Tiara Thomas could be considered one of the most slept on artists of our time. In the past couple of years, the Indianapolis native made a name for herself through her memorable collaborations with one of hip hop’s most conscious voices, Wale. Raw and authentic in every sense of the word, Thomas is a true force to be reckoned with and she proves it on her latest release, Up In Smoke.
Thomas opens with "My Ways," reiterating similar sentiments to the breakout 2013 hit “Bad” she recorded with Wale. She once again recounts what seems to be her inability to love, while hinting at a love of a “good time.” This time around, she justifies her ways by stating that she’s a good girl “on the low” but lacks trust. While “Get Blowed” and “Mary Jane” may on the surface both seem like odes to cannabis, the first plays up her sexual side while the latter is a catchy and clever personification of the sticky icky.
Getting a bit inquisitive on “Something Else,” this track is representative of Thomas’s vulnerability. But don’t get it twisted, she’s quick to check the haters on the fiery “On Me.” She literally breathes conviction as she sings, “There’s no way you put your weight on me / You can’t throw the shade on me, on me / Can’t put a label on me, on me / Can’t put a stain on me, on me.” From addressing haters to calling out an ex-flame on a track ironically titled “Love You Like I Do," Thomas makes it crystal clear her outspoken tendencies apply across the board.
They say to save the best for last, and Thomas did just that by flawlessly ending the opus with “How It Is.” This selection validates the widely known theory that opposites attract as the marriage of sweet, acoustic chords with matter-of-fact, blatantly honest bars midway through happen to be a match made in musical heaven.
While a majority of her subject matter was relatable, what’s most impressive about this project (and Thomas in general) is that she’s reviving a swagged out, hip hop-infused segment of R&B as a one woman show while adding her own unique flair. With an admirable amount of authenticity and layers of talent, Tiara Thomas delivers on this record, and you can expect a rhythmic high all the way through.
Giving serious '90s summertime vibes and straying from the traditional urban pop formula, Thomas produced a project brimming with boldness. Up In Smoke oozes confidence and candor and is the perfect prelude to Tiara Thomas' upcoming album.