Oct. 28 featured some spectacular releases from Westside Gunn, SZA, and even Rihanna. However, the St. Louis star Smino finally released his long-awaited album “Luv 4 Rent.” Being one of the most authentic and grooviest artists of this generation, the highly anticipated project couldn’t have come sooner.
This project continues to build off the idea of love, from Black love, familial love, self-love or intimacy. This is displayed in multiple ways, from featuring his younger cousin in the intro and outro to even the sample of his late friend Teddy Ray.
Smino continues to spread the love by featuring a wide array of talented acts from the king of Dreamville J.Cole as well as Lil Uzi Vert, Lucky Daye, Ravyn Lenae, Reggie, and more. While many of the appearances were superb, Doechii’s “Pro Freak” is high-paced and infatuating, possibly surpassing her “Wat U Sed” feature.
This entire album goes back and forth in tempo, at times smooth R&B infused like “Modennaminute” while others are upbeat like “Matinee.” It was great that Smino stuck to his roots while working with longtime producers Phoelix and Monte Booker, though at times he also decides to branch out, for instance, with the Monica sample in “No L’s.”
There is not much one could want more out of this album. Smino continues to improve his worldplay and try new elements with his neo-soul-inspired sound.
The features were paired perfectly for this project, but it would’ve been nice to see more uncommon collaborations similar to “Pudgy” with Lil Uzi Vert. However, that is not much of a negative, since none of the appearances disappointed, and neither did the solo work.
The only possible complaint is that the 51 minutes didn’t quench the fans' four-year drought.
What draws many to Smino is the out-of-this-world originality that makes him a one-of-a-kind rapper. The Zero Fatigue champion does follow trends and encourages a fun genuine personality. In an interview with Jordan Rose of Complex Magazine, Smino spoke about how "Luv 4 Rent" changed over time since the outcome of the original version.
“Pt. 1 is like a B-side, but I didn’t like it as much because it’s more like a movie. It’s mad cinematic, so instead of the deluxe, I’m going to drop pt. 1 like the prequel. It’s going to explain what happened that led me up to this,” Smino said.
Planning to tour with Dreamville artists JID, Smino continues to be the best-known secret. This album is at least a top five hip-hop album of the year and deserves the attention of one.
I would rate “Luv 4 Rent” a 8.5 out of 10.