Photos by: Nesrin
Smino and the Zero Fatigue crew came to Peter’s Room at the Roseland, for one of his stops on the Swanita Tour Monday night. The perfect way to start my week. I saw the St. Louis rapper perform in Portland the for the first time on his birthday last year with Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins in conjunction with Red Bull Sound Select Tour. Ever since that show, I’ve been a fan of his soulful rhymes and melodic tempo.
Smino grew up in a musically talented family and it shows in his music. His Grandfather played bass guitar for blues legend Muddy Waters and his cousin was a singer who toured with Kanye West. He started playing drums for his church as a child and now mixes all of his musical knowledge to perform across the country.
Since his first mixtape in 2012, the 25 year old crooner/rapper has been perfecting his blend of futuristic soul rap ‘ be. In a recent interview, Smino says his influences ranges from Hiphop artist like OutKast and Nelly to Gospel influences like Tye Tribbett. Those influences can definitely be heard in his music and seen in his performances.
All the hard work the “Anita” artist put in since his musical inception was seen this past Monday night. Smi recently suffered a leg injury so he hit the stage with some crutches that had infant sized Air Force Ones on the bottoms. He was also sporting a nice U of Oregon shirt to show his love for his Oregon fans.
One of the most notable takeaways from the Blkswn creator’s performance is how great he and his band perform together. With musical influences such as his, I was not too surprised. Both OutKast and Tye Tribbett have amazing stage presence and their bands are like family to them.
Smi and the band kicked the show off with his album titled song “Blkswn”. The sound of soul and funk filled the room as fans started swaying to and fro, reciting every word. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that I was also singing and rapping every song Smi performed like I wrote the song myself.
The Zero Fatigue frontrunner also played songs from his older projects Blkjuptr and S!ck S!ck S!ck. The vibe set by Smi and the band was one of tranquility, even with intermission songs like T-Pain’s “Chopped N’ Screwed” or fellow St. Louis native Nelly’s “Air Force Ones”. Even after Smi finished his encore song “Father Son Holy Smoke” , Zero Fatigue producer Monte Booker played a little set for the dedicated fans still front and center after Smino left the stage. Smino has been gaining a lot of good traction in the hiphop world so far this year. I can’t wait to see what he has planned next.
“Of course all life is a process of breaking down…”
So begins the F. Scott Fitzgerald essay The Crack-Up, the story of a down-and-out, once successful writer that gave the new Fleet Foxes record, Crack-Up, its name and provided at least a little of its inspiration. It’s easy to see why Robin Pecknold, who put his band Fleet Foxes on hiatus at the peak of their fame, and recently told Pitchfork, “I’ve struggled at times with finding a solid, objective reason to live, or I should say I’ve struggled with the notion of needing an airtight reason,” would relate to such a story. Throughout the band’s exploratory set at the Crystal Ballroom last week, Pecknold and the rest of Fleet Foxes played like people who’ve found that reason.
It seems abundantly clear that Pecknold is very concerned about his art—and existence—remaining vital, personal and original; a living, breathing thing that continuously evolves as he does. He seems truly concerned with the deeper questions plaguing humanity’s existence—as one might imagine a man who walked away from a wildly successful band to study philosophy at Columbia would be.
Historically, Portland’s amazingly vibrant music scene has been known for producing exceptional rock bands of various genres—“Old Portland” and its gritty punk-influenced rock, and “New Portland’s” more sensitive indie and folk music—but rarely do the city’s RnB and hip hop scenes get much love.