Smoke DZA has been typified as the quintessential East Coast stoner rapper since Substance Abuse his first mixtape. The Harlem born and based rapper has released many sinsemilla inspired songs since then, earning him his “Kushed God” moniker. Even though, he possesses an intimate knowledge of the plant, boxing Smoke in as a “weed rapper” is unfair. Yes, Smoke has waxed poetic about the herb on more than just a few bars. But, the second part of his name (DZA) stands for “Dream, Zone, Achieve” and that’s more befitting of his aspirations for his music.
He’s from a down-and-out area of Harlem, and carries that unmistakable confidence with him, in his raps and on stage. He stays true to the Harlem in him, more bodega than bougie. His rapping style is not confrontational by any means. He’s got a relaxed flow that may (or may not) have something to do with the steady stream of THC flowing through him. He’s become a go to for features, collaborating with almost every new school rapper that matters. From A$AP Rocky to Schoolboy Q, he’s built alliances with artists on both coasts. His fan base is international, and they are viciously loyal to him. Check any music site’s comment section after they release a “best rapper” list and you’ll find his fans screaming bloody murder for looking him over. He’s a perpetual underdog, despite being one of the best performing rappers of recent in both critical and commercial capacities.
What endears his fans to DZA seems to be his willingness to delve into the problems of his community without being patronizing or over opinionated. He’s more of an orator, sharing stories about the hardships and good times he’s gone through while trying to make it as a person and as an artist. His show was an ode to the depth of Smoke Dza as he weaved in advice for the audience and shared stories about how he’d been working his whole life to be on that stage. Dream, Zone, Achieve – it was the theme of the night and the mantra for his life.