“…with an aesthetic very similar to Avatar: The Last Airbender, when the world needed him the most, he vanished.”
Corbin Smidzik, previously known as Spooky Black, has kept us in mystery since the start of his career in 2013. During his most active year, 2014, Corbin created an enormous amount of buzz with people even asking is Spooky Black going to takeover the R&B game? and high praises from Noisey, “pretty impressive…” , and Complex, “one of the best songs of 2014” , on popular hit “Without U”. But with an aesthetic very similar to Avatar: The Last Airbender, when the world needed him the most, he vanished.
Corbin is known to keep quiet on social media. Having only posted one picture on his Instagram account in 2014, and a Twitter account thats most recent use is to retweet his fellow bandmates in thestand4rd, it’s safe to assume anything he is working on we won’t hear about it until it’s complete. If artists on a long hiatus tells us anything i.e. Frank Ocean, it’s that their next work will be worth the wait. Here’s a look back on his great run in 2014 while we await for his return.
Black Silk (March 2014)
In early March of 2014, Corbin, under his former guise of Spooky Black, releases his debut R&B mixtape, Black Silk. The ten-track project is the soundtrack of heartbreak, something that could only be crafted through isolation and ardent sentiment- the formula of an artists best work and something Corbin happens to be very fond of. Corbin’s attraction to isolation, as expressed in an article by i-D, is an ongoing theme in his music and is even made apparent on the cover of Black Silk. Listen to the mixtape below.
“Without U”, Music Video (March 2014)
I’ve never taken a white kid in a do-rag seriously until the release of the “Without U” music video. The music video is VHS-esque with Corbin adding to the vintage look with crooning that floats across the video’s scenary. The opening scene gives off serious 90’s R&B vibes with just a pinch of meme as it seamlessly transitions to Corbin standing in snow covered woods. There’s no doubt about “Without U” being the big track of the Black Silk mixtape. This music video reinforces that fact. Watch the music video below.
Leaving EP (August 2014)
To keep the momentum going from Black Silk, Corbin releases his eight-track EP, Leaving. The EP was mixed by frequent Weeknd collaborator, Doc Mckinney. In Corbin’s best salt bae impression, he titles, or garnishes rather, the last track “DJ Khaled is My Father”. Leaving is an echo and more focused version of his debut R&B work but a necessary follow up. Listen to Leaving below.
First Show (November 2014)
The collective Rap/R&B group, thestand4rd consists of Allan Kingdom, Bobby Raps, Psymun, and our hero, Spooky Black. In mid October Corbin took to Twitter to reveal, he, along with the rest of thestand4rd, would be going on tour, Corbin’s first. The tour kicked off in November with the first stop being the group’s hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. Was all the hype just an internet fluke? After watching the video below I think you’ll have reached the same conclusion I have.
Spooky Black to Corbin (December 2014)
Post tour, Corbin released a song called “Worn”, not under the name of Spooky Black, but instead what he intends to now be called, Corbin. He explains never really being attahced to the name Spooky Black in an article on i-D. Here’s the last song he released to top off a great year and the first under the name Corbin.
Corbin’s amazing 2014 run was extremely impressive. No doubt about it, 2014 was his most active year and with no verbal hints of another great run, we can take his silence as the biggest hint. Corbin’s personality and creativity isn’t contrived on public moves, rather, just the opposite. Still, there’s no shame in anxiously waiting.