When Smoke Rises

Mustafa - When Smoke Rises
Critic Score
Based on 6 reviews
2021 Ratings: #131 / 513
User Score
Based on 140 ratings
2021 Ratings: #245
Liked by 10 people
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When Smoke Rises is a succinct and well-crafted album that serves to tell the story of Mustafa's pain, grief and loss in way that honours his unique voice.

Evening Standard

It’s very sad, and very beautiful, a fitting tribute to the many departed.

Rolling Stone

Mustafa’s choice to sing of hood tragedy in folk music is effective, not only because it is beautiful and stirring, but because it feels unexpected.


When Smoke Rises reasserts the sincerity that brought Ahmed stardom: He needs little more than his voice to captivate.

The Observer

Soft and wounded, and bearing the faintest echo of Islamic devotional songs, Mustafa’s delivery hits a bruised place somewhere between 21st-century folk and bereft R&B.

When Smoke Rises isn't amazing and can be a little one-dimensional, but nevertheless this is still a very impressive and promising album that puts Mustafa’s talent and potential on full display.

I had heard of Mustafa, and I already had heard Air Forces before hearing this album, but I didn’t know much else about Mustafa. I wasn’t a big fan of Air Forces as a single though, but when deciding if I wanted to listen to this album, I listened to the song again and it clicked with ... read more
For a debut from an artist that's already pretty well known and admired in many circles, I did expect a little more from When Smoke Rises. Mustafa does play it safe and to his strengths. What it lacks musically, it makes up for lyrically, emotionally & spiritually.
Enough to make an emotionally fragile AOTY user who makes music his whole personality cry
Mustafa has such a beautiful voice and this album accompanied him with minimal ambient guitars and it sounds very nice! I think it would've benefitted him to try to attempt a little more outside of his comfort zone and experiment a bit, but this definitely gives people a taste of what he's capable of.

Favorite tracks: Stay Alive, Air Forces, Separate, Capo, Ali,
Least favorite: The Hearse
Stay Alive - 4/5
Air Forces - 5/5 ❤
Separate - 3/5
The Hearse - 4/5
Capo (feat. Sampha) - 4/5
Ali - 4/5
What About Heaven - 3/5
Come Back - 4/5
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Contributions By
MarkyC, anztec, grayson

Added on: March 30, 2021