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by dj saratonin

It is almost impossible to not distinguish rapper and singer Smino’s voice in a sea of mixed harmonies and sounds. Following his debut album blkswn, Smino collaborated with various other artists, one of which included Noname. What led me to discovering his music was his track Ace on Noname’s album Room 25. What initially drew me into listening to the rapper was the uniqueness his voice held throughout the track. Through his ability to rhyme almost anything and falsetto-like singing voice layered with various harmonies, Smino creates cleverly mixed tracks with influences from reggae, soul, and funk.

That’s why I was very excited to find out that his second studio album Noir had just released two weeks ago. The first song on the album I listened to was Fenty Sex. Admittedly, the title drew me in and surely enough I was listening to Smino singing about his fruits of labor and the captivating girl that assisted him. He continues to ode to this girl with the seamless transition to the next song on the album BAM 2x. I was surprised to look at my phone and see that the song had changed, however Smino never fails to entice you with his beats going hard alongside his synchronized harmonies and reggae-inspired instrumentals.

When I glanced at the tracklist I was also very excited to listen to his track MF Groove, where singer Ravyn Lenae accompanies Smino in his telling of personal confliction. We’ve seen Smino and Ravyn Lenae collaborate before as they are part of the same music collective Zero Fatigue along with various other artists. This song and its slow, dreamy layering of Ravyn and Smino’s vocals assures us that they are an incredible duo capable of taking you to another realm. Ravyn’s angelic voice compliments Smino’s falsetto-like voice amazingly without overwhelming you with high-tones and pitches. They are definitely a pair that I hope to see more of in the future.

Noir is an album that you can enjoy in a room full of people or when you feel like taking moments to really appreciate different aspects of music production. The combination of Smino’s vocals and production is one that can put you in a trance. He holds this ability to rhyme anything, making him this fun artist that you can put on anywhere. You have the opportunity to listen to each individual sound but also appreciate it as a whole, as each sound uniquely contributes to what makes Smino respectively one of the most stylized and unique new artists you can listen to today.