her amazing vocals, before realizing she gifted some to Flowers on this tape. They provide a sound; a feeling that cannot be heard or felt anywhere else on the tape, making ‘medusa’ one of my favorite tracks.
One of my favorite things about this project is that everyone is bearing their soul. These are not random feature; I can tell these artists fuck with Flowers, and vice versa. There’s not a feature on here that feels like lackadaisical, and I have half-a-mind to know that Flowers wouldn’t even have left it for the final cut. One of said features is Diani on ‘often sedated (i’m sorry)’. “I’m really nothing to fuck with. See with my own two eyes you on some fuck shit,” enlightening any goobers about her awareness of their goober activity.
There’s enough of “Big Smile” to marvel at for an entire novel. Each and every artist featured, in any regard, put their foot in this one. The kind of archaeological work needed to uncover the mysteries behind each of these songs would be extensive, yet much appreciated (I’m sure one conversation with Flowers could clear that up). With such a formidable lineup, you can delve into any of their catalogs as a follow-up to “Big Smile,” including Flowers’ himself. And while you’re at it, buy some of his beats. After listening to that tape (and following him on social media), I know that he is skillful beyond comparison.
I’ll be the first to say it: I want a “Big Smile 2,” because the end of the world will be pretty fucking long, rough, and insanity-inducing unless I’ve got some tunes. Already, Big Flowers has proved he’s got us covered with the soundtrack.