Album Review: “GreySkies Are Smokescreens” By Sizz The Truth

Two years ago, Sizz The Truth offered a glimpse into his art with “The Whole Truth”, a 10 track album that had features from Ko-Jo Cue and Cina Soul. The tape also boasted some notable records like “Never Told”, “Longest Round” and “Fatality”. It also exhibited Sizz’s love for melodious rap. In our review of the album, we described Sizz The Truth as “an artist with potential”.

“GreySkies Are Smokescreens”, the latest offering from Sizz The Truth reads like a title of a motivational book. The phrase, or something close to that has been invoked numerous times as golden words of assurance, hope, motivation. It is used to sooth ones feelings when you tumble in life. The phrase cast a picture of a blissful future. Never mind the stylistic way Sizz The Truth (born Osman El-alawa) wrote the title. The import of the phrase is never diluted.

This is evidently presented on the second record of the EP “Be Yourself”. “Cut from a different cloth/Concrete floor is where I rose from/So I’m not part of your bouquet or the rose bounds”. Over a mellow hip hop beat garnished with a well-chopped sample that bellows out the hook, “Be Yourself”, like the title indicates is Sizz itemizing why he is staying true to himself- not bending to anyone’s caprices, believing in himself and his mission. “GreySkies” is a hip hop project hoisted on boom-bap and trap beats. Sizz The Truth adopts a sing-rap style to deliver his missives about life, success and love gathered through personal experiences or keen observations.

On the tape opener “Gabba”, he emphasizes the belaboured yet relatable truth about how ‘money and success attract friends’. Sizz points out how these friends bail out when you really need them in these bars: “When its ready they’ll come for a piece of pie/They couldn’t lend a shoulder to cry on when I needed a few niggas to cry on”, Sizz reveals. The hook of the song knots the theme of the record together.

“Bandz” draws attention to Sizz The Truth’s storytelling skills. In short lyrical strokes, he paints a picture of an unnamed lady who sleeps around for money. What is interesting is that her actions are premeditated. The story curve on “Bandz” bears semblance with Kendrick Lamar’s second verse on “Sing About Me” and parts of the story told by Nas on “Another Black Girl Lost”, not in terms of lyrical depth or its pristine picturesque presentation but the realness of the story.

Closing the tape is “Real Date” (HoePhase). The story arc on the record extends the narrative on “Bandz”. Sizz The Truth tells the story of a woman who is ready for a lasting relationship after completing her hoe phase. Despite her past, Sizz is ready to roll with her: “Anytime I no dey, she dey think about me all day”, he purrs on the hook of this fast-paced tune, adding: “she’s done with her hoe phase, she’s now doing real dates”.

On the melody centred tape, Sizz expresses himself, touching on the highs and lows of life. As I listened, I found myself wondering what his intentions are with regards to the release. Is it to remind people he is still around? Is he releasing songs as a way of preparing fans for a full album?

“Greyskies Are Smokescreens” does not have major leads that would drag the tape towards the mainstream. Perhaps, that’s not his intention. Whatever they are, Sizz is building his career one level at a time. And, of course they would be bumps. But they are nothing short of smokescreens to something great.