Na-Kel Smith may be best known outside hip-hop for his role in Jonah Hill’s 2018 directorial debut Mid90s, but those in the know will recognize him as an accomplished rapper who was closely associated with Tyler The Creator and his Odd Future crew in the early 2010s. Since then, he’s self-released four albums under his A Dream No Longer Deferred Records imprint, making occasional guest appearances throughout the years on projects from underground rap peers like Pink Siifu, Zelooperz, Eyedress, and most notably, Earl Sweatshirt.
Today, he pops up on UPROXX Sessions to perform “Prayer” from his most recent album, Skullface Bonehead. Released in January this year, the project is an anti-establishment Quickstrike of eight tracks that clock in at just 14 minutes. Similar to his compatriot Earl Sweatshirt, he eschews conventional beats, opts for headier subject matter, and highlights displays of deft wordplay over catchy hooks. “Prayer” is a perfect example of these tendencies, as Na-Kel growls, “For the game, put in pain like you own it / You gon’ change even if you don’t wanna / Be it not for the worst, but the better / Never ride, but keep stacking your cheddar.”
Watch Na-Kel Smith’s gruff performance of “Prayer” above.
UPROXX Sessions is Uproxx’s performance show featuring the hottest up-and-coming acts you should keep an eye on. Featuring creative direction from LA promotion collective, Ham On Everything, and taking place on our “bathroom” set designed and painted by Julian Gross, UPROXX Sessions is a showcase of some of our favorite performers, who just might soon be yours, too.