Every now and again, I hear an artist and my pulse starts racing. I hear music I like a lot nowadays, but rarely new music that I love. For me, Smoke Dza IS one of those artists. At first glance, song titles may have some believe that Smoke Dza is an artist more preoccupied with rolling up a joint than making serious music, but Dza is very serious about his music and for those willing to listen closely, you will appreciate the wordplay for what it truly is. Political awareness, sprinkled with red flashing warning lights, rolled up cleverly in under the guise of a king size slim Rizla paper.
With his “RollingStoned” album due for released August 30th, we caught up with Smoke Dza to dig a lil deeper… and yes. He WAS blunted.
For those who haven’t heard much about Smoke Dza, who is Smoke Dza?
DZA: Smoke Dza is from Harlem, New York. He’s a famous stoner. I’m just for having fun. Making people laugh.
You do have a really huge underground following, “cult like” following, now crossing over to the mainstream. Why do you think that is?
DZA: It’s not a cult following yet, as of right now it’s just some people that see something special before it happens. Everybody wants to be up on it first. You still have a lot of people who really just don’t know what it is and just gettin’ introduced to it. Right now, I’m in a good space. I’m pretty excited about what’s goin’ on. Hopefully the people that’s not listening start listening and the haters turn in. ‘Cause you know, it’s all the same. Hate is just Love in reverse. They hate me first just to love me later.
Everything you do is smoke related, do you REALLY smoke that much?
Are you high right now?
DZA: Yeah. I was just about to tell you that. We stoned right now. We at the airport right now. I’m good and loaded. My album[RollingStoned] title has just come from me just goofin’. Me comin’ up with lil funny stoner names and then I come up with the topics as well. I come up with a headline and then there’s always a sub meaning, it’s never just really what you’re reading. There’s always some kind of significance to all of my album titles. “George Kush Da Button” – a time I felt like there was a lot of people sleepin’. Way too many people sleepin’. So I was like – I’m about to “Kush Da Button” on ‘em real fast. Shake things up. Let’s wake ‘em up a lil bit. “George Kush Da Button” was me just pushing the button giving the ‘red alert’. “RollingStoned” now, it’s a lil after George Kush, and it’s like – ok. Well now I’m here I’m rolling stoned. After “RollingStoned”, I’ll be doin’ something else. My moniker has really just come off from me being loaded and goofin’ with my partners.
Who did the young Dza grow up listening to?
DZA: Young Dza listened to a lot of Jay Z. He’s my favourite rapper of all time. Young Dza listened to a lot of Biggie too. A lot of Jay Z and Biggie and a lot of Snoop Dogg too.
Is there anyone’s music you are feeling right now?
DZA: Yeah. The same people. Jay. Big and of course myself. I listen to myself. All the new stuff that people didn’t hear yet. I listen to a lot of my peers. I listen to Big K.R.I.T. I got his album in my ipad. I got all Curren$y’s albums in my ipad. I get inspired and motivated from my peers really. Dom Kennedy’s new album. Kendrick Lamar “Section 80”. I’m listening to the people around me because you know, they are talented dudes. That motivates me to step up the bar when I hear somebody say something slick, I’m like – that was hot. Why didn’t I think of that?
“RollingStoned” is due for release soon. What can we expect from this new album?
DZA: You can expect the same thing. You can expect stellar production. A lot of anthems. In this particular album, I got a lot of features. Usually, I tend to dibble and dabble with features with the people I like. It’s people I listen to that I have genuine interest in. I don’t just do songs with just anyone unless it’s business but for my own purposes I always wanna do music with people that I can really have respect for. I got a lot of good features on this project, good production, good topics and a lotta anthems. I got a lot of stories to tell too so, it’ll be real cool.
What’s coming next once the album has dropped?
DZA: “RollingStoned” comes out August 30th so that’s really what my focus is on. After that, I’ll be on tour. “Smokers Club” tour in October. The tour will be nationwide. I think I’ll be back in Amsterdam in November. I’m working on “George Kush Da Button: The Second Term”. That should be cool too.
Hip hop to you is…
DZA: My Love. My Life. My Destiny.
By Ayara Pommells