After dropping off “Lost My Mind,” a surprise Notorious B.I.G.-tribute last month to coincide with the anniversary of the late Brooklyn rapper’s death, singer Ro James returns with another surprise up his sleeves with the release of his new EP Smoke.
The four-track EP packs a powerful punch as the GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter gives fans more of the sensual lyrics and top-notch vocals that we’ve come to expect. Things kick off with the steamy “Outside the Box (How Bout That)” where we find him making some lucky lady an offer that we’re sure she will find hard to refuse. With lyrics like, “How bout you put them heels on my shoulder / 69 on the sofa / You cummin first like I told ya / I fold ya,” James leaves little to the imagination about what his intentions are. He follows that up with “Special,” where he lets his clear falsetto do much of the heavy lifting as he continues to woo the object of his affections. “Devotion” sticks close to the overarching theme of the album as James works his seduction skills once again. It’ll be hard for anybody to resist the pull and lure of the hypnotic spell he casts on this short but sweet offering. He wraps things up with “Lost My Mind,” which showcases his ability to effortlessly alternate between classic soul and hip-hop while staying 100% true to his self-honed style.
Smoke is the first of James’ two-part project meant to tide fans over as he puts the finishing touches on his full-length sophomore album, which is scheduled to drop later this year. The second EP Mirrors will be released later this spring. For the first installment, he teamed up with producers such as Salaam Remi, Andre Harris, Tricky Stewart and Soundz. Of the two-part project, James explains that both parts serve as two sides of the same coin designed to show his growth since the release of 2016’s ELDORADO. “Smoke is just the intro into the fire. Mirrors is about reflection and self. I’ve been away for a bit recalibrating, growing, and learning,” he says. Stream Smoke below, and if Ro has you all hot and bothered be sure to purchase it to add it to your permanent collection.