Smoke DZA, Joey Bada$$ And CJ Fly Rock SOB’s In New York City
Last night, SOBs in Manhattan played host to the album release party for Harlem's own Smoke DZA. The Kushed God dropped his long-awaited first official full-length project, Dream.ZONE.Achieve, on April 1, and the three-part, 19-track collection serves as his most complete work to date, with guest spots from Cam'ron, Ab-Soul, Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson and CJ Fly, to name a few. And two of those—CJ and Joey, along with their entire Pro Era crew—came out to support DZA on his celebratory night.
CJ got things going, hitting the stage around 10:30 and performing songs off his latest mixtape, Thee Way Eye See It, as well as a new track from a forthcoming project that he was coy about revealing. He brought out Pro Era's Kirk Knight to help him rock the mic, before the whole crew (minus Joey) flooded the stage to support their Brooklyn brother. Backstage between sets felt a lot like a high school party at times; everybody seemed to know everybody else—Pro Era and Smoke DZA are both part of the larger Beast Coast movement—and the mood was bright and upbeat as DZA took the stage.
He opened his set with the opener of Dream.ZONE.Achieve, "Count Me In," kicking things off with the first lyric, "I'ma need a couple mills/They ain't talking bucks for real/Put my own album out, got me like 'Fuck a deal.'" The bluntsman rapped back and forth across the stage, alternately smoking blunts and passing them out into the crowd to circulate, ultimately wrapping up "Hollywood Smoke Hogan" with the a capella closing line, "If you book me, I hope you got the Fire Marshals right there/'Cause the Kushed God's a non-smoking venue's worst nightmare."
Joey Bada$$ then hopped on stage to join DZA for D.Z.A's "Fat Bastard," one of a series of collaborations that the two have going back to "Gotham Fucking City" off DZA's King Of New York mixtape and "Death Of YOLO" off Joey's Summer Knights tape. The two performed "Death Of YOLO" as well, with the Pro Era crew hopping back on stage to show support and lending an even more celebratory vibe to a night that was already soaked in positivity. As things wound down with the Harry Fraud-produced "Obey Your Thirst," DZA stood looking out into the audience, covered in sweat and soaking in the crowd's reaction. The Kushed God, on top of the world in his own hometown, had risen.