I know, I know, I’m late on this one. But Smoke DZA has never really been that high on my watch list and while I know Pete Rock, my knowledge of him is admittedly limited, as the majority of his best work was before my time. However, I do understand the clout that his name carries, and funny enough I actually got to see him live in Naples last year and I’ll be to first to vouch that he lives up to the hype. So ultimately what I’m saying is that I got around to Don’t Smoke Rock eventually, so cut me a little slack.
No offense to DZA but when I see ‘& Pete Rock’ the first thing I’m checking for is the production, and sheesh is it good. I really shouldn’t be surprised that a Pete Rock produced album sounds this good, but not all producers from that era can translate their sound to today’s soundscape. But Rock’s able to do just that, and without sacrificing his signature sampling, horns, or gritty drums. Immaculate is the only way to describe “Black Superhero Car” with it’s triumphant horns and peppy drums, “Milestone” has that classic East Coast boom bap, paired with some clean piano keys and scratches, and “Last Name” complements it’s slick sample with crisp percussions, sharp strings, and some classic Pete Rock ad-libs. The production was incredible and there weren’t any songs that had me itching to click next.
“When you up the hate come from left field
I’m tapped in dog, blue pill red pill
Feeling like Drago on the treadmill
On the road so much forgot how my bed feel
God bless the real ones left still
Waiting for the bullshit to set sail”
While Smoke DZA isn’t high on my watch list, I have always respected his ability as a lyricist. I wouldn’t call him elite or the most technically skilled, but he is capable of some pretty dope verses. He has such a unique voice, and almost dreary delivery that makes it instantly recognizable, and it pairs surprisingly well with Rock’s incredible production. The most impressive thing about Don’t Smoke Rock to me is the incredible list of guest features they were able to compile. There’s verses from the likes of Jadakiss, Styles P, Camron, Royce da 5’9, Rick Ross and a few others, and they all deliver in their guest features. This may end up being the most slept on album from 2016, and I’m hear to tell people to wake the f*ck up! Don’t Smoke Rock is fire.
Have you heard Don’t Smoke Rock? What’d you think about it? What’d you think about the pairing between Pete Rock and Smoke DZA? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.
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