Luv 4 Rent is the third full-length LP of St. Louis rapper Smino.
His Style is progressively getting more defined and unique, as opposed to his previous projects, which seemed more derivative of other artist works.
This album provides an exciting listening experience cause it blends elements of hip-hop, R&B, and contemporary soul.
Smino keeps building a cult following around his creative melodic flows and eccentric vocal layering skill.
A lot of cuts on this project are a pure exhibition of style.
In "Matinee" it seems like Smino is doing vocal acrobatics around the sweet sounding instrumental. In "Defibrillator" the gospel influences are really flowing through the elegant and heavenly harmonized vocal work.
Other songs like "Settle Down" or "Pro Freak" bring a party vibe to the table, and both feature incredible smooth flows by the guest artists.
Not everything is focused on the form of the album tho; Smino proves to care about the content too, with very creative ways of approaching serious topics.
"Blue Billy" and "Curtains" are fitting examples. In the first Smino talks about the unfairness of life. Not everyone is given the same deck of cards to play with. Many are, as the artist says, "conditioned by condition".
On the second, he says: "If Amiri redid the American flag, it still wouldn't swag, still feeling like they holding that shit over our head whenever it wags".
A complex problem like systematic racism in America isn't fixable or erasable by empty government speeches or small gestures that do not provide valuable and long-lasting solutions.
That would be comparable to having a designer rebranding the flag, hoping that somehow it would actually change how the country is run.
Going back to the style of the album, sometimes, especially in the middle, some of the songs can feel a bit too atmospheric or bare, without a proper bite to them. Overall it's not a breaker, Luv 4 Rent is for sure more hit than miss, and that's the case for the final cut that exhibits some of the prettiest vocal layers on the project with an incredible soul vibe surrounding the song.