The Break Presents: Smokepurpp
It feels like South Florida is churning out hot rappers faster than anyone outside of the area can keep up with. Ten years ago, Rick Ross was bringing attention to the Port of Miami unlike anyone since Trick Daddy, but in the years since an underground wave has reinvigorated the region. SpaceGhostPurpp, Denzel Curry, Kodak Black, Pouya and XXXTENTACION are all links in the same chain, catalyzing strong local fan bases that help push them to national popularity.
Now it’s Smokepurpp’s turn. The 19-year-old Miami rapper started gaining traction in the summer of 2016, when he dropped two videos, “WOKHARDT” and “Ski Mask,” within a month of each other. Booming production and a garbled delivery, along with tons of pictures posing with guns, gave way to increased attention, and he’s quickly become one of the premier rappers to rack up millions of plays on a majority of his SoundCloud songs.
Earlier this year, we announced Purpp had signed to Alamo Records, a new venture by former 300 Ent. co-founder Todd Moscowitz under Interscope. Now he’s getting ready to drop his new mixtape, DEADSTAR, featuring production from TM88, Zaytoven, Harry Fraud and more. In February, we spoke to Purpp about some of his influences, how important it is to have an image, and more. Below are excerpts from that conversation.
Hometown: Miami via Chicago
I grew up listening to: "A lot of [Lil] Wayne. So that explains why I really like Young Thug’s music. A lot of Gucci and at a point Chief Keef, because when Chief Keef came out, I was in middle school. Mostly Wayne."
My style’s been compared to: "My style is too versatile to be compared to anybody. It’s different things. I got stuff that sounds like you can mosh to and then I got stuff that sounds like you could make love to. And then I got shit that sounds like 2020, futuristic. So it’s hard to compare me to another artist when everything is not the same. You can’t really compare to another artist."
Most people don’t know: "My haircut! They comment on my Instagram “What haircut is that?” all the time. It’s a regular haircut, all I do is just cut the sides a bit."
My standout records to date have been: “'Ski Mask,' 'WOKHARDT,' '6 Rings,' 'No Smoke,' they all hit millions."
My standout moments to date have been: "Right now. This is what I’ve been wanting, even if it’s just being in the [XXL] office. And also when I sold out my first show. West Palm Beach, Florida. Wifisfuneral and Lil Pump were there with me. It was like November. And after that, it’s just been easy. They just all been like that ever since then."
My goal in hip-hop is: "To have a No. 1 record, get my heart broken, drop a No. 1 album and then after that it goes everywhere from there. I’m not only a rapper, I’m an entertainer. I want to do everything. I want to do commercials, endorsements. I want to design. I designed this belt. This is my own belt. I’m not gonna sell them yet. I rolled out some merch; it sold out in 10 minutes.
"You gotta do a lot more than rap. Rap is not just rap. If you don’t have an image, you’re not capturing nobody’s attention. So if you’re rapping to rap… sometimes it works. I’m not saying it doesn’t, I’m not knocking anybody, but if you don’t have an image or something that makes people wonder, 'Yo, who is this guy? Where’s he coming from? Why does he look like that?' Stuff like that stands out."
I’m going to be the next: "Superstar. I’m gonna be the next biggest thing. You’re gonna see me on your TV, you’re gonna see me everywhere. I’m gonna be a common household name. Smokepurpp, Lil Purpp. Remember the name."
Standouts: "Ski Mask"
"Glock Inside My Benz"
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