"I can think myself out of anything." Smino is seated in his temporary NYC apartment, new crutches at his side. "If I feel depressed... I fucked up my foot the second night of my first headlining tour, and I just thought myself out of it—like, it ain't that bad, I'm just gonna go up and make [it] part of my show."
The tour is in support of Smino's remarkable blkswn release, a debut album bursting with with creativity and musicality. And the crutches are fitted with Air Force 1's to match the pair on Smino's feet, a theatrical, stylish twist that turn the injury into an accessory. It's the kind of quick thinking on display all over blkswn, both in the the artist's spastic, intrepid flows and the music: Smino's longtime collaborator Monte Booker spearheaded production, and the resulting album makes good on the hype generated by 2015' S!CK S!CK S!CK EP.
It's an intense, summery album that sounds like warmth itself, whether on the steamy "Anita" or the shimmering heat waves of "Flea Flicka" and "Wild Irish Roses." Contributions from Smino's Zero Fatigue crew help make blkswn a slideshow of tomorrow's talent—Noname, Ravyn Lenae, Jean Deaux, and theMIND help make the album what it is, a two-sided love letter to the Midwest and a list of grievances for the country that, as Smino bemoans on "Long Run," "doesn't love us."
His music's momentum, however, has Smino at a tipping point that has nothing to do with fame. "I don't need people to know too much about me," he said. "For the next five years of my life, I'm just going to be in the studio, on the stage, or shooting a video. I'm dedicating my life to this." Get to know Smino in the video above, and listen to blkswn here.