Written by Glo(w)
Smino is an OG now. Period. His listening party for his debut album blkswn, aptly being released on #314 day, is proof of the greatness this St. Louis native is bound to exude.
Every great subscribes to the teachings of those that came before him. Smino has been taught by the best. Nelly taught him. Black Spade, fellow St. Louis native and member of Vibe Music Collective, taught him. Andre 3000 taught him. Eminem taught him. Church choirs with the perfect balance of alto and bass taught him. All things in the universe aligned to give Smino the musical preference and professional execution needed to present offerings of artistry to the world.
blkswn is worship through sound. There is no lack of soul. The entirety of the album is produced by spirit, presented by flesh. The bit of musicality Smino has shared thus far is only a hint at his capabilities. THE SINGLES ARE RARELY THE BEST SONGS. It's just taste of the nourishment a body of work is destined to gift you.
blkswn feels like a home cooked meal. Each harmony leaves you full and waiting for the next feast. This album feels like the soundtrack for a black coming of age story. We follow the lead through their usual hijinks only to fall in love with the totality of their character. Smino uses his gift of stringing words together melodically in order to guide listeners outside of preset boxes. We love those who step outside of the perimeter and expose the other worlds that exist. You don't know which route the journey will take you through, but you can sense the promise. And the journey is never done. It bends and winds, leading you through every feeling you never knew you felt. blkswn is the map, and Smino is the navigator. When listening to this body of work, Smino's impeccable writing grants faith in the direction the music is leading you. You may seem to lose your footing, but the next step has already been written. Destiny overpowers any doubt you will have in this talent.
Full disclosure: blkswn is a magestic expression in its entirety.
1. Glass flows (featuring Ravyn Lenae)
There are many levels to heaven according to the depth expressed by both masculine and feminine experiences. Chicago bred Ravyn Lenae has a voice dipped in honey and trimmed in velvet. There is nothing smoother. With Smino, her ethereal vocals express grit through a cadence that is reminiscent of hip-hop favorites.
2. Long Run (featuring Via Rosa)
This offering is honeydew, nature's nectar. There is no space between production and artist. Each voice heard is an instrument. Smino punctuates each production induced drop with his St. Louis drawl. Via Rose's voice provides orchestral dynamics that leaves listeners who aren't familiar wondering, "Who is this?"
3. Silk pillows (featuring Akenya)
This song serves us an ode to everything that is loved about being in love with a black woman. Every observation Smino makes is confirmed by Akenya's cool presence.
4. Ricky Millions (featuring Drea Smith)
There are songs charged solely by masculine energy, and there are songs explicitly linked to femininity. This song is for everyone. It is a singer's paradise from the mind of a rapper who can sing. The melody takes time to reference a classic cadence. The entirety of the production is comprised of chords full enough for any singer to give life to their own works.
5. Amphetemine (Outro)
Nothing can dampen a fairytale ending. As blkswn leaves, a door leading to the next artistic expression is left open. The outro reminds people that this isn't the end of the story. There is more to be explored and experienced. Insert secret song... ;)
blkswn is simply the beginning. If performances are a manifestation of the mind, Smino appears to be making room for the next best: Bari Allen and Nikee Turbo. We can be sure to see Smino continuously level up and perfect his already exceptional abilities. Within five years, Smino will have penned many songs for the best. His all-inclusive use of vocals and lyricism teeters towards musical perfection.
There's a sad truth: people don't listen to songs in their entirety until someone tells you to. Do yourself a favor: don't wait.
Preoder BLKSWN now on Apple Itunes and enjoy when it is released 3-14-17.