Chicago's Smba is quickly becoming known as a tell-all rapper/performer who doesn't pull any punches in his emotionally raw style of alternative rap. Sporting perspicacious views on mental health and societal hurdles, the Chicago emcee is tackling topics that still don't get as much coverage in modern hip-hop as they should. After releasing the complex and nuanced Claustrophobic EP earlier this year, "Marathon" finds Smba still on a defined path of personal and lyrical evolution.
Frenetic and impassioned, Smba raps with a breathless style that imbues a distinctive heart in his rhymes. Claustrophobic really defined him as an emcee that isn't afraid to bare his soul over an instrumental and "Marathon" continues that theme. Rapping over a vintage-sounding boom-bap instrumental, he delivers a thorough serenade of musings and quotables that feel even more mature than his previous work. The accompanying visual is his strongest to date as we follow Smba from the crowded streets of Chicago to a smoky bedroom in a visual that feels just like the music; innately personal and open.
Making socially and mentally conscious rap that doesn't come off as bloated or preachy is a feat that shouldn't go unrecognized. With Smba's dense and emotion-packed bars coming fast and furious, his music is fun and light-hearted on the surface with densely layered messages just beneath. Perhaps the next voice of Chicago's underground scene, keep an eye on the young emcee to stay trending in a positive direction in the future.
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