Smoke DZA talks Rugby Thompson, Harry Fraud & Ralph Lauren [Interview]
Harlem, NY – Inside his New York home, Smoke DZA is sorting through his Ralph Lauren collection. Along with story telling and weed smoking, Smoke DZA has a certain affinity for RL, which is clear by his current problem.
“I hate packing my bag,” he says laughing. “Because I just don’t like deciding on what I’m gonna wear and I don’t want to leave anything behind. I have so much shit, it’s not even funny. Truthfully I’ve lost count. I have hundreds of Polos.”
The Kushed God is packing for his third Smokers Club Tour, hitting Toronto tonight and Montreal after that. The packing will eventually get done, and presumably by Sunday the air will be a bit more hazy in Toronto. Alongside Juicy J, Chevy Woods, Joey Bada$$ and Fat Trel, Smoke will hit the stage and whatever else is being lit inside the Pheonix.
As Smoke DZA continued to pack, HipHopCanada’s Central Editor Jonathon “Bizz” Brown spoke with him about weed, Harry Fraud, “Playground Legends,” and his latest album Rugby Thompson. Click the jump for the full interview. [More]
Smoke DZA: Q&A
Interview conducted by Jonathon “Bizz” Brown
HipHopCanada: You’re coming here for The Smokers Club Tour, so what are your weed preferences?
Smoke DZA: I’m a big OG Kush fan. Sour Diesel. I smoke papers. I smoke blunts. I’m from New York so it’s pretty hard to shake the blunts. But I smoke it all.
HipHopCanada: What about edibles, like cookies?
Smoke DZA: I used to be a brownie guy, but I had a bad trip last time on a brownie so I think I’ma leave them alone for a bit. It’s like a whole other high. It’s like a blood high. That shits really in your system. It feels like your drunk and I’m not a big drinker so I don’t want to feel like I’m drunk when I’m trying to be high.
HipHopCanada: With weed being a fairly significant part of your public persona, do you ever have trouble getting into Canada?
Smoke DZA: For the most part I never have a problem going into Canada. I have a problem getting out. I always have a problem at the U.S. border. They don’t like me for some reason and I’m a U.S. citizen. Its crazy because every time I leave to come back I’m always in some bullshit. They always detaining me or doing some stupid shit. They don’t want to let me back into the country I’m from. The Canadians are always very polite. They always show a lot of love. So I’ve never had any problem coming in. I’ve maybe been searched more than anyone else but never where I was detained or anything coming into Canada.
HipHopCanada: You and Harry Fraud recently judged the Medical Marijuana Cup in San Francisco. How was that experience?
Smoke DZA: We judged different strands and met growers and shit and ya it was pretty cool. I judge marijuana on a daily basis so it was like another day at home.
HipHopCanada: Rugby Thompson is out now. How do you feel about the project now that it’s finished and released?
Smoke DZA: The response has been great. I think the fans are receiving it well. We’re getting a lot of press and the music is great. I’m just excited.
HipHopCanada: What did you do differently on Rugby Thompson than on Rolling Stoned?
Smoke DZA: I did a lot of story telling. I always tell some type of story on all my projects. This one was a little more dark and a little more from a storytelling point of view. It wasn’t more so the weed anthems and the fun records that people are used to hearing from me. It was dark and its straight to the point. There wasn’t no beating around the bush on this. And the production is a lot better. I feel like this was my most put together release.
HipHopCanada: One record that stands out is “Playground Legends.” What inspired that song?
Smoke DZA: That record got inspired by just thinking about the people I grew up with and when we were younger and we thought these people were going to be the next whoever, the next Biggie, the next Jay-z, the next Allen Iverson, the next Michael Jordan and never really followed up on everybody’s expectations and they just ended up being that guy, the playground legend. He used to be. Like, ya he used to be, this way. And in my lifetime, in my neighborhood where I grew up, I grew up with a lot of playground legends.
HipHopCanada: You take it back to the one MC, one producer model on Rugby Thompson with Harry Fraud producing everything.
Smoke DZA: Harry is a very special producer. He’s one of a kind. There’s not to many producers making music like Harry Fraud. So to have the opportunity to work with him and for him to even be one of my friends who I could turn to, it was a pleasure doing that. I’m ready to do part 2.
HipHopCanada: How long did it take to make complete Rugby Thompson?
Smoke DZA: I finished that album in two months. I have a lot of guest features on there so that’s what held it up a lot. Not that we were waiting for anybody but it was just timing.
HipHopCanada: What inspires you musically?
Smoke DZA: My peers. My kids. Places I’ve been, travelling.
HipHopCanada: Did you notice a change in your perspective after going different places and meeting new people?
Smoke DZA: Definitely. When I started seeing things and being around more talented MCs it helped me step my game up. I get inspired by it and I listen to everything.
HipHopCanada: So there is a sense of competition within your inspiration.
Smoke DZA: Oh all the way. That’s the best way to put it. Whether we’re friends, not friends, its competition. I want to be great. I want to be the best. The only way you’ll do that is measure yourself with the best. So I feel like my peers, the people I hang round, the people I collab with are the best at what they do and I want to be the best. I want to be the greatest. You’ll only be as good as the company you keep.
Written by Jonathon “Bizz” Brown for HipHopCanada