Smino, Monte Booker at Complex Oakland

St. Louis: A long-forgotten city on mainstream rap’s radar since the days of Nelly and St. Lunatics, but 25-year-old Smino aims to revive his city’s presence with his latest project, blkswn. For his first widely recognized debut, blkswn is an introspective peak into Smino’s experiences as a young, modern black man: His brightly-hued lyrics ricochet between rat-a-tat rhymes and his sing-songy rap-crooning traverses through his backwood vices, navigating through the tricky world of millennial relationships and the contrast of his own ambitions and that of his family’s.

blkswn is a solid offering from a promising young emcee that just wants to reflect the world around him. He commissions several features — Noname, Ravyn Lenae, Drea Smith, to name a few — and producers such as Sango and show opener, Monte Booker to help build his universe. Booker had a hand in songs such as “Long Run” and “Silk Pillows” that have a dreamlike quality with sparse percussions blanketed by pillow-y synths.

Booker’s own work through label Soulection often takes a similar take, transforming rap hits such as Beyonce’s “Baby Boy,” Migos’ “Bad and Boujee,” and Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” into tranquil concoctions of bouncy drums and spritely melodies.

Listen to Smino’s blkswn below.

Smino, Monte Booker
Complex Oakland
May 20, 2017
8:30pm, SOLD OUT