If you follow Rekstizzy on social media, you might have seen his South Korea Twitch steams. While I thought he was going for the experience and spend time with 8BallTown, it actually resulted in his Korea debut, KILLER SMILE. The nine song album has a different tone from his previous tracks, opening a different chapter in his work, and showcasing his unique style in furious form.
Every song on KILLER SMILE has a different producer and while this could have created a disconnected album, there is a definite thread on every song. “Club Anes” is a nice entry, produced by BRLLNT, and introduces Rekstizzy’s flow quickly. The features by sokodomo and Puff Daehee add more dimension towards the back half of the song. It serves to open up KILLER SMILE to new listeners.
The Mike Gao-produced and Dumbfoundead feature, “Mal Do An Dweh” is a different beast. The tonal instrumental is simplistic with wandering tones and the underlying bass beat with Rekstizzy and Dumbfoundead string together phrases that tell a story that all come across as random thoughts. Honestly it’s a weird track that succeeds because of the total artist package.
My favorite track is “Hentai.” Mainly because it’s a strange topic track, but also the GooseBumps production is excellent and Futuristic Swaver and DJ ZO features round out the entire experience. One of the KILLER SMILE consistencies is that the instrumentals don’t overpower the verse and flow. The verses are the main focus of every song and the creativity shows through.
Rekstizzy is also able to show more variety in this full package. His flow style changes depending on the song and the chosen features also bring added value rather than something added without a purpose. “Yori” has a more low-key tempo and instrumental that’s supported with Rekstizzy while Lyricks, Azure, and Ugly Duck add a different quality to life to the track even more.
“Sush” and “DengDengEe” remind me of past released tracks, but with a higher level of confidence. Sometimes on older Rekstizzy tracks, it felt like there was a bit of wandering. KILLER SMILE has a precise target and that’s heard throughout every song. The album isn’t a copy and paste, each song can stand on its own as a good single.
“Fake Laugh” might get the most attention from the Jay Park feature and Awkwafina production. It’s a solid song with one of my favorite instrumentals, but I think other KILLER SMILE songs can outshine it. Directly after “Fake Laugh” is “Saddest Song.”
This is the best song on the album. With KIRIN, WetBoy, and sogumm participating and Viann producing, “Saddest Song” is the most “Korean hip-hop” song of the album. You can hear common elements across other artists, and the low key nature makes it even more addictive. Closing KILLER SMILE, “8BallTown4lyfe” is the outro and appreciation for the label. The R&B production by Jason Lee perfectly supports Rekstizzy’s story across each verse.
Rekstizzy has put forth a huge album. KILLER SMILE represents his perspective as an artist and each producer helped him reach a new plateau. The features all assist in elevating every song while enabling Rekstizzy to center each track. KILLER SMILE isn’t a Rekstizzy rebirth, it’s a presentation of his talent that’s finally able to reveal itself to a wider audience.