“BLKSWN” Album Review
Smino’s first album, blkswn has some hits already, like Anita and Wild Irish Roses. What makes this so special and quite popular for a debut album?Well, first let’s look at Smino’s background. Smino is from St.Louis, Missouri. I have been waiting for a good St.Louis rapper forever, St.louis is my city and all the rappers from there all are either affiliated with Nelly or are part of “Christian rap”(Check this video out, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdCr14WwI4s, this video shows my problem with “Christian Rap”, not exactly the song he is reviewing, but, the points he makes in the Intro and the Outro ). Smino looks to be different, I’ve listened to his EP “S!ck S!ck S!ck” and he has a distinct style. With that let’s look at blkswn.
Well, the first thing you’ll hear is his voice. He has a unique voice and a weird flow. He has a sing-songy voice, yet he has a weird accent. This allows new pronunciation, usually, I am against this. Usually, rappers use a southern accent to twist words into rhyming, I’ll let it slide in this case, due to the fact that his vocabulary is huge and the way he configures word in the tempo works amazingly, it is the perfect mix of catchy and talented. There are some good melodies, like in the song “Glass Flows”. Seriously, his voice is pretty special. Have you heard Kendrick Lamar’s “U”? He sounds like a more in control Kendrick in that song. What about the beats? Well, they are definitely different, but it does not change that much. They are all weird, chill songs. It kind of reminds Saba or Dizzy Wright. The beats or pretty catchy though and enough effort in them that I can say they are well-made.
How are the features? In the song “Flea Flicka” the guest appearance by Bari is very mediocre, then Smino comes in and saves the song completely. He featured a lot of singers in this, purely to sing the chorus, and he featured theMind in a OK song called “Edgar Allan Poe’d up”, no amazing features, Smino was the super star here. The biggest hit from the album was “Anita”, (The day that I wrote this it has 2,500,000 listens on Spotify) Why is it popular? Anita is REALLY catchy, it also shows Jean Deaux’s( The featured singer)best singing in the chorus. The beat is one of the best in the album, it is pretty amazing. It sounds very serene and simple. After listening to this 18 song album, I think he should have cut some songs, this album can sometimes seem like an unfinished project. Songs like “Lobby Kall”, “Blkoscars”, and “Amphetamine”(I don’t like the smino part, but the Noname’s part is fire)don’t seem complete, these songs are my least favorite for sure, due to the fact that most of them could be improved with some more time. I talked about how the beats are not really diverse, well there is a beat if sped up would be amazing in “Father Son Holy Smoke”. Talking about “Father Son Holy Smoke” it is the BEST on this album, the rapping on this is brilliant and the beat is good as well as his singing at the end, I will listen to this more in my free time. Smino can produce some smooth lyrics. Another exception to the beat statement is “B role”, yet I don’t know if I like this song or not. Some of my favorite songs are “Innamission”, an amazing song that will be in my best of March. “Father son holy smoke”, of course, then “Maraca”, a really nice introduction to Smino. Let’s end it off.
This album is an 8/10. I am giving this extra props for it being his debut album. His flow is amazing and quite unique. Again, I am surprised by his vocabulary and the ability that he has to connect words and phrases.But, the twisting of words gets really irritating in some songs, especially in “Spitshine”. Also, his beats can definitely mature over time as well. It seems like in some songs he has too many filler lines/verses, he repeats the same words/ lines/ phrases in songs, sometimes it gets annoying. In the end, the positives outweigh the negatives. Rap needs new personalities. He is a new personality with a unique flow and some amazing songs, definitely a Must-Listen album, you will find songs that differ from the rest. I will try to find more music fromthis guy. I hope to see some more music from him.