Studio Time
Words: Peter A. Berry
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

A little over a year removed from dropping Deadstar, Smokepurpp is gearing up for the release of its sequel. The Florida rapper believes that Deadstar 2, which features contributions from Quavo, Lil Pump and Gunna, is a perfected version of the aggressive, bass-heavy aesthetic he introduced with the original version. Purpp spoke with XXL about doubling down on his sound.

“Sauce Like This”

“I started recording [Deadstar 2] the same way I started recording Deadstar: I made softer, melodic, more pop [and] R&B-type songs first. Towards the end, I started making hard-hitting [songs] that my fans are used to. This is the first song on the B-side of the [album]. We were like, let’s make the melody simple. We make a lot of our drums, so we made a crazy kick, crazy 808 and put it together. It’s just bangin’.”

“Left Cheek, Right Cheek” featuring Lil Pump

“It’s Pump on the hook and me on the verse. It’s like, “Left cheek, right cheek, up and down/Left cheek, right cheek, up and down.” That one’s more like a club song. It’s kinda slow, but it has a nice little bounce to it. Really hard. It’s gonna have the hoes twerking in the club. It’s a song I would want to hear in the club myself.”

“I Put My Red Bottoms on Her Thousand Dollar Furniture”

“[The title] was a bar that I said in the hook of the song. [As] soon as I finished the song, I knew that’s what I wanted to name it. I don’t know why. I was asking, ‘Yo, how many characters can I put in a title of a song?’ The drums that I put on it kinda puts you in a trance. It’s gonna hypnotize you. If you heard [Deadstar]—’To the Moon’ and ‘Purgatory’—it’s like that type of feel but it’s more elevated. I’ve perfected what I was aiming towards at that time.”

“But I Still Respect Women”

“The song is playful, but I’m actually rapping more than I usually rap. I usually don’t rap-rap, but I had to rap right quick to get niggas in check like, ‘I’m a rapper, don’t forget, nigga.’ On that song, I recorded it and I put it up. I didn’t even mix it. I freestyled and I was like, ‘Damn.’ I haven’t really rapped-rapped and put out a song like this in a while.”

“Speed Demon” featuring Lil Pump

“We kinda took it back to the roots, the basics. We had to go completely ignorant one time, ’cause I kinda stepped away from that style for a while. I was actually just, you know, trying to rap and shit. We were like, ‘We gotta just go completely crazy one time.’ Pump is funny as hell, the song came out like the OG ’Purpp and Pump songs. There’s a lot of bass; ChaseTheMoney is crazy on the drums. I know the fans are going to love to hear this.”

Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2018 issue including our Migos cover story interview, Vic Mensa's turn toward activism and a woman's equality proponent, Show & Prove with Jay Critch, G Herbo finding new purpose as a father and more.

Garret Bruce

See Photos of Smokepurpp Behind the Scenes at the 2018 XXL Freshman Class Cover Shoot