You may know him as an artist by the name of Smino Brown, Smino for short, but behind the music, his real name is Christopher Smith Jr. As of right now, Smino Is opening up for SZA on her CRTL tour alongside Ravyn Lenae. Before he opened the show, we had a chat about his upbringing, his journey to Chicago and where he's at currently.

I read that your family is a real big musical family? I know your mom sings, your dad plays the keys, growing up did you feel like there was pressure from you to join the ranks to be musical too? Or something you fell in love with?

More support than pressure. It's what I wanted to do so, there was a push, but not like a you have to do it, but if this is what you're going to do, this is what you're going to do. Like no bullshit, that's what it was. So, it was a good discipline, like good level of balance. Like, show me this is what you want and I'll help you get it. I had a good ass support system.

And you weren't into rapping at first, you were into drumming, so how was that transition into that?

I mean, I was rapping always, it just wasn't known. I was known as the person who played drums, but I started rapping when I was seven years old. I started taking drums seriously when I was nine, so I might just say I started rapping first, but it's a balance thing because I sort of bring the drums into my verses, the way I write. I like to experiment with the different patterns and flows.

And I watched your interview with Peter Rosenberg and you were saying how experimenting is something you should be doing in your music.

Yeah because it's music, you can end up doing the same shit over and over or you can just make dope, crazy ass shit that you ain't heard from your damn self. That's how I liked to look at it.

Now like growing up, who were your like direct influences?

Luda, Kanye, T-Pain, Andre 3000.

And what were the specific things you took from those artists that you put into your music?

I liked how Luda had a sense of comic relief to all of his music, even his music videos, just super comedic. T-Pain, obviously, music genius. Kanye, confidence, just as a producer I was making beats and just to see an artist start a label and be able to turn into one of the greatest artists and go crazy with the fashion, it's kind of how I model myself.

Speaking of T-Pain, he just announced a tour you're going to be apart of?

Yeah yeah, that shit's going to be fun. You can imagine how happy I am. I've finally calmed down over that, I was tripping. I've known about it for so long and then announced it yesterday, I acted like I didn't know. I was like oh shit, I'm going on tour with T-Pain.

And I know your earliest tape you've done was a duo tape called, "Retail" and then you transitioned into your own solo tape, how was that?

Shit, it was cool. I mean, I made all the beats on that mixtape "Retail" so that was a lot of work, but I mean it's cool now because I got more structure with the team.

Yeah, because you met Monte.

Yeah, met Monte, met my manager, met all my people, like an assembly line of dope people. Like, once they give me the beat, I give them the song, I give it to my engineer and give it to my manager.

Have you stopped producing? I know I read that because you found your producer, you stopped?

Yeah, I did, but I actually just finished loading everything back up to my laptop, so yeah. All of my new artists friends about to get that blessing.

And I know you moved to Chicago and one of the biggest spaces for you in that area was the classick studios?

Yeah, that’s my managers place.

So how was that experience for you? I know I read that you heard Chance The Rapper recording Acid Rap during that era?

Everybody did that shit bruh. Everybody. Anybody you can name out of Chicago did a chunk of their shit in the studio. It's just a legendary spot bro. 20 years from now there's going to be a movie about it, but right now, it's still thriving. But that shit legendary. It's kind of crazy, you walk in their you can feel the energy.

And it came full circle for you because you worked Chance recently?

I mean, I actually knew Chance, but that shit was cool. It's funny I remember I was at the studio and the producer calls me and says Chance needs your help on this song, can you come right now? Caught an Uber and went right down there. And then he (Chance) played it for me and he's like yeah, I got a song with Big Sean and Jeremih on it, I want you to hop on it? I was like, alright, wrote down the verse in 5-10 minutes, went into the booth, recorded and left.

Now about the two EP's that you dropped, they were dropped relatively close together, were you working on them both around the same time?

Yeah and my album BlkSwn. I just knew people weren't ready for an album from me, so I wanted to splash a little bit bigger than I was at the time, so I put out the EP and It kind of did pretty well for me, then the other EP dropped. Then the album, all of that shit was made within the same 2-3 years span.

And I can't take credit for this, but I read that your album BlkSwn came out on March 14, 2017 and that's...

314 Day.

So that was planned?

Hell yeah, that's my area code. 314. I was like I'm going to drop it on 314, so I can stamp myself, make sure they know what's going on. I just wanted people from St Louis to make them feel good about themselves on our day. Like, shit it's 314 day.

Now over the years Toronto has become known to you now, you've done Adelaide Hall three times.

Yeah, three times! This is my first time ever leaving Adelaide Hall. You know I'm from a street called Adelaide in St Louis? So every time I come here I be on Adelaide, the street, like I want to play somewhere else.

So how are you feeling about tonight being here for the CTRL Tour?

You see this water man, the seagulls, I'm good.