No one would argue that Dev Hynes isn't tapped into the zeitgeist, especially in terms of his collaborations.
As Blood Orange, Hynes has applied his soul-indebted songwriting and production style to of-the-moment icons ranging from Sky Ferreira to Solange and bonafide legends — he recently produced Mariah Carey's Caution track with Slick Rick, "Giving Me Life."
On his newly retooled "Smoke" remix, the original appeared on his critically acclaimed latest album Negro Swan — Hynes enlists Yves Tumor and Ian Isiah, our favorite new R&B star. In the song's initial form, it relies on a nuanced simplicity, with spare lyrics including, "The sun comes in/ My heart fulfills within." It was also the finale on an album chronicling, specifically, queer Black depression. So, it's fitting that this song's collaborators represent a range of queer Black experience.
In the revamp, over spacey, brooding beats, "Smoke" muses about loss and powerlessness. "Have you ever lost somebody/ felt so helpless," Yves Tumor sings, before joining with Ian Isiah on the penultimate verse to sing the song's initial "sun comes in" refrain.
Hynes closes the song with a powerful verse about grappling with the untimely death of Mac Miller, rapping about regret. "You invited me over and I was overcome with feelings of being done/ but wanted to waste my time... with my regret RIP my boy Mac" and this kicker: "I couldn't even prepare for the loss/ What could I do but cry?"
Listen to the heartfelt "Smoke" remix below, and catch his "Charcoal Baby" performance from last night on Fallon.
Photo via Instagram