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Smoke DZA’s ‘George Kush’ Leads Stoner Rap Renaissance

Evan Brockett

Smoke DZA is helping bring stoner rap back to the masses. After years of constant recording, the Harlem resident recently hooked up with Ski Beatz, Curren$y and Big K.R.I.T. for a new solo mixtape entitled ‘George Kush Da Button.’ It’s a smooth-as-can-be listen and interesting new chapter for those who abide by blunted hip-hop.

“My first album that I ever, ever purchased as a child was a cassette of ‘Gin and Juice,’ DZA told The BoomBox with a hearty laugh. “In 2010, I’d be in the same lane that Snoop [Dogg] was in.”

For the mixtape, Smoke DZA collected a batch of album-quality leaks with some new tracks. “I was planning on dropping something, but I didn’t think I was gonna drop those records,” he said. “I was kind of working towards my real, in-store album. After ‘Sour Hour’ got leaked and then everything else started to leak, it was like, ‘F— it. I might as well just give it to ’em. They lookin’ for it anyway.”

Besides DZA, producer Ski Beatz is the most dominant presence throughout the tape. Similar to his work on Curren$y’s ‘Pilot Talk’ record from earlier this year, the vibe is one of laidback positivity. “Ski is one of my favorite people,” he continued. “Other than a producer, his energy is contagious. It’s like positive energy as soon as you get around that brother. It’s been a crazy experience. I’ve never actually had a producer to carve my sound and he really did that. He was already a fan of my music and already knew I could really rap. He made beats around how I felt.”

Smoke DZA, along with fellow uptown up-and-comer Vado, is also part of a recent resurgence of quality Harlem rap. “The funny thing is me and Vado grew up together. There was something called ‘Mad Cipher’ every Monday. It would feature guys like me, Vado, Jae Millz. I definitely feel a part of the renaissance. Everything that comes out of Harlem is just awesome. I love everything going on,” he said.

Up next for DZA is his first official album. Tentatively titled ‘THC: The Hustla’s Catalog,’ the rapper hopes to get his product on shelves in early 2011. In the meantime, he plans to embark on the ‘High Times’ tour with Curren$y this fall while continuing to grind out a busy recording schedule.

You can download ‘George Kush Da Button’ for free right here.

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