Student rapper uses pain, heartbreak to make music

Posted on Nov 15 2017 - 7:56am by Jordan Maury

Devante Malone is a sport and recreation management major who aspires to leave the University of Mississippi as not only a scholar but also a bonafide rap artist his hometown of Southaven can be proud of.

The young aspiring artist has already released two full-length projects on Apple Music under the stage name Smoov. After listening to his newest album, “Letter from the Heart,” it’s evident this guy has talent. Smoov raps with a certain charismatic charm that would make you believe he was born to do it.

But music wasn’t his first love.

“To be honest, I didn’t really think I was going to be making music,” Smoov said. “I was firm in my belief that I would be playing football.”

Rap, at first, was nothing more than something Smoov and his teammates would jokingly do in their free time, but a career-ending injury would change that.

Photo by Devna Bose

Photo by Devna Bose

Smoov’s dreams of becoming a collegiate football player were derailed, his future was uncertain and his outlook on life was bleak.

“I had so much pain and aggression built up after my injury and didn’t know what else to do,” he said.

The answer to Smoov’s dilemma came from conversations with friends who suggested he take making music seriously. He was sold. Smoov immersed himself in his music by writing songs and recording beats.

The 21-year-old has come a long way from his simple beginnings. The sound quality on “Letter from the Heart” far exceeds anything he has previously recorded. Then again, that’s what happens when a musician goes from recording things with minimal equipment in his hallway bathroom to being surrounded by talent in a Memphis-based recording studio, One Sound Studio.

“One Sound is sort of a staple for Southern artists,” Smoov said. “I have people ask me all the time, ‘Where do you record?’ I don’t hesitate to tell them because I didn’t have too many people pointing me in the right direction to get my music where it is now. It’s only right for me to point them in the right direction.”

Smoov’s humble and honest nature can be seen not only in his actions but also in his music. On the song “Come By,” Smoov raps candidly about a failed relationship in which he gave his all. Listeners can almost feel the regret as if it is their own.

When Smoov makes music, he’s not doing it just for the sake of making music. He wants to pour his feelings into his tracks for the audience to feel, like he did on the song “Letter from the Heart.”

“I found myself crying at one point because I was putting so much soul and realness into it,” Smoov said. “It was the first time I experienced something like that.”

The openness Smoov shows in his music comes as no surprise, because he keeps artists like Kevin Gates, J. Cole and Drake in his listening rotation.

With the help of his producers TGlock and Fadawayjay, Smoov doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. He’s already performed live multiple times in his hometown and had a gig at The Lyric Oxford last spring.

Even though his name is relatively small now, Smoov has all the tools to become bigger. He’s so versatile that matching the right flow or hook to a beat comes with ease. There’s no doubt he’ll continue growing into something Southaven can brag about.