[Interview] Smoke DZA: Harlem’s General
RubyHornet: Word, I like that parallel there. Moving on, it seems like you’re now talking a role as a leader of the city. From back when I first heard you in the Smoke & Numbers days, to now you’re rocking with the A$AP cats, as well as Joey Bada$$ and Mr. MFN Exquire from Brooklyn, how do you see yourself fitting in with the younger regime in NYC?
Smoke DZA: I can’t really say fit in because I’m already a part of the mold. I feel like I’m still a young artist, I’m 28. There is a lot of younger artists, but I feel like we’re all in the same realm, but I don’t feel like I need to fit because I feel I’m a part the mold. I’m just trying to keep it going and keep everybody motivated, and work with everybody, you know in the past NY artists didn’t really work with each other, but in this day & age, I’m one of the Young OGs, I been out here doing it for sometime. I’m just trying to work with everybody and bridge every gap I can bridge.
RubyHornet: Man I saw you saw recently your biggest influence was Jay-Z. When was the first time you heard Hova?
Smoke DZA: First time I heard hov was ’96. Reasonable Doubt. Can’t Knock The Hustle. I was on 115th & Lennox, had no business over there. The fuckin Lexus drove by and it was playing that song. I didn’t even hear Jay’s verse, I heard Mary J’s hook and the beat. When Jay started rappin’…na’ mean. It was something I had to embrace. It felt like what was going on, right then an there. Even though I was a kid, and I didn’t know too much about anything, but the feeling that I had when I heard that record just matched time ambiance that I was around.