Smoke & Mirrors is the first in a line from me, Shanetron. I want to clarify that this is the first recording I’m publicly releasing. It exists because a friend once asked me to perform for a basement/attic party in the summer of 2007. I accepted the offer, and parts and pieces of that performance have inspired this record. The original performance was a slew of live mash-ups made from various acapellas and pop samples that I personally enjoyed.
I began to experiment with that sound, but I found it tiring, as there were so many other artists doing it at the time. I didn’t want to be known for doing a variation of what others were doing; I wanted to be different. I wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, because the wheel wasn’t what I wanted. Smoke & Mirrors is the first audio work I’ve created with this mindset. It contains original production, additional instrumentation to previously recorded songs, and most importantly, it creates and maintains a narrative. The narrative shows a character in a quarter-life-crisis, going through the motions and coming to terms with their past, present, and the world around them. Ultimately, the protagonist begins to realize the consequences of their actions, and the price paid for an arguably attractive lifestyle. It’s pieced together with dialogue from multiple films, and it ends with the idea that things are not as what they always seem, which is where the title, Smoke & Mirrors, comes from.
The narrative is key to my style. I personally enjoy cohesive works that show a progression, in which what you start with is not what you’ll end up with. This is not often seen in hip hop, by album, at least, which usually shows an artist in an exact moment, and doesn’t allow for such progression. The closest the world got to this idea of progression is when Dr. Dre’s Detox album was rumored to be a concept album, witch each emcee performing as a character. Whether or not Detox will abide that particular format remains to be seen, but the damage has been done: the rumor greatly inspired me. I took it upon myself to create a narrative. I cycled through the sounds that have been embedded in my brain, working with what I know best. I then took to assembling, at first, matching up samples and verses, and then filling in the blanks with my own production
Originally, I intended to release this as part one of a three part album. I am choosing to release them separately to keep them distinct, and free from the thought of how such an album would be weighted.
Finally, Smoke & Mirrors is available, while subsequent recordings are entering various levels of completion. I hope you enjoy this record. If you do, look forward to more recordings.