INTERVIEWER:

RUDZANI “ROO” NETSHIHENI

 

Well, it’s safe to say that last week Thursday the entire game was lit solely because of how Rocking The Daisies & CAN DO! Surprised us all when they announced their partnership plus dropped the headline artists for #RTD2019 & In The City which included names such as Nasty C, Giggs, Cassper Nyovest, IAMDDB, Earth Gang, Smino, Shekhinah and Sho Madjozi.

Now HYPE got the opportunity to interview none other than St. Louis born artist, Smino, who, after releasing his 2017 album, BLKSWN, has risen to the top of the music industry through his music, creativity, and energy. His path toward that goal has been paved with both commercial success—sold out shows in New York, Chicago and L.A.—as well as critical praise. The 314 native continued his upward trend in 2018, juggling a laundry list of festival appearances with tours of Asia and Australia, notable collaborations with Noname and
Mick Jenkins, and of course his second full-length album, NOIR, also progressed his reach and fanbase. Now he’ll be jumping the Daisies & In The City stages down here in SA but before we get to witness what he does, we asked some questions about music, impact and his next album.

smino HYPE Magazine Interviews Smino [Read] Smino 1
An artist’s origin story will always be the most crucial moment of their career and usually, there must have been a defining moment that convinced the artist that music was part of their destiny. I can imagine that the first time you sparked an interest in making music it was perhaps at first experimental. So, what then was that “defining” moment that convinced you Smino that making music and changing lives is what you are supposed to be doing?

I wasn’t even thinking I was supposed to be changing lives. I was just good at making music and it was like second nature because my family made music. It was just “like I like this sh*t, I’ma do this sh*t”…

Word. Music plays a variety of roles for many of us. For some music is therapeutic, whereas for another it’s a realm of escapism and expression. What role does music play in Smino’s life?

My favorite past time besides weed, p*ssy and watching the Boondocks.

It’s quite interesting to feel the different types of energies that you delivered on your blkswn & NOIR projects. When or how did you know that you were ready to drop those projects at that time because you’re such an unboxed & versatile artist? Are your releases emotionally driven, strategically driven?…

Extremely emotionally driven but I’m working on making them more strategic. It’s emotionally driven because I’m usually deprived of how I drop music these days with all the streaming shit. I’m my favorite artist so I’m always making more music so I can listen to it.


The impact that you have made and continue to make with your music is amazing from a global scale. People love Smino out in Europe, Asia and even down here in South Africa. How does seeing all your fans react to your energy & sound make you feel? Is this the impact you planned for, prepped for?

It’s poetic. It’s crazy to see how much it translates and transcends cause like I’ll be in South Korea hearing them sing my songs but then they can’t talk to me after the show. They try to tell me how much they f*ck with me but they can’t even verbalize that sh*t, but they can sing the songs and they love the songs. It means something to them. Then transcending in the same sense of going to a Boston show and a dad comes to the show with his two daughters and HE the one that put his daughters onto the music. It’s crazy just to see how it could bring muhf*ckas together. In a sense, it feels like being an American artist instantly puts you in that melting pot to where you can be heard around the world cause it’s so many different types of people. It’s like a glimpse of the world in America.

smino HYPE Magazine Interviews Smino [Read] Smino 1

Speaking about South Africa, as I mentioned, you have a mad fanbase down here that has been itching to experience you live and they’re finally getting the opportunity to. Have you been exposed to perhaps some of the sounds that the African continent has been dishing out? And if so, what are your thoughts on how African music is developing?

Honestly no, I’m not hip. I’m not hip at all. I told you I just listen to myself a lot and like old music that used to inspire me. 9/10 if I’m hearing some new music it’s because Monte was playing it or one of the homies.

And how does Smino keep himself inspired to continue on the path that he is on because I assume (but correct if I’m wrong) that it wasn’t always an easy ride? We know your relationship with Monte has also contributed with your growth & confidence but how do you keep yourself fertile for more artistic growth?

I just don’t really look at other people’s progression. I try not to size myself up to nobody but my old self. I only race me. I feel like it ain’t about trying to be a certain type of ideal artist. It’s just about being the best you. As cliche as that sounds. And I keep myself surrounded by people that are raw as f*ck.

Most of the time we talk about the good side of the music industry and how it’s impacting this and that, but what are the negatives of the music industry that you don’t f*ck with?

I don’t speak on negative shit.

And to end it off, what can your fans down in South Africa expect to experience from you at Rocking The Daisies/In The City and we’ve already heard the talks about you working on a new the album, what can you tell us about that?

Expect the f*cking funk, per usual.

My heart was broke when I made my album, so I’m talking some wild sh*t. Saying some wild things. This probably my first album where I’m hella excited for people to hear what the fuck I’m saying like I always want people to hear my music but now I can’t wait for niggas to hear what I’m saying.

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