Marlo Smith is a trailblazer, and he's never compromising his sound for trends. His sounds shift from nostalgic vibes to hard-hitters, but he's guaranteed to always speak his mind. The hip-hop extraordinaire is taking over with his vibrant, bigger-than-life sounds and attitude. We caught up with Marlo to find out more about his inspirations, his advice for new artists, and what's up next for the creative maven.
Q: What is the story behind "Black Boy 2"?
Black Boy 2 is the follow up to my debut project Black Boy, I dropped that 2 years ago. It's a trilogy of growth for me, 5 songs that represent 5 perspectives on what it's like being a Black Boy from my perspective. The reason it's always 5 songs is because there are 5 senses that represent Life so that number is important to me.
Black Boy 2 is a reintroduction of Marlo Smith "The Black Boy' to a world that I feel like needs new energy in the music being consumed. I don't follow trends or pander my artistry in any way I do what feels good to me in expressing my individuality and musicianship and that's what Black Boy is all about. It's about me identifying as a Black Boy but also embracing that my journey is only my journey and those two thing play on opposite sides of the same coin.
Q: Who in the music industry - past and present - are your greatest influences?
My biggest influence is probably going to be a Kanye West or an Andre 3000 in hip hop. Those guys are trailblazers man. I love the honesty and the fearlessness in their approach to the art, they go left (idk if that's a choice made consciously) but it always comes across as refreshing. Even outside of music, they have had a big influence on my fashion and the way I present myself but the biggest reason why they are up there for me is because they don't give a fuck about popular opinion man they seemingly do what's true to them and to me that's freedom.
Q: What advice do you have for new artists trying to break into the industry?
Don't quit and keep an open mind. It's hard work but nothing in life that's worth it comes easy but just make sure you keep at it. Keep honing your talents because that's your currency and if you're going independent make sure that you manage and maintain the relationships you make along the way because those are priceless.
Q. What's the coolest place you've ever performed?
Easily ODR studios in Newark NJ, It's a fire warehouse loft space with the biggest vibes. From the outside looking in it is very unassuming but I was introduced to it while filming for the 'never too late' series with Viceland. I've performed there a few times though, even snuck one in during the pandemic for a private event but it's crazy man there are old classic cars and motorcycles and all types of contraptions all over the place. An ivory grand piano, a library or something I think I still haven't even peeled back all the layers there. The bathroom is straight out the 1950's too it's my favorite place to perform.
Q. What's next for Marlo Smith?
We just got back from my hometown of Broward County Fl to shoot the video for Flutter off Black Boy 2. It was important for me to get the homegrown vibe on that record because it's all about flourishing and rising above where you are currently so yeah we're in the last stages of making that perfect but you'll also be getting a new project we happened to record while there and that's going to be 'The Flawda Project'. More Music, More Content is what's up next but I can't wait to do shows again because I know my true draw as an artist and as a human is in person and the panera/Panamera/panosonic really clipped that whole situation for all artists so looking forward to that.