Minneapolis rapper REEL SMOOVV recently dropped an album titled 31st K.Nights. REEL is an acronym for Rebellious, Educated, Enlightened, Liberator. The double “VV” of Smoovv represents the first letter in his last name, Watkins. REEL Smoovv recently released his sophomore full-length album, 31st K.Nights.
Smoovv got his start by freestyling over beats with his friends, and his style slowly grew. As he explains:
From there I started writing and working on my personal stuff, within my first year of rapping I released two projects, The REEL Revolution and Summer Jams. During this period of my career, I was in a group called Flood The Basement, also known as FTB, and we also dropped a project entitled Watchu Want. After FTB disbanded, I and two others in the group (RAW Toon & FreshVs Sellers) created Deeply Rooted Tribe and joined the Mill City Collective, where we found a home and were allowed to thrive as an artist.
Being inspired by Bob Marley, Nate Dogg, Outkast, DMX, and Nelly – and spreading the philosophy of “invest to progress, love the process, not the contest” – Smoovv continued to release work. He even had a weekly series known as “SmoovvSaturdays” where he rapped over industry beats he enjoyed.
Which brings us to 31st K.Nights. Smoovv explains:
Everything started for me musically on 31st & 5th Ave. It’s a constant theme in the titles of my projects. It pretty much just goes back to the concept of me reflecting on the dark times I’ve experienced while living on 31st and highlighting the fact that its beauty in the struggle.
The album reflects on the beauty and struggles through rhymes like “almost lost my damn mind this past winta (winta)/tragedy after tragedy life was in a blinder” (“Shawshank Redemption”).
Later he reflects on the beauty of a focused mind: “I’m too focused mane I’m just zoned in/keep my foot upon the peddle never coastin” (“365 On”).
The eight-track album continues to share these thoughts. Smoovv even pays respects to past rappers such as Busta Rhymes in his song “The Era ,” using the lingo “whoo-ha” as a metaphor for a variety of educational and sexual references.
Each song carries a metaphorical coded message in relevant pop cultural references. Songs such as “Lessons Learned,” “93L,” and “365 On” are equally reminicent of 90’s/Early 2000’s hiphop— a reshreshing break from popular autotuned trap music.
All in all, the 31st K.Nights album has strokes of genius on both its beats and lyrics and his messages are on-point. I look forward to Smoovv bringing more originality and boldness to the table as he continues to grow as an artist.