Sounds Like: Countrified St. Louis soul refracted through the prism of futuristic Chicago hip-hop
For Fans of: Andre 3000, Mick Jenkins, Chance the Rapper
Why You Should Pay Attention: After leaving his native St. Louis for Chicago, he made name for himself in that city's vibrant hip-hop scene – his love song "Anita" has a million plays across YouTube and SoundCloud. On the heels of collaborations with Chi-Town locals like like Noname, Saba, Jean Deaux and Mick Jenkins, Smino dropped his debut album, Blkswn, in March and set out of his first headlining national tour to support it. He's played to sold-out crowds everywhere from New York to "the Lou," but concert-goers at the Atlanta leg of the Swanita tour got a special treat when T-Pain, one of Smino's idols, joined him on stage to perform Pain's hit "Chopped and Skrewed."
He Says: "I feel like it's a magnetic force right now in Chicago, and it's been being instilled in the Midwest. I'm from the Lou – I love my city – but ... in the Midwest, Chicago is the mecca right now to music. And it's a reason for that, there's so many creatives comin' from all over the world to be in Chicago. It's so much energy in Chicago. … So that's what I'm tryin' to start helping my city [St. Louis] see in itself. We can get back to that type of shit, all we have to do – in real life – is find each other.
Hear for Yourself: Smino, the blkswn, celebrates black love in "Anita." Timmhotep Aku