Continuing to break the mold of what a Harlem rapper is supposed to sound like, Smoke DZA has come through with Rolling Stoned, a retail project that follows up his recent free album T.H.C. (The Hustler’s Catalog). While the self proclaimed “Kushed God” isn’t switching up the (leafy) substance of his rhymes anytime in the near future, the mellowed out MC looks to impress with a honed in style and guest list of high profile features including Bun B, Curren$y, Kendrick Lamar, and Big K.R.I.T.
Rolling Stoned is much of what fans have come to expect from DZA, with abundant talk of weed, women, dismissing haters, and more weed. One of the high notes (pun intended) on Rolling Stoned is “Personal Party,” a hazy, dreamy collaboration with Curren$y. Behind the clouds of grenenery talk, DZA’s cleverness shines through with lines like “Feeling untouchable, Tommy Buns, Sincere/You think I give a fuck about a red light? Niggas can’t do it so they dead tight,” a reference to the 1998 film New York urban drama Belly. Other strong cuts include “Notorious,” and “Overhigh,” as well the spacey single “4Loko” featuring ASAP Rocky. DZA tries his hand at Harlem storytelling with “On the Corner,” detailing the demise of an up and coming athlete turned hustler. But with only one verse, it’s not enough to build up genuine interest in the tale.
At times, the Cinematic spitter’s delivery reminds of the flamboyant slick type of flow that has defined Harlem rappers, and over the laidback buoyant production, it’s a unique sound. But with the subject matter so limited, George Kush sometimes sells himself short. But Rolling Stoned results in a fun listen, however predictable it may be. While there’s room for growth, Smoke DZA has put together another solid project that’s sure to keep his growing group of Dziples asking for more. Rrrright. —NMB