2017’s cup runneth over with good music, of all kinds.
From fun to enlightening. From singing to rapping. From our hometown to yours and everywhere in between, we are dedicating the month of December to reviewing and reflecting on the music that helped make this year so important.
My introduction to Smino's "blkswn" was actually a recommendation by none other than Kelsey Mc-Dammit Let Me Put You On Some New Music-Daniel, through a "hey go check this out" text with a link. I've never known Kels to steer me wrong musically so I immediately gave it a listen - by immediately I mean a few days later because I am a creature of habit and breaking in new music can sometimes be difficult unless it is worthwhile. I decided on one of my heavy traffic commute home trips to give "blkswn" a spin.
"blkswn" starts off with a groovy track, Wild Irish Roses; the perfect introduction to an album that is endlessly-playable with a vibe befitting of rolling up a Backwood and riding out. It is evident that Smino carefully crafted his album by selecting 18 tracks that mesh so well, skipping a song is impossible. As you get further into "blkswn", Smino opts to go with more of a melodic rap on Maraca and Glass Flows, showcasing his vocal ability. And he does not miss a note! One of my favorite songs on the album Flea Flicka ft. Bari, a futuristic funk -filled track, allowed Smino to display his versatility as a rapper with a seemingly effortless display of some serious bars.
Smino transitions back to his melodic flow for the remainder of the album. As an avid lover of R&B I truly appreciate how musically adept he is; the ability to make harmonically rich music that still lights a fire under your ass, lyrically is one of Smino's stand out strengths. Anita is a slower track with an unforgettable chorus that I came to love after seeing him perform it live at his show here in Houston while the entire crowd accompanied him word for word. blkswn, another memorable track, has been forever engraved in my heart and is essential for any smooth groove playlist I create. Let’s acknowledge the fact that Smino makes bangin’ ass hooks, and blkswn is at the top of that list. Amphetamine seems to wrap up "blkswn" with a perfect ending to conclude a ride to the other side of town for Backwoods and Wild Irish Roses. Just as Amphetamine ends, there is a pleasant surprise; Krash Kourse. The hidden track is a dreamy composition with features from Jean Deaux and Bari as well as Noname who I was introduced to and now am a huge fan of thanks to Krash Kourse.
Smino, an artist from St. Louis, considers himself an outcast. Personally, I consider him to be a musical genius that composed one of the best albums of 2017. “blkswn” is something I never knew I was missing, yet somehow made me feel complete.
If you’re reading this and you haven’t heard the album do me a favor and go listen to that shit and thank me later.