Smoke DZA knows what he’s doing. Rugby Thompson can’t be described as anything but a complete project. One of the best parts about the album is the consistency.
The entire album is produced by Harry Fraud, a producer whose work I’ve been paying a lot of attention to recently. The album has a cohesion to it but each track stands individually with its own unique sound even still. I miss the days of rappers primarily working with one producer. This was back when the executive producer listed on the liner notes was actually a producer, not the CEO of the artist’s label or someone not directly involved with the overall sound. The samples used are well-placed and the sound is multi-layered, the type of stuff that’s worthy of an instrumental version of the album.
DZA shows some artistic growth on “Playground Legend” while still giving his longtime listeners what they want on joints like “Baleedat” with Curren$y or “Rivermonts”. There are no club bangers or “for the ladies” tracks, as DZA knows that’s not really his lane. He just makes the music and allows the chips to fall where they may.
The only song I don’t see replaying is “Kenny Powers”, a track that comes off dated and not in a good way. The irritating nature of the song is eclipsed by the overall replay value of the album, with almost everything else on it being prime for repeat play in the ride. The chemistry is just right on collaborations with Action Bronson (“Turnbuckle Music”), Domo Genesis & Schoolboy Q (“Ashtray”) and the posse joint “Lo Horsemen” featuring Lo Life associates Meyhem Lauren, Nym Lo and Thirstin Howl III, which features rapid-fire bars over a killer guitar loop.
We live in a time where it takes a lot for an Internet-savvy hip-hop fan to shell out real money for an album. This isn’t the fan’s fault, though. Times are hard and label folks are hard-pressed to financially back any album that doesn’t have a Chris Brown assist on it. Luckily, this one got under the radar and DZA was able to give fans exactly what they have come to expect without compromising his ethics in the process. Respect due.
F*ck Ya Mother x Smoke DZA f. Sean Price
Rivermonts x Smoke DZA