smino – St. Louis Rapper Gave The Nikes Off His Feet

I love this shit and I want to be in it. I want to be a part of it. Anybody that knows me knows I got a lot of music, so I’m just used to my music just me sitting on it and not ever using it and it just expires in my head.

smino rapper merch – With Songbyrd And LiveNation PresentAll Ages

SMINOChristopher Smith Jr — or as most know him — Smino, is bringing his current The Hoopti Tour” to Denver next week. Smino is a rapper, singer, songwriter and producer from St. Louis, Missouri and the founder of the musical collective Zero Fatigue with Bari, Monte Booker, Jay2, and Ravyn Lenae. Smino initially gained local recognition in 2012 when he released a mixtape called Smeezy Dot Com, and a collaboration mixtape with Bari called Retail. In 2015, he released two EPs: S!Ck S!Ck S!Ck and blkjuptr.

There has always been this notion about Blackness being synonymous with things dark or morose, a starless sky or a room devoid of all color. Even the character of the Black Swan in Swan Lake is famously portrayed as being antithetical to its far more revered White counterpart. On his debut, Smino subverts the notion of Blackness as something inherently wrong. When talking about the song blkoscars,” Smino told that The coldest shit about being Black is you’re kind of just ahead of the curve naturally… Your access to cool shit just comes out of the air… It’s already through our ancestors, the music and different crazy styles.” He embraces the image of the Black Swan and brings forth the inherent beauty in Blackness.

The biggest name attached to the album is executive producer Q-Tip. Though he only produced a few beats for the album himself, all three continue the loose, funky sound explored on the last A Tribe Called Quest record. In particular, Tip shows how to color outside the lines with the chords on Best Life,” a shoo-in for feel-good rap song of the year. Most importantly, Danny credits the Tribe mastermind with pushing for a simplified sound, requiring him to damn near relearn how to rap.” Q-Tip may have only been behind the boards for three tracks, but his influence is felt across the record. It’s easy to imagine him lending his ear to other middle-aged rappers in need of a way forward, but Tip is likely too bombastic of a talent to settle into being a background figure forever.

The introduction of St Louis Bounce – a melodic sing-song style of rapping over bluesy chords and beat production – in the early-2000s became the sound of the city. You got T-Pain, Kanye of course, Ludacris. There’s hella people that really inspire my shit. Hella jazz shit like Herbie Hancock, gospel shit like Tye Tribbett.


The sequence was perfectly seamless. R&B-esque Smi. Who did this beat!? This is magic personified. It feels like taking your lover to Merlin’s castle for a nightcap. The chords are truly mood-setting. Timbaland and Missy Elliott would appreciate the hell out of this one. Oh, this is a song! I love the flow, the energy, the way this beat is moving with the fluidity of flubber. It’s beautifully strange; an alien. A skit. A hilarious one. He’s shuffling through T.V. channels. Smi is doing a skit. It’s taking me back to OutKast and how good their skits were.

Pitched-up vocals. He’s talking to someone. I like this already. This imagery is something else. “Green diamonds in my charm that’s a frozen salad.” Yeah, he’s painting these records with the kind of lyricism that feels rare with an artist who is so melodic. Makeup on my acne like I’m trying to hide a zit” is the kind of lyric you only come up with through experience. Bari has a good voice. A little bridge? It’s real short but effective. The way Jay2 is rapping I thought he was Saba He came out in with a captivating supersonic flow. He is pretty consistent with strong verses on Smi records. Where is his album? If he’s rapping like this, sign me up. Smino can sell a hook. Too good.

NOIR” has many quality tracks that exhibit the originality Smino is bringing to hip-hop. The rapper’s variety of moods and tones that he incorporates on the sophomore output is also a sign of maturity for the 27-year-old artist. There are several weak points and missed opportunities in the track list, but the positives he put forth on NOIR” are pretty baffling. If you haven’t heard of this up-and-coming artist, it’s time you give Smino a listen.

They’re the first people that ever popped up on me in Chicago. Noname, Saba and Mick Jenkins. Mick pulled up and I seen his tall ass, and I look over and I see Saba and Noname standing together and I’m like, if I want to be working with artists, I want to be working with them. Just for them to be at my show on some random shit; I didn’t even know they knew who I was. It was the first time I ever sensed some type of community on the rap side. I had that on the music side and I knew musicians and on the producer shit but on the rap side, they were my first artist homies.

Smino’s debut album blkswn behaves like a love letter to both cities he calls home. Smino, who is performing a sold-out show at Bottom Lounge on April 26, has spoken at length to say that just because he belongs to the Chicago scene, it doesn’t mean he’s going to leave St. Louis behind. He declared as much even with his album’s release date, March 14—or 314, which is the area code of his hometown. Smino’s manner of rhyming and general style don’t necessarily evoke the vibe of either city. It feels like an amalgamation of influences; trying to define it would limit its prowess. Like the Midwest itself, Smino’s music is a combination of cultures.

Yeah, that shit is more about how I just like making music, bruh. I be making music. I don’t try to make music to fit into anything. I got my own kinda pool going on. I just never felt like I had to make that kind of music. I’ma always be like that.

Captivating rapper and singer-songwriter Smino employs a full band and backup singers for his live show, bringing lush life to songs like “Anita” and “Wild Irish Roses.” It’s a deeply felt mix of hip-hop, neo-soul, funk, electronic music and hard rock. Since releasing the S!Ck S!Ck S!Ck and blkjuptr EPs in 2015, Smino has slowly built a fan base through touring and recordings that fuse his eclectic influences with the cutting-edge electronic beats of Monte Booker. He supported Mick Jenkins on the A Quest for Love tour in 2016, SZA on the CTRL tour in 2017 and T-Pain on the Acoustic tour later that year. The second half of his third headlining trek, the Hoopti tour, follows a pair of triumphant appearances at Coachella 2019.

When all these cool black girls kept following me and they were like, ‘Oh my god. I love this song.’ It literally was a bunch of girls that let me know it was hot. blkswn teased it, but NOIR confirms it: Smino is building brick by brick a musical world that is uniquely his own.


The various sounds across the hip-hop landscape are often region-locked. Describing a singular artist as either East or West Coast can simplify them to a certain sound and aesthetic. The recent burst of Chicago’s rap bubble has been a breath of fresh air for modern hip-hop. For possibly the first time, Chicago has a definite scene. The recent exposure is so rejuvenating because a singular idea, sound, or style didn’t follow with its fulfillment. Chicago’s scene is enigmatic because it isn’t locked by a singular approach, possibly due to its youth. No two artists are doing the same thing and every young MC has something distinct to offer to Chicago’s palette—which is why the St. Louis-born, Chicago-made rapper Smino is such a perfect fit.

Every time I hear that part of the album I just shut the fuck up and listen to him as if he’s talking to me right there. I don’t think there’s anyone I respect as much as my grandfather. Him talking to me like that helps me understand what I need to emphasize on within myself.

Sex Talk,” the album’s lead single, is a showcase for Megan’s bars. I’ma bust quick if your lips soft,” she raps in short bursts around distorted bass and snaps. Rock that ship ‘til ya blast off.” In her second verse, she accents the offbeat to boast, I should be in museums because this body a masterpiece.” Though the song’s popularity was eclipsed by the video release for last summer’s more bombastic Big Ole Freak,” it’s a fitting introduction to Thee Stallion: her range of staccato to elongated flows is catnip for heads like her who grew up on freestyle DVDs, paired with a blown out beat riding the minimalist wave that’s subsumed parties across the country.

The more you know a motherfucker. We didn’t really make Noir together. I started doing my own kind of shows because n-as got checks for Monte. He needs to go DJ over there, and I get checks doing this. Him growing and me growing, it makes both of us grow. We grew more as brothers and understanding each other. We lived together, worked through hella shit. Real life brother shit. And now us putting out Noir and feeling like, damn we ain’t really make it together. We made songs together and it’s easy for us to make music, but now we’re back to being more meticulous with it.

Hot Girl Meg is already an urban legend. You can see her on the cover of Fever, looming over a luxury auto in skin-tight leopard print as flames and horses erupt behind her. It’s the undeniable movie poster aesthetic of blaxploitation icons like Pam Grier’s Coffy. It’s a perfect fit for rapper Megan Thee Stallion, whose music channels a Southern rap tradition full of larger-than-life figures like Trina, Gangsta Boo, and her hero Pimp C.

While it should not be considered a bastion of radical sex and gender politics, blkswn gives us a refreshing look at women being uplifted not just as the muse, but as real and valuable artistic contributors. While Smino is still a relatively new rapper in the mainstream, all of the women featured on his debut album are rising stars as well. Smino shares actual space on blkswn with women from his community, not just a retweet of their SoundCloud links on his Twitter account, but space on his album as collaborators. A community that is not inclusive of the talent of women is not a community. blkswn is a gentle and humble reminder of that.

Smino ‘s acclaimed debut album, 2017’s blkswn , brings to mind Kendrick Lamar ‘s excellent 2011 debut, Section.80. The two aren’t artistically or conceptually comparable, but they share a notable sense of quality and creative identity. Section.80 was the first project to display Kendrick’s unique gifts as a world-building storyteller. No prior release was as thoughtful, meticulous, and concept-focused.

Spitshine” is a groovy transition into Netflix & Dusse,” a standout track on the album with a carefree and teenage vibe. The content of this song (and most of the album) captures an oxymoronic essence of adult innocence. Smino is no bonafide singer, but is a crooner in his own right as he finds a guided flow with the artist and muse, Jean Deaux. In an industry dominated by hyper-aggressive narratives of pursuit and lust, moments like this suggest the presence of women all around Smino—women who contribute to, and critique his creative process. With the exception of Noname, all of the women featured on the album belong to a Chicago collective known as Medicine Woman.” The healing the collective brings to blkswn is holistic: it’s stimulating for the mind, it’s breathes life into Smino’s body of work, and lifts the spirit of anyone fortunate enough to hear it.

And while he had more than two albums worth of material to toy with, Smino also took time to interpolate nostalgic crowd favorites, such as It’s Goin’ Down” by Yung Joc and Say Yes” by Floetry. He even got the crowd Swag Surfin’ ” with the one-hit wonder that has become a social phenomenon, especially at HBCUs.

Dubbed the Hoopti Tour after a song off his second studio LP, November’s Nøir, the St. Louis native brought with him dual support: Chicago producer Phoelix (Michael E. Neil) and Atlanta rap duo EarthGang. The latter proclaimed a special place in their hearts for Austin.

When he dropped out after two semesters at Columbia, Smino moved back to St. Louis, jumping back between Chicago and Milwaukee, to ignite his music career. He performed under a variety of monikers including his birth name, Smeezy and YDOC (Young Dumb and Out of Control), a duo he formed with St. Louis rapper Bari Allen. He settled on Smino because he was inspired by “New Jack City” character Nino Brown.SMINO


Chicago-via-St. Louis rapper Smino has shared KLINK” from his forthcoming sophomore album NØIR. His longtime producer Monte Booker loops a dense flamenco guitar riff that Smino commands with characteristically frenzied flows and a hook like Future ‘s cracking King’s Dead” falsetto on Adderall. The song follows the Sango -produced L.M.F.” as the album’s second single.

Handsome Tours and Astral People are excited to announce that Smino will be travelling to Australia and New Zealand for performances in Sydney and Melbourne, alongside appearances at Laneway Festival in Jan- Feb 2019.

The second single. Love the bassline and the rattling, peculiar percussion. I wasn’t in love with Smi’s pitched-up vocals initially, but it’s grown on me. Sorta like Future’s King’s Dead” verse The helium-high cadence is going to be very popular, I see it. This beat swings enough to be placed in an elementary school playground. Lines upon lines like bingeing cocaine with Charlie Sheen in the ‘90s. I love how in the second verse he switches the flow and again, the beat truly builds around Smi’s vocals. He’s not a rapper being directed by the production, but a rapper directing the flow of the beat. This is going to be fun at shows.

Smino’s now focused on his upcoming project. Last month, he released a soulful song called “Kajun” with Jean Deaux and Phoelix. “That’s going to be on the project. I’m not calling it the single, it was just something I thought the world needs—a relaxing song about being happy.” He played some songs off the forthcoming project, including one that references INOJ’s “My Boo,” and I believed him when he told me, “This is the best music I have made in my life to this day. Period.” Also produced almost entirely by Booker, the upcoming mixtape also comes from a more mature perspective: “Everything I was really trying to say on ‘BlkJuptr’ is really going to be said on this project,” Smino said.

That was his clone! Quincy Jones has a clone. These people don’t even ever meet their clones, its sad. To sum it all up though, the future is going to be two Smino albums dropping simultaneously. My clone dropping one and me dropping one at the same time.

Smino’s seated at the piano, tickling out some chords, but his attention is elsewhere. It’s a Tuesday afternoon in Times Square, at the Billboard office, and the St. Louis MC plucks LeBron James’s name from a nearby conversation, then cuts his innocent keyboard flex short to make a little announcemnt to the room: “It’s over for the Lakers.” The room cackled with laughter.

I would say I’m very proud of myself and to call this album mine. I really worked my ass off and I stuck with the family the whole way. It’s me and Monte the whole way and my boy Felix stepped in a few times. All people that I’m good friends with. I think my core fans would really be proud too.

Megan’s mercenary demand for her pleasures is a refreshing gender swap of rap tropes. On Running Up Freestyle,” she raps, He say I should be nicer, well your dk should be bigger.” She’s blunt enough to make me clutch my pearls on behalf of my gender before I burst out laughing. Later in Sex Talk,” Megan kicks a would-be lover out when she cues up trap music and he asks Girl, you tryna trap me?” She’s offended by the insinuation she needs to keep a captive, when she doesn’t need anyone she doesn’t want in the moment. It’s a role reversal that plenty of female rappers have executed previously, but few with the same raw skill.

Yet throughout its runtime, blkswn never seems to concentrate on a central idea or thesis; whether this is a fault or not is up to the listener. Some might prefer an album with a concentrated message, but to me, blkswn never feels like it needs one. blkswn should be seen as a profile of its creator and his many facets. After two EPs and multiple singles on SoundCloud , blkswn is Smino’s introduction to the wider world.

Chicago producer Monte Booker is 21. He recently referred to some of his formative influences, like the Neptunes and Kanye West, as the old hip-hop scene.” Considering Flying Lotus a genre unto himself, his sounds are bespoke, and his beats don’t smack as much as they pleasingly tumble forth, like tennis balls in a dryer. Booker is a late millennial making music for a new millennium.

It’s a Saturday afternoon and Smino is calling as he’s walking into a store in Chicago, where he spends most of his time. After offering a quick hello, the 26-year-old rapper, born Christopher Smith Jr., starts chatting up the cashier and muffled voices can be heard. He seems distracted. Yet, just as quickly as the conversation begins, it’s over, and he’s happily detailing his childhood in St. Louis, Missouri with a laser-sharp focus and his Midwestern drawl. He speaks with the same passion that produced one of the year’s most celebrated debut albums, Blkswn, and earned him praise not just as one of the most promising new rappers to emerge from the Midwest, but as a genuine hip-hop visionary.

Nevertheless, Megan Thee Stallion is picking up the baton for Southern hip-hop with a quick tongue and trunk rattling beats optimized for twerking. She inherited the legacy from her mother, as well as an unstoppable work ethic, the kind that kept her from cancelling shows even after her mother’s tragic death this spring because I know she wouldn’t want me to stop.” Not long ago, a buzzy mixtape rapper signing to a major label like 300 Entertainment was a one-way ticket to clunky albums overstuffed with radio bait. Fever’s cohesion is a testament to Megan’s talent and dedication. Look forward to partying with Hot Girl Meg all summer.

He’s been on some street shit, I love it. He’s hard. The energy in his voice, he just sounds like the North Side. I remember when Chicago was this big ass hub of talent but the world didn’t really know about it. Now the world knows. I feel like St. Louis can do the same thing.

Smino is undeniably dope. The St. Louis native comes from a musical family, with his father being a keyboardist and his mother a singer and a grandfather that played with the blues legend Muddy Waters. Yet, following high school, Smino felt like he had to leave his family and his hometown to pursue a career in music in Chicago.

In this installment of “Tour Tales,” we caught up with Smino hours before his April 16 show at The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, California to discuss his stance on white people saying “nigga” at his shows, how important touring is to his career and much more.

I don’t give a fuck. Them niggas are going to leave and say ‘nigga.’ With me, if you’re at the show and you end up saying ‘nigga,’ I’m not going to be like, ‘Hey! Stop the music Put them out the fucking show.’ I’m just going to be like, ‘Ha, look at this nigga.’ This shit just happened to me. I was in this white nigga’s face rapping my shit. I was about to get to the point where I say ‘nigga’ and I had to turn because I knew he was about to say this shit.

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