Why Philly rapper Shawn Smith lives by the motto ‘sink or swim’

Shawn Smith is up next

Shawn Smith is a talented rapper from Philadelphia. Smith is getting lots of attention for his debut album Sink or Swim: A Shawn Smith Story as well as his freestyles on “Sway in the Morning” and the BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher. The Philly rapper is releasing more music in 2023 and is becoming known in industry circles as Philly’s hip-hop renaissance man due to music centered around themes of love, art, politics, and struggle.

What’s the message that you want people to take away from your music?

I’m always on a quest to just give people what I always wanted in life and creativity. I think about that a lot. Like, “What am I doing this for?” I’m not that selfish to where I want to do it to where I just want to get rich for doing this. There’s a lot of intent and impact that I plan to have. I care about the impact even more than legacy. I want to be able to create a platform and a way for other artists to do their thing, even if it’s me doing my thing and giving people hope.

I’ve seen people send me messages saying what I do inspires them every day, and sometimes you don’t even realize that. I’m working every day trying to inspire people but I realize I’m already doing it.

I think that every day as an artist I’m breaking those barriers and making sure I’ve remained myself because a lot of people are watching. I think people like being able to see that. It did do a lot for upcoming creators because the people I’m inspired by I’m always talking about how good they are and it inspires me to be the best I can be.

Is that message going to be instilled in your next project Hope Dealer?

I like to view myself as a bada– artist, and with my next project hope there’s nothing wrong with speeding creativity. I just try to do it in a dope way that’s really me. I don’t ever want to be the person that comes in on career day and says “Y’all should be doing this.” That’s not who I am.

I’m a hope dealer because it’s truly what I embody and what I want to do, and how I feel about people, art, and how my city moves from what I see every day. My thing is to find a missing piece and become that for people. We don’t need the same s— that we did all the time. We need somebody that’s going to come through and have something that people are going to appreciate the art. I would like trillions of people to love my s— but realistically with art people experience different emotions from it and all I’m here to do is bring those emotions out.

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