Smoke DZA - Rugby Thompson

Posted June 20, 2012

Riiiiight!! Smoke DZA is no stranger to The DJBooth, nor is he new to the rap game or to...

Rugby Thompson Album Review

Riiiiight!! Smoke DZA is no stranger to The DJBooth, nor is he new to the rap game or to smoking a little herb. Like a drug addiction, the self-proclaimed Kush God’s newest album Rugby Thompson, in collaborating with blazing beat maker Harry Fraud, has music listeners fiending for more.

In today’s trend based music world, we are bombarded by up-and-comers and so-called ‘breakout artists’ that will do anything for their five minutes of fame. But both Smoke DZA and Harry Fraud have had slow rises to fame and have taken the due time needed to develop a sound and image that solidifies respect in the eyes and ears of true hip hop listeners. The two have clearly learned the ropes of the rap lifestyle and how it can tear down even the most talented of artists.

Some might consider Smoke DZA as one track minded with so many references to weed and Ralph Lauren Polo and Rugby clothing, but on Rugby Thompson, DZA proves his versatility. There is a mix of slow rhythmic verses on tracks like Game 7 featuring ASAP Twelvyy and Baleedat featuring Curren$y, but he also speeds it up with double-time flows on New Jack. His songs cover a variety of subject matters that keep the listener guessing and he can go off on some verses, like F**k Your Mother, but he can also tell a deeper story in others, like on Playground Legend.

There’s no doubt that best songs on the album are those with feature accompaniment. There is a sighting by fellow NY local Action Bronson, as well as retardedly good verses offerings from TDE's Schoolboy Q and rap veteran Sean Price. Every feature fits the vibe of the album but adds a bit extra something that is missing from some of the solo efforts. You can tell that DZA is well respected because he surrounds himself with the right people and bringing such creative minds together can only mean one thing, good music.

This review would not be complete without giving props to producer Harry Fraud, who turns in an incredible job on the production half of the project. Having come up with the likes of new Bad Boy artist French Montana, Fraud has since spread his talents, working with a long list of big names like Jadakiss, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross and Wiz Khalifa, making him one of the most sought after producers in hip hop. Rugby Thompson is one of Fraud’s best all-around productions to date. Every track has a unique flavor that only Fraud can provide, all while maintaining that classic NY feel. The samples are powerful and the melodies fit seamlessly with DZA’s flow.

New York is undoubtedly the birth place and central hub of hip-hop and with so many recent rises to recognition, such as Action Bronson, the whole A.S.A.P. mob and Hoodie Allen amongst many others, its starting to get a bit crowded. But if you are itching for something smooth, classic and a good listen, DZA and Fraud have got your fix. Nothing on the album is groundbreaking and it won't go on to sell millions of copies, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a worthy piece of musical art. Smoke DZA deserves his place amongst real down-to-earth rappers, he has paid his dues and his hard work and reputation justifies a listen purchase. So lend an ear and slip into the smoky world of Rugby Thompson.

DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins

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Posted June 20, 2012
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