Meet Smokes, one passionate artist that’s on the rise. With his determination and persistence, nothing can stop him from reaching high levels of success. Check out this exclusive interview we did with the man himself.
Wisconsin rapper Smokes is enjoying lunch somewhere in Queens, NY, reminiscing about a life lived harder and riskier than most 24-year-olds. â€œIâ€™ve been through a lot and I havenâ€™t let life get me down. I donâ€™t let anything phase me. Life is too negative and people walk around with their heads down, grumpy all the time. Itâ€™s like Yo, we need to be able to have some fun. Lighten up.â€
Download his latest mixtape – The Pre Party
Jackfroot Interview With Smokes aka Mr. Asian Pride
You seem to be generating quite a buzz for yourself. Can you let your new followers and fans know how you got into music?
I have always had a passion for Hip Hop and the arts.Â I started out Break dancing and DJing.Â Eventually I realized I sucked at both of those and started penning rhymes down.Â Writing was a release for me, that eventually turned into me recording my own records and it just grew from there.Â In 2005 I caught several State Drug Cases and I vowed once my court proceedings were over I was going to go 100% into music and I have not looked back since.
You have a rather unique name. How did you get it?
It use to be Joe Smokes, like Joe Blow, but the Joe part was corny so I eventually dropped it and ran with Smokes.Â I guess it fits my lifestyle as well. LOL
If you weren’t doing music today, what do you picture yourself doing?
I canâ€™t picture myself doing anything else.Â This is what I feel like I am here to do.Â I wanted to be a slew of things when I was little, but really being a rapper has consumed me for most my life.
Who are some of the big name artists in Hip Hop that you look up to and respect?
Of course the normal Legends like Pac, Big, Jay and Em but OutKast played a huge influence, Bone, Michael Jackson, Killer Mike, Three 6 Mafia.Â The list can go on and on but as for recent artist in the game I really like Big Krit, his music is amazing to me.
If TuPac came back to life, what are some questions you would ask him?
Would you do the beef it all over again knowing how it ends.Â I want to know if he would go out like he did beefing with Biggie or if he could do it again would he sacrifice his life for his THUG LIFE Movement.Â Because to me it seems like he died for a lesser cause then what he was fighting for.Â It always seemed he could have died for so much more not something as petty as his beef with Biggie.
When you’re not making music, what are some hobbies that you do for fun?
Besides spending time with my Daughter and Family Music consumes me.Â I spend most my time each day planning and thinking about my career and what moves I can be making to progress each day.Â I love music itâ€™s my Job and my Hobby and I wouldnâ€™t have it any other way.
What are your thoughts on the Asian American hip hop music community and where do you see it in 5 years?
The Asian Hip Hop scene is growing and itâ€™s starting to get noticed on a more universal level.Â I love the Asian Scene because it seems like all of us artist out here paving our own lane cross paths and got love for each other and each otherâ€™s movements.Â I feel like we have a great thing going on right now which is on an underground level.Â I think in the next 5 Years more and more artist like myself are going to continue to break down barriers and cross over and I can just imagine it getting bigger and better.
What are some struggles that you had growing up?
This could be pages but a few things are:
– I was Adopted
– I have been homeless
– Witness my mother pass away from Cancer
– Abused as a child
– Watched my father pass away from Alcohol related disease
– Had an ATF Case when I was 16
– Caught 7 State Drug Cases when I was 19
– Type 2 Diabetic
– Survived a horrific car accident
– Studio Raided and all my Music Seized
– Watching my brother go to Prison
I have been through a lot which could be a whole interview within itself.Â But those are just a few bullet points of things I have been threw and I continue to go threw things daily but I think that is what makes me who I am.Â I have seen all spectrums of life and can relate to a lot of different people.Â I think that is why I have such a great fan base.Â My fans know the struggles I have been threw they can relate to them.Â They want to see me win because they know I came from the bottom like them.Â If I win they win we all win you understand I am the underdog fighting for the underdogs.Â I am also the proof that hard work pays off so I like to think at the same time I can be an inspiration.
If you were to have any superpower, what would it be?
LOL I donâ€™t know thatâ€™s tough.Â I want to Teleport, I hate traveling long hours in the car and flying.Â If I could teleport place to place that would be hella dope.
A lot of independent artists may have trouble finding great producers and beats. Where or who do you go for your music production?
When I first started I was rocking mixtape beats doing freestyles.Â I eventually started using sites like SoundClick and from their ended up building relationships with the producers.Â One of my go to producers is Sean Divine who I have been working with probably close to 5 years now and our relationship started on SoundClick.Â It also doesnâ€™t hurt that I live in a city with one of the worldâ€™s best producers DJ Pain 1 and he just so happens to be a good friend of mine.Â I guess I am privileged with having Pain in my corner. My advice for artists that are looking for producers is to build relationships.Â This whole industry is built on relationships.Â Find a producer that fits your sound and just build and turn it into something Epic.
I want to thank JackFroot.com for the support! #AsianPride
Check out this Smokes interview at Shade 45:
Download his latest mixtape – The Pre Party