Smino’s stop in Charlotte felt like a homecoming

 By Megan Wolford

May 8, 2019

It’s been some time since St. Louis produced a diamond in the rough and, on Monday, May 6, Charlotte got to experience the Midwest’s second coming during Smino’s Hoopti Tour at The Underground. There’s definitely something special brewing within the bravado of the St. Louis melodist. From his early EP blkjptr to his latest album NOIR, Smino effortlessly fuses genres, tonality, and perspective to give listeners a raw, eclectic mirror of their most provocative thoughts. Smino’s ability to connect his brand with timeless pop culture fixtures generated a buzz for this tour run that produced several sold-out shows.


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Paying homage to black cinema during NOIR’s rollout, he reimagined classic film covers with his own flair. By featuring titles like “Do Da Slight Thing” (Do The Right Thing, 1989), “Juiced” (Juice, 1992) and “Bruh N The Hood” (Boyz N The Hood, 1991) Smino affirms that in the future, he will in fact be considered a classic pop culture icon. On any given day he can be seen wearing clothes and brands that give clear nods to the ‘90s. Opting for tour tees featuring Wu-Tang, Mary J Blige, throwback NBA jerseys, and brands like Karl Kani, Smino’s style is highly influenced by retro fashion.

Smino. Photo: Alvin C. Jacobs

He was joined by Chicago’s Phoelix and Atlanta’s Earthgang giving Charlotte a healthy mashup of indie hip-hop flavor. Phoelix’s fusion of R&B, jazz, and trap was well received by the crowd. He ended his set by hopping on the keys paying homage to Carl Thomas with an instrumental version of “I Wish.”

If Smino was the hoopti, Earthgang was certainly the gasoline that lit up the party. Performing songs like “Nothing But The Best” and “Stuck,” Earthgang got the crowd revved up, but the highlight of their set was bringing three fans on stage to dance to Fun’s “We Are Young.”

Earthgang. Photo: Alvin C. Jacobs

Smino has been steadily carving out his spot in the game since 2012. With a solid team surrounding him, Smino’s music is uniquely crafted, and “timeless” is just one word to describe his ever-evolving sound. With unorthodox melodies and chords, Smino continues to deliver refreshing music to a wide audience.

Fresh off his Coachella performance dubbed “Frochella,” the 27-year-old lives up to the Zero Fatigue (musical collective with Bari, Monte Booker, Jay2, and Ravyn Lenae) moniker he represents. Hitting the stage with “TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD,” the reggae reminiscent rhythm allowed the crowd to ease into the high-energy set. Smino donned a Charlotte Hornets vintage shirt and was spotted earlier in the day shopping at the vintage streetwear boutique, Good Times CLT.

Smino. Photo: Alvin C. Jacobs

Backed by what Smino calls his “ban ban,” the bass, drums, and keys rattled the actual hoopti parked on stage. Weaving in and out of his catalogue from old to new, Smino blessed the crowd with hits like “Anita” and “Maraca” from blkswan and a triple medley including “Low Down Derrty Blues,” “Ace” and “Wild Irish Rose.”

“This is for the homie who made his friends listen to my music when they were asking for Future,” Smino joked. “Netflix and D’usse’s” playful bounce had the crowd engulfed in a melodic sway while Smino showed off a few dance moves. Loads of crowd calls to actions, a mosh pit and swag surf give you a perfect snapshot of how music collides worlds. The crowd moshed through “PIZANO,” while “Khlorine” seamlessly switched to an all-hands-on-deck swag surf.

“Father Son Holy Smoke,” was the last song of the night. A fitting closer as the lyrics encourage us to go out in the world and evolve into better versions of ourselves. As the lights came up, some started the third “SMINO!” chant of the night. A shirtless Smino jolted back on stage with the drums blaring his hit single “KLINK.” As fans ran back in excitement, the stage was filled with an entourage of people shouting and dancing as Smino tightly hugged his DJ/Hypeman (and Charlotte native) Jeff Thompson for a show well done in his hometown.

The 2019 Grammys proved that young urban influences are on the rise and being recognized for their contributions to the music industry. Smino’s current momentum is setting him up to be positioned with the likes of SZA, Chance The Rapper, HER, and the late Nipsey Hussle.

Check out the remaining tour dates for Smino in 2019

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