SMINO came up on SoundCloud, but he’s not your average SoundCloud rapper. He was buzzing within a subset totally distinct from the Playboi Carti’s and the Ski Mask’s of that music incubator. While Smino hails from St. Louis himself, he popped up on soulful collaborations with Chicago artists like Jean Deaux and Phoelix.
The verbal acrobatics that Smino displayed were enough to pull you in, but he was rapping and crooning over production that was otherworldly. The clunky beats furnished by Chicago’s Monte Booker were hard to wrap your head around, but Smino navigating them with so much ease added a whole other level of intoxicating wonder.
Smino and Monte have become one of the most loyal and exciting artist-producer duos in the game. Monte produced the majority of Smino’s first two studio albums, blkswn and NOIR, proving that Smino needn’t outsource beats to compile a varied project. However, Smino has showcased his own production chops on tracks like “coup se yern” and developed a chemistry with Sango over several collaborations.