I know that oftentimes I find myself gravitating towards the more ignorant, surface-level style of rap that just has energetic beats and no substance, but there are a few artists that I truly enjoy beyond this. Smino is one of these talents, and I think I gravitate towards him because he’s just so serene and nonchalant yet he’s legitimately one of the best rappers in the game. Pair him up with beatsmith Monte Booker and I can’t think of another tag team that can stop them in the current moment of music that we’re in.
Obviously, hearing these two names side by side isn’t a surprise for fans, but if you’re somehow new to these artists, you should know that they’re two of the frontrunners in their collective known as Zero Fatigue. While it has been a bit of time since they last released something together, I couldn’t have been more excited to share their brand-new record entitled “Rice & Gravy”. Opening up with Monte’s incredible production, we are introduced to chattering percussion, bubbly, almost organ-like synths, sliding 808s, and some uncharacteristic sound effects that combine for an unbelievably vibey instrumental that’s perfect for Smi to do his thing.
Opening up with his first verse, Smino begins with a half-singing, half-rapping delivery that seems to just pour out of his throat instead of utilizing tons of effort, and this natural delivery is one of the reasons why I enjoy Smino’s music so much. He continues this into the hook, except the repetition and tunefulness of his voice is definitely something that will get stuck in your head, but I’m not complaining about that even for a moment. He quickens his cadence in the second verse while continuing to be as melodious as ever, showing off a different side of himself without sacrificing the elements that drew listeners in at the beginning of the record either.
When I look at the entire music industry, I honestly struggle to think of other artists that seem to have sounds and deliveries come as naturally to them as they do for Smino. He just seems to let whatever is going to happen, happen and he knows that whatever ends up rolling off of his tongue is going to be magic. I also love his use of vocal layers during certain moments throughout various songs of his because he is able to record it in a way that sounds futuristic and powerful unlike anyone else has ever done before. I could go on and on for days about how well Smino and Monte Booker work together, but I’ll just let “Rice & Gravy” back up my opinion, so make sure to tune in as soon as possible so you don’t miss out on this extraordinary record.