Today is Valentine’s Day to all, but to 19-year old emcee DHANTÉ fans, future and present, it’s his birthday and the day he drops the visuals to “Can’t We Smile.” DHANTÉ grew up on Long Island and in Flatbush, Brooklyn to a Guyanese father and Jamaican mother with soca, reggae, and dancehall being played in his household. Outside of the house, BK (Brooklyn, for those out-of-the-know) impacted his music, drawing influence from rap collective Pro Era. Before turning to rap, he was a singer, but fell in love with emceeing almost immediately after a studio invitation.
“Can’t We Smile,” as DHANTÉ accurately states, has a dark, boom bap sound. Highlighting his hustle, the hook speaks about how hard he’s been working. One of his lines captures the feeling of being an outsider in society, sometimes only living within our physical reality in his head, keeping his plans internalized.
Existentially speaking about how little time he has, despite his young age, DHANTÉ feels like he’s running out of moments and pours that into this track. Another one of the lines says “they sinning in the back of churches, can’t trust nobody nowadays, even the pastor lurking,” highlighting the sad reality that even those who are supposed to be beacons of light have dark sides. He’s a versatile spitter who’s able to make anything from “drill music” to classic, jazz-centric rap.
The song also speaks about some of the love he’s been receiving and how he’s been assembling a team to forge his path. Interestingly, he met one of his friends and producers on a Joey Bada$$ post. He’s currently creating a collective called “Hallelujah Entertainment,” including his brother, Stefan, a highly skilled cameraman, who did the visuals to the track, and working with his friends Connor and Tyler who are both producers, STiCK who he’s cooking up tracks with, and his good homie Daelin.