Hip-Hop Consciousness - An Interview with Smino

Social consciousness often isn’t a choice – it’s a necessity. For Christopher Smith Jr, aka Smino, growing up in Ferguson County, St. Louis, and living the trying aftermath of Mike Brown’s police shooting in 2014, he felt the need to use his voice and lyrical talent to speak for more than just himself. So followed his debut EPs S!Ck S!Ck S!Ck and blkjptr in 2015, along with a growing fan base captivated by his percussive yet soulful delivery and funk-inflected productions.

Earlier this year Smino released his debut LP, blkswn, a statement of intent from an artist seeking to convey more than just the self-aggrandizing commercial tropes of hip hop. Largely produced by his longtime collaborator Monte Booker, the record amps up the soul and funk influences, as well as the lyrical content, tackling everything from amphetamine addiction to coping with grief, police violence on the local community as well as, of course, his appeals to the fairer sex. Ahead of his headline show at London’s Jazz Café, we spoke to Smino about being a figurehead for his hometown, keeping control of his music, and expressing the day to day.

Read the interview in Hero Magazine.

[This piece was published on 06/07/17]