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Smino – Luv 4 Rent (Album Review)

Smino sells us nothing but pleasant hip-hop vibes in “Luv 4 Rent.”


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TOP 5

 

Honorable Mention. Ole Ass Kendrick

I can definitely see the similarities between Kendrick Lamar and Smino.

Smino actually sounds more like Isaiah Rashad than Kendrick Lamar in “Ole Ass Kendrick.” Whoever he is in the song, I f**k with the way he floats over the song’s numb beat, dropping off lyrics that highlight his approach to bad chicks, his love for both Kendrick and Ari, and his despise for captain-save-a-h*es.

 

 

5. Modennaminute

“Modennaminute” is a Drake album cut on weed brownies.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t love Smino’s contributions to “Modennaminute.” He sounds like a high muthaf**ka that’s trying to navigate through an argument with his chick in the song. Everything else, such as Lucky Daye’s soulful verse, the cold-ass hook, and the passionate beat, hits like s**t.

 

 

4. Pro Freak (Ft. Doechii & Fatman Scoop)

“Pro Freak” was created for the jump ropers and hop-scotchers of the world.

The energy attached to “Pro Freak” is impeccable. In the song, you get a blend of lively Fatman Scoop adlibs, feverish flows, tricky flows, handclaps, City Girls-Esque background vocals, spellbinding melodies, and lyrics that highlight 3 and D women. The song is certainly exciting.



3. No L’s

Does Smino mean ‘Ls’ as in losses or ‘Ls’ as in weed?

The “So Gone” sample will always be fire! It’s used in “No L’s” very effectively. As for Smino, in the song, he actually brings out his unadulterated rap side. Not only does he hit us with an Outkast-like hook, but he also steps it up a few notches flows-wise. It sucks that the song’s beat will make you want to fall asleep.

 

 

2. Matinee

“Matinee” gave me a second-hand high.

In “Matinee,” Smino sings about sipping on some liquor, smoking on some weed, and loving on someone hard. He also shouts out all of his favorite cities to visit. The song boasts a beat that knocks and has all kinds of misty vibes attached to it; because of this, you get a version of Smino that is joyous, high-pitched, hippie-ish, and free. The song will definitely make you miss those sunny summer Sundays.

 

 

1. 90 Proof (Ft. J. Cole)

Why isn’t Smino signed to Dreamville yet? I feel like his style mimics the styles of a bunch of people on that label. In “90 Proof,” Smino goes toe to toe with Dreamville’s honcho, J. Cole.

It’s not always clear in which direction Smino will go whenever he hops on a mic. With that being said, in “90 Proof,” about 90 percent of the time he sings like a dude that went to high school with Shaft. Don’t worry, his singing style matches his lyrics about smoking weed and learning how to please a chick. As for J. Cole, his bold rap verse matches Smino’s lyrics about his down-to-earth approach to life.

Dreamville, at least sign Smino to a 10-day contract!


SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN

1. 4rm Da Source (N/A)

2. No L’s (4/5)

3. 90 Proof (Ft. J. Cole) (4.5/5)

4. Pro Freak (Ft. Doechii & Fatman Scoop) (3.5/5)

5. Ole Ass Kendrick (4/5)

6. Louphoria (Ft. Cruza) (4/5)

7. Blu Billy (4/5)

8. Matinee (4.5/5)

9. Modennaminute (Ft. Lucky Daye & Phoelix) (4/5)

10. Defibrillator (4/5)

11. Garden Lady (3.5/5)

12. Settle Down (Cory Henry & Ravyn Lenae) (4/5)

13. Pudgy (Ft. Lil Uzi Vert) (4/5)

14. Curtains (4/5)

15. Lee & Lovie (Ft. Reggie) (4/5)


RGM RATING

(B)

 

Smino’s music is an acquired taste. I am an avid beer drinker, so I know a thing or two about enjoying s**t like this.

It would be an understatement if I told you that Smino experiments production-wise on this album. In Luv 4 Rent, I heard everything from neo-soul to game show to skippy-ass instrumentals. Here’s the kicker: Each instrumental will actually make you feel high a little. Because of the instrumentals, Smino shifts between a rapper and singer smoother than I’ve ever heard anyone else do it. I’m prepared to say that the production is the best thing about this album.

Smino is far from a clout-chaser, and I love that. In Luv 4 Rent, he gives the underdogs of the world (Such as Phoelix, Ravyn Lenae, and some dude named Reggie) more chances than the mainstream guys. With that being said, unfortunately, J. Cole’s feature on “90 Proof” is my favorite. However, I do think that Doechii and Lucky Daye put up phenomenal guest verses.

Smino is too talented for his own good. I think he is one of the few people in this world that sees music instead of hearing it. His ability to just float through songs relying on smooth vocals and hard-hitting raps is admirable. Like, literally nothing Smino does on the album feels forced. As for Smino’s lyrics, they are a little hard to understand. Throughout, he blurs the line between weed, love, and pain so much, I can’t always tell when he’s talking about what. I won’t complain, I’ll just enjoy deciphering his words.

So why should you listen to this album? It’s hella unique. It’s Outkast meets Chance The Rapper meets Wiz Khalifa. Though I wish there was a little more rapping on the album, it’s hard to ignore how boundaryless it sounds. Also, it’s dope to hear an album that isn’t riddled with violence.

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