Smino is a 31 year old rapper, singer/songwriter & producer from St. Louis, Missouri who caught my attention in the spring of 2017 off his impressive full-length debut blkswn. This was followed up with his 2nd & 3rd mixtapes NØIR & She Already Decided, but is re-emerging in the form of his long-awaited sophomore album backed by Motown Records following his departure from Interscope Records & the formation of the supergroup Zoink Gang with Buddy as well as Guapdad 4000 & J.I.D in 2019.
After the “4rm da Source” intro, the first song “No L’s” is a smooth opener to the album with Smino confessing all this stuff on his mind prior to J. Cole tagging along for neo-soul/pop rap hybrid “90 Proof” talking about being a real one. Doechii comes into the picture for the groovy “Pro Freak” to describe their preferences in a partner, but then “Ole Ass Kendrick” has a more dementing trap vibe to it talking about who he was playing in his car as he & his girl got busy.
Moving on from there with “Louphoria”, we have Cruza joining Smino for an alternative R&B ballad about being obsessed with their partners to the point of being unable to get sleep just before “Blu Billy” has a bit of an abstract hip hop flare to it responding to those who say he doesn’t have the heat. “Matinee” makes a pretty accurate comparison to what the world really is over some pop rap/trap production with neo-soul undertones even though I personally found the “Broccoli Lesnar” bar to be cringe as fuck as a wrestling fan whereas “Modennaminute” with Lucky Daye & Phoelix returns with an alternative R&B/pop rap fusion talking about having one another on their minds.
“Defibrillator” has a more neo-soul/hip hop vibe to it confessing that he’ll be loved when no one’s around while “Garden Lady” embraces a groovier vibe talking about how shit’s wicked right now & a lot of it ain’t funny to him. “Settle Down” with Ravyn Lenae is an upbeat ode to still doing their best & being blessed while the Lil Uzi Vert-assisted “Pudgy” finds the 2 flirting wjth bitches accompanied by a jazzy trap sound. “Curtains” comes through with a 6 & a half minute futuristic trap banger talking about how he be speaking the truth with Lee & Love” being a soulful closer to the album expressing his desire to grow old with his soulmate.
“Plead the .45th” significantly increased my anticipation for this album considering how mid of a tape NØIR was 4 years back & I gotta say that’s even better than Few Good Things when Saba dropped it earlier this year. Smino continues to expand on his versatility by refining the sounds of that previous project & his songwriting gradually improving.
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