Today, Feb. 8, marks the 34th birthday of New York rapper, Smoke DZA.
Born Sean Pompey in 1984, Smoke was raised in Harlem, NY, with his immersion into hip-hop starting at a young age. The Harlem native began his rap career as a battle MC and ghostwriter for a few prominent acts. After that, DZA, which is an acronym for “Dream Zone Achieve,” would become one half of the group, Smoke & Numbers.
Once going out on his own to pursue a solo career, the self proclaimed “Kushed God” would go on to release a plethora of critically acclaimed projects. His catalog includes Rolling Stoned, which featured guest appearances from MCs like Kendrick Lamar, Bun B and Big K.R.I.T., Rugby Thompson, which was produced by popular beatsmith, Harry Fraud, and 2014’s Dream. Zone. Achieve., which is a concept project that is split into three acts, and according to XXL‘s review of the project, captures the New York rap vibe with confidence and without compromise.
Smoke has also become known throughout the rap game for his collaborative efforts. Aside from frequently working with rappers like Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa, he dropped a widely-acclaimed album alongside Pete Rock in 2016 titled, Don’t Smoke Rock, which was fostered by the duo’s strong friendship. DZA’s collabs continued in 2017, when he dropped Ringside 5 with producer 183rd, an EP that served as the fifth installment of the pro wrestling-themed Ringside series. That same year, the Uptown spitter linked up with Statik Selektah, Young Roddy and Trademark Da Skydiver to form the group, The Burn Unit.
2018 saw the release of Smoke’s latest album, Not For Sale, which appropriately dropped on eve of 4/20, the sacred smoker’s holiday. The 12-track project features notable contributions from Joey Bada$$, DRAM, Ty Dolla $ign, Dom Kennedy and more. On the heels of Not For Sale, DZA went out on the lengthy Money in the Bank tour along with co-headliner, Bodega Bamz, throughout most of the late-spring/early-summer last year.
Throughout the years, Smoke DZA has continued to break the mold of what a Harlem rapper is supposed to sound like.
Happy Birthday, Smoke DZA!
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