The world of hip-hop is as vibrant and diverse as ever, with numerous upcoming artists making a name for themselves. One such rising star is Smino, a St. Louis-born rapper and singer who skillfully blends soul and hip-hop to create a unique sound. As an educator, it’s essential to expose students to new artists and share insights about their creative process and background. This article will provide an overview of Smino’s career, his musical style, and how to teach students about his work.


Born Christopher Smith Jr. in 1991, Smino grew up surrounded by music. His father was a keyboardist, while his mother was a singer, and together they formed a gospel band. Smino followed in their footsteps, learning multiple instruments including drums, keyboards, and guitar. After turning his focus toward hip-hop, he released his first mixtape, “Smeezy Dot Com,” in 2012 – marking the beginning of his career.

Musical Style and Influences

Smino’s musical style is an eclectic fusion of hip-hop, R&B, Soul, and electronic beats. His production and instrumentation often take center stage alongside his intricate bars and flow. He cites various influences spanning from Southern rap legends like OutKast to jazz heroes like Herbie Hancock.

Teaching Students About Smino

1. Introduce students to his discography: Start by playing tracks like “Anita,” “BlkSwn,” “Glass Flows,” or “Z4L.” Encourage students to listen closely to the lyrics and identify common themes such as love, struggle, community ties.

2. Analyze lyrics for poetic devices: Delve into how Smino uses metaphors, similes, alliteration, or other literary devices within his writing. Break down the lyrics in songs like “Ace” or “Silk Pillows,” and compare his style with other artists in the genre.

3. Explore his production collaborations: Many of Smino’s tracks are collaborations with the production duo, Monte Booker and THEMpeople. Discuss how these collaborations contribute to his unique sound and how they could potentially inspire students to collaborate in their creative ventures.

4. Discuss Smino’s social impact: Showcase his activism as an advocate for black culture and social justice both in his music and personal life. Engage students in conversation about how they can use their craft to make a difference.

5. Create a student project based on his music: Encourage students to draw inspiration from Smino’s music, whether it be through writing rap verses, producing beats, writing essays, or creating artwork connected to what they took from his songs.


Smino is a testament to the ever-changing landscape of hip-hop, showcasing his exceptional talent in a genre that is continuously evolving. By teaching students about Smino, educators not only expose them to a uniquely talented artist but also open their minds to the importance of individuality and creativity in music and beyond.

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