Shawn Smith is the new Prince of Philly



When Black Thought grabbed the mic for a freestyle session with Funk Flex, the moment served as not only a lyrical exercise for the legend but also a reminder that the city of Brotherly Love is not to be messed with when it comes to dope emcees. From Cassidy, to Beans, the list goes on, making us rap enthusiast pose one question: Who’s next? Well one things for certain, if Black Thought co signs a young rapper, you listen. The Southwest Philly native Shawn Smith, who recently hit up lunch with him may very well be next in line.

Photo by Durrell Hospedale

The name Shawn Smith is nothing new to rap heads among the city and the east coast for that matter, as Smith has already carved out a name for himself with his punch line heavy, story telling rap style. He caught our ear when he absolutely incinerated a freestyle with Sway, prompting his team to refer to him as “Ahead of his time.” Word on the street is, a verse he recently laid down on the “Dooms Day cypher” is even better, and Twitter predicts that a bidding war over Smith’s talents is inevitable. With “Sink Or Swim, a Shawn Smith Story,” streaming on all platforms, you can check out his skills for yourself. Just be ready to extinguish all that fire.

IG: @Shawnsmithstory


1. What does the city of Philly mean to you? How does it feel to be embraced by legends such as Black Thought?

The city of Philly means a lot to me. It showed me everything I am, and everything I didn’t want to be. It showed me how special our culture is and now all I wanna do is be as much of an inspiration to the city as it’s been to me. To be embraced by legends like Black Thought is almost unreal. Someone who paved a way for what I do and is highly respected and gifted; I’m forever grateful and have a lot of respect for the game he gave me. Salute to him.

2. We love your skillset as an artist. What would you say you’re bringing to the rap game?

Thank you. What I bring to the game is harsh honesty and truth. I feel like I bring hope, and I bring exactly what hip hop is about; a voice for us. I will always pride myself on originality and being as creative as I can be. All while using my gift to leave listeners in awe; I have an actual message I’m passionate about. That message is that God is the answer to what everyone from the bottom is looking for. I’m a follower of Christ, and I know how to speak the language to the people I’m from because I’m still there. I’m for the people; nothing more nothing less. I’m for the streets, and I will get my point across by telling stories about our experiences here in the streets. To be so amazing that it inspires the youth to fly as high as they can and never believe in limits.

3. What should we expect from Sink or swim?

You should expect Sink Or Swim: A Shawn Smith Story to teach you a lot about where the streets of Philly and faith crosses paths. To teach you a lot about always having a choice to overcome, or be sunken in by circumstances. You should expect to hear some of the most greatest lyrics and storytelling you’ve ever lended an ear to.

4. What’s been your biggest success so far?

Going on Sway In The Morning was big for me because I’m such a dreamer. I literally watched Sway on YouTube almost every single day while making my last album, anticipating my moment to appear on there. I’m just so thankful for every co-sign I’ve gotten in 2017 and I’m happy God is using me.

5. What should we expect out of Shawn Smith this year?

This year, besides great music, I have no idea what to expect. And that’s why it’s so exciting. I have no management, label, or push behind me. I literally just have God and my circle. I can guarantee a lot great music and moves being made, but I’m on the edge of my seat watching God put things together, while working as hard as I can and doing my part. Expect to see Shawn Smith next to the legends. Expect to see me aligned with the greats and nothing less than that. Expect to see me as a man of the people and taking it as far as God allows me to go. Thank you for listening to what I had to say, and before I go, I wanna give a shout-out to Philadelphia. A shoutout to my team, Cord and Unc, to my guys Jay and Ben, and all of the homies and trouble we all got in that inspired this tape. Proverbs 16:33 NLT “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.” SINKORSWIM!



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