A young Richmond rapper on the come-up, Smyth Knight doesn’t let his youth hold him back. Marc Cheatham of the Cheats Movement gets the lowdown on what’s up with Smyth Knight.
Dylan Smith, AKA Smyth Knight, is a senior at Clover Hill High School. He’s been making waves throughout Richmond’s hip-hop scene for the last two years. He’s come a long way in a short time, from being excluded from local events due to his age, to shooting guerilla videos in the middle of Times Square. Knight reps the underrepresented art kids graduating from Central Virginia schools in droves. His creativity is limitless. Meet Smyth Knight.
Name: Dylan Smith
Rap Name: Smyth Knight
Years in the Game: I’ve been in the Richmond scene for about two years now.
Latest Project Name: A Single and Video – “Hammer Pantz”
Biggest musical influences: I have a love-hate relationship with this question because my inspirations are so broad. There’s a lot of newer acts like Joey Bada$$ (Pro Era), Tyler, The Creator (Odd Future), Childish Gambino, and legends like J Dilla, Camp Lo, Gil- Scott Heron, and The Pharcyde.
How did you develop a love for hip-hop?
I’d have to say just how raw and true hip-hop is. That’s the thing that really connected with me. There’s generally no censors or barriers on where you can go instrumentally and what you can say. It’s upfront, in your face, and makes the message known, no sugarcoating about it.
How does being in high school affect the development of your music?
A lot of times it feels like I’m living two separate lives. I’m sitting in class planning the next video or writing the next song while my teacher is mapping out Orion’s Belt. I had my whole school going hard campaigning for me for the Flag On the Moon IV opener competition last year. In some ways, it’s a tough dynamic, but I find it a lot of fun. It makes school more interesting.
What messages do you like to convey through your music?
I just want to tell my story and any story I feel should be brought to light. Sometimes I feel like I’m the mouthpiece for the “loser art kids,” because deep down that’s what I am, and all my homies are. I make sure I’m real with everything I say, and maintain who I am.
How do you view the role of video, both music videos and documentary video, impacting your career?
It’s everything to me. Film is just another extension of myself, where I can capture stories I want to tell. It’s where this artist thing started for me. Before I ever picked up the mic, I was playing with the camera. The only difference now is that I’m using them hand in hand.
What’s the hardest thing about your career path right now?
Being younger has definitely been an interesting challenge. Being in this generation, it can be hard to be taken seriously. Although most of that is behind me, I’m still occasionally misjudged based on my age bracket. I’ve seen a lot of kids view their age as a roadblock, but I’ve always seen it as a unique perspective not many other artists in the city have.
What do “old hip-hop heads” not recognize in young artists?
First off, that “old head” term is wack… half the time I feel like I’m an “old head.” That being said, I feel like one thing generations before me may not see is the power in coming together. I think Richmond does a good job of shedding light on the youth, but I don’t think people fully recognize how much we do all by ourselves. Just look at Beats, Rhythm, & Life (@brlrva) and the events they’ve been doing at 6PIC (Six Points Innovation Center) that are fully for the youth, by the youth. The kids are the fuel of the community and the future of this whole hip-hop movement.
What’s next for you musically?
The next thing for me is expanding my brand, “Kidz At Play.” I have amazing things coming with the people I’ve been working with. You can expect to see a lot from us in 2020, music especially.
This article originally appeared at TheCheatsMovement.com. Images via Smyth Knight/The Cheats Movement
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