St. Louis rapper-singer Smino spreads some holiday cheer this week with the release of his two-song EP, Home 4 Da Highladays. The early Christmas gift contains features from Masego and Monte Booker and finds Smino playing the role of “Atlanta Clauss,” as he slinks soulfully through the lavish production on “Kushmas” and “Sleigh,” singing the praises of an entirely different kind of Christmas tree. Picture Marvin Gaye putting his stripped-down twist on Christmas carols — but if Marvin also rapped.
On “Kushmas,” a light conga rhythm underpins Smino’s crooning over a simple electric guitar loop as he invites a paramour to “come over to my my house.” As usual, he twists and stretches the pronunciations of his lyrics to make slant rhymes that highlight his one-of-a-kind creativity before breaking out into a full-on caterwauling repetition of the EP’s title.
Meanwhile, on “Sleigh,” Smino employs Monte Booker’s silky keys to get more lyrical, juggling words at warp speed to craft an ode to cold weather indoor activities before Masego pops up with his saxophone and a sexy verse of his own, referencing Andre 3000, Ugg boots, and Nancy Spumoni from Hey Arnold‘s Christmas episode.
Smino’s got a busy 2020 on the books, as he plans to not only follow up on his 2018 album Noir, but he also has the Ghetto Sage project on the way with Noname and Saba. Check out High 4 Da Highladays above.