Release Date: Apr 1, 2014
Record label: RFC Music Group
If you've found a route to appreciating the style of Harlem's Smoke DZA, there's a good chance it came from either (or both) of two particular releases. 2010's George Kush Da Button was the early breakthrough, a dank-fumed breeze of a mixtape that his highly motivated voice cut through sharply. Two years later, Rugby Thompson emerged, taking some of the best sour-smoke soul beats of Harry Fraud's production career and revealing DZA to be nicer with the concepts and storytelling abilities than his earlier straight-talk lyrics had hinted at.
You don’t have to listen to a bar of Dream.Zone.Achieve to know that Smoke DZA is from New York. A quick look at the tracklist should give you that much. Titles like “Ghost of Dipset” and “City of Dreams”, features by Cam’ron and Joey Bada$$, and production by Pete Rock and Harry Fraud all tell the story of a rap record draped in NYC. Listening to the album only deepens that sense.
One of the more talked-about threads in hip-hop over the last few years has been the resurgence of New York as rap music’s creative and commercial hub. In 2012, A$AP Mob went from underground mixtape up-and-comers to international pop superstars in a matter of months, with artists like Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, and Flatbush Zombies riding their coattails to a comfortable place in the mainstream. Jay Z is still putting out albums, and rumors of a new Dipset album have picked up steam.