Smino: “blkswn” Album Review

Written By: Christine Reynolds

Twitter: @CIntrinsic

Smino debut album ‘Blk Swan’ is a rare treat amongst a bundle of debuted album – roses. The metaphor of the black swan could also transcend to the metaphor of Smino’s 18 – tracked album that has a story from his first track to the last. The alternative music-treat comes in many sounds, with an instrumental production that could one minute chip in with a Hammond organ, and then maybe a synthesizer to stir the plot. You can even find the sound of shakers and handclaps on one of his tracks like ‘Netflix & Dusse,’ that is a play on words for the original ‘Netflix and Chill. Dusse is like a strong cognac that Smino wants to bring on down to this intimate situation.

So, who is Smino? At the end of ‘Netflix & Dusse,’ there is an inspirational talk with the man he calls ‘Papa.’ He tells his Pa – in a sense that, ‘he’s the roots and the main to what he is doing,’ and that connected me more with Smino and the Blk Swan Album. His Pa tells him that he is talented, and that he should stay within himself and develop. Wise words. From a wise man. Smino’s family were musically inclined from the get-go: his mom sings; dad plays the piano, and his cousin has been known to raise his lungs for the sound of music (featured on the Blk Swan Album – on the song Ricky Millions.) The desire to bask in music comes from a household full of sounds and songs.

Smino’s first mixtape was called ‘SMEEZY DOT COM,’ and he has another extended play called ‘Blkjuptr.’ Both are 2015 releases. He describes his music as futuristic funk, and that can be heard in some of the experimental funk tunes like Spitshine which mirrors soft influences. There are traces of jazz, soul, RnB, and even in the distance of the album is the courageous outlook of hip -hop, and gospel. ‘Father Son Holy Smoke’ takes a dab at the ‘Father Son And Holy Spirit.’ The collaborations are intently fixed to blend the soul and melody that mix together like a smooth glass of baileys and the lyrical thinking of The Roots. Smino takes subtle -vocal leaps on ‘Glass Flows – Ft Ravyn Lenae,’ and ‘Edgar Allan Poe’d – Ft theMind.’

The album was a mind ****! It literally is full of so many reverberations and instrumental alterations that no song sounds the same. It has so many flavors to choose from, and each track brings an individuality to its beginning and end. I took a different route with this album because it’s a rare treat to listen to. The route I took was intrinsically listening to Smino and what he had to say, which lead me to believe that not everybody would appreciate what he really is offering. The album gets a clear 3.8 just because Smino is so full – of – himself in a good way that I must applaud what I heard. The guy is truly talented.