Ever since album release dates changed to Fridays, the last day before the weekend has become a mad scramble of too many projects to count, keep track of, or listen to by the beginning of the next week. Intergalactic St. Louis rapper Smino gets it, and being a generous sort, has delivered his latest project, Noir, a whole day early, giving listeners a chance to take it in before the rush begins.
And they just might need it, too. Typically of his tightly woven rap circle which includes cerebral wordsmiths like Mick Jenkins and Saba, Smino’s latest is a dense, intellectual offering full of complex bars and clever, “blink-and-you’ll-miss” wordplay. Unlike his moody past project, Blkswn, however, Noir is a bright and upbeat affair, full of the offbeat humor that defines his rhyme style, but updated with funkier, lighter beats that reflect his disposition since becoming a bonafide star.
The album features appearances from fellow rising stars like Chicago’s Valee and Dreezy, production from Smino’s own Zero Fatigue crew — Bari, Monte Booker, Jay2, and Ravyn Lenae — and feels like a throwback to the late-90s heyday of the Dungeon Family collective, all freaky beats and soulful tones, conducted masterfully by the self-possessed, eclectic rapper at the helm.
Noire is out now via Zero Fatigue and Downtown Records. Get it here.