[Interview] Smoke DZA: Harlem’s General
Smoke DZA is one of those artists almost everyone knows, yet some may not know the full background on one of NYC’s most consistent artists over the past 5 years. From his early days in the Dipset affiliate duo Smoke & Numbers, DZA made many appearances on the popular Big Mike & DJ Kay Slay mixtapes cementing himself as one of NYC’s most prominent underground artists. DZA began buzzing at a time when the internet, forums and blogs began influencing the industry in ways we had never seen before. In 2008 DZA went solo, and began releasing a string of high quality mixtapes with the help of Johnny Shipes and his Cinematic Music Group.
Four years later, DZA is a founding member of the Smokers Club & has been frequent collaborators with everyone from Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa, Big KRIT, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar & more. Having dropped about 9 projects in 4 years, DZA has proven to be a heavyweight in our current hip hop landscape, as well as a leader in NYC’s new-found unified movement, working with upcoming acts like A$AP Mob & Joey Bada$$. When asked about the title of his latest mixtape K.O.N.Y (King of New York), DZA stated, “I feel I’m one of the hardest working artists out of New York & I’m one of the best artists out of NY in the last I don’t know how long… I look at my journey with this whole K.O.N.Y thing like how T.I. announced he was the King of the south and nobody believed him, and everybody thought he was outlandish, until one day everybody was like ‘you know what, maybe he is the king of the south.’” DZA definitely has the track record to boast such a title, and with his relentless work ethic, it will come as no surprise for him to reach even higher levels of success in the coming future. Read on to hear DZA speak on his newest project K.O.N.Y, the first time he heard Jay-Z, and who he thinks is the next out of Chicago.