Not too much.
I just got back in from Vegas. I'm working on a "Southern Smoke"
t-shirt line with Crunk Clothing. I'm not going to be able to make it
to Magic, so I went over some things with the owner about some designs.
I also just did a show with Jeezy down here in Tampa.
how far the series has come since you started sending HipHopGame the tapes.
Yeah. I remember
that. It's been a long and prosperous series. It's been out there for
three years. We drop every seven to eight weeks. It's been a long series
and it took a long time to brand the name.
been the most important thing that you've done to solidify "Southern
Smoke's" place in the mixtape game?
I think it's
certifying the brand. It's street-certified. The brand is respected and
when you say "Southern Smoke," people know what you're talking
have been dope getting down with Uncle Luke.
really made the series pop off. He's never done a mixtape in his life
and he's had a pretty crazy career. We got to talk to Uncle Luke and we
told him what mixtapes were. He wanted to do his first mixtape with me.
That's history right there.
Kay Slay seem to have good chemistry on mixtapes.
Yeah. I met
him a few years ago through a mutual friend. I've always looked up to
Kay Slay and Clue. He was a real inspiration to do what I've been doing.
He really branded his name and the Streetsweeper name. No one from the
South has been able to get with a big New York mixtape DJ and make it
pop off. After the first one, the response was so crazy so we had to do
a second one, then that was crazy so we had to do a third one. Now, we're
working on our fourth one.
the most work on those tapes?
We have different connections and bring the best of both worlds.
you decide who to get down with on tapes?
about building relationships and networking in the industry. It's about
basic networking. Personally, I try to come out with a bang and a surprise
every time. When everyone else goes right, I go left. The last couple
of tapes, I've done them with legends. You can see that with the Big Boi
tape, the Master P tape, and the C-Murder tape. We're going to keep doing
tapes like that. I just try to do the biggest and the best and come out
with a surprise every time.
you realize you could make it in the mixtape game?
streets started talking and the urban community accepted the "Southern
Smoke" brand and it had its own power to make or break an artist.
That's when I knew that I had really made it in the mixtape game. The
radio show is taking it one step further. We almost have a national album
deal that will take it even further.
have you broken?
break the Texas artists when they were coming up. We did "Southern
Smoke 7" two years ago with Chamillionaire, before the streets nationally
took a big look at him. Paul Wall did "Southern Smoke 8." These
artists are hitting gold and platinum with their major-label debut releases.
charge new artists to get on your tapes?
never charged new artists to get on my tapes. Since the brand is so big
and I know a lot of DJ's charge, I go out of my way and do a "Southern
Smoke: Special Edition" for new artists. I'd rather help the artist
and do a promotional package for the artist. Rather than having them host
a CD and sprinkling their songs with other artists, we put their full
package together with all their songs. I put it together and help distribute
it and market it. It's better than charging a person for one song. We
take it one step further.
opened minded when it comes to new artists and breaking them through the
Southern Smoke brand. As a matter of fact, one artist in particular named
Noah was so hot, I had to have him do the intro to "Southern Smoke
18." The "Southern Smoke" brand is notorious for breaking
new music and exclusives and we've helped mold several Southern artists
already. I'm experimenting with different ideas and approaches on introducing
new artists. When people see the "Southern Smoke" stamp, they
can expect for the quality and the material of each project to be top
an artist have to have to make you want to get down with them?
definitely has to have stuff in motion. They have to be ready to take
it to the next step when I'm ready to take it to the next step. They can't
just be an unplanted seed; they have to have growth to them. They need
personality, charisma, lyrics, and they have to be able to market themselves.
It has to be a two-way street. I look for someone with potential and willing
to put in work. It's the total package.
do you get to the labels when putting together a mixtape?
on the project. Some projects, a label will bring to my attention an artist
they need help with. If a label brings me a project, then I'm working
hand-in-hand with them. Nine times out of ten, I go directly to an artist
and bring the project to them. That's really how it goes down. If I'm
helping a label's artist, they'll usually step in and help promote.
you think about Rick Ross?
doing his thing since the mid-'90's with Slip-N-Slide, but it's just now
that people are looking at him now that street music is getting big. He's
been doing his music over here for a minute. Besides Rick Ross, people
should also look for Plies out of Fort Meyers. He has a new song with
Mr. Collipark right now. He just signed a deal with Atlantic Records.
Also look out for Young Cash on SRC. There's also this cat Blood Raw.
He's on CTE, Young Jeezy's label. Definitely look for those three artists.
up with the "Southern Smoke" album?
the final negotiation stages between two major labels right now. We definitely
have an insane project on our hands. This will definitely stand out from
all of the other DJ albums from Clue, Funk Flex, everyone else. Not to
say that there was anything wrong with those albums, but I have some ideas
that will make mine look totally different from theirs.
you going to put this plan in motion?
at putting something out early in 2007.
being on Sirius help your movement?
the radio, and the DVD/TV/club scene is like a 3-D effect to me. The first
dimension is the mixtapes, radio adds the second dimension, and the third
dimension is seeing the DJ in a club or on TV or on a DVD. People know
me from the mixtapes. Then when radio came in, that automatically gave
the "Southern Smoke" brand name another boost. It definitely
added a 2-D effect to it. Now the third-dimension would be the next step.
Radio definitely helps strengthen the brand name and recognition.
you structure your radio show so that it stays interesting?
that mixtape and street atmosphere to the radio show. I like to work hand-in-hand
with the mixtape and radio at the same time. I like to have what's on
the mixtapes on the radio. I get so many freestyles from artists that
I can't play on a mixtape that the radio show lets people hear them. I
wish I could have a 24-hour mixtape. I can test artists on the radio before
I do a mixtape with them. It gives us more of a street edge.
mixtapes, you're on the radio, and you can rock a live party, are the
days of the complete DJ disappearing?
is getting shorter and I'm definitely blessed to be on the short list.
It makes you look different, because most people are going right and you
can go left. I'm a trendsetter. People know that I go a totally different
way. People talk with the echo effect and put their pictures on their
cover. I never did that. I always did it a different way and I had the
same impact as them. People are always going to look at the person that
goes left. Have the skills in order because there are only a handful of
DJ's that have those skills.
going to get into the production game?
not really my thing. I know cats like Green Lantern and Tony Touch have
gone into it, but I'm not really into that. I'm more into the marketing
game. When the smoke clears and the dust settles, I want to have a major
Southern marketing company. That's what I want.
you keep your picture under wraps for so long?
I tried to
come at the game differently. I'm not a follower, I'm a leader. While
other DJ's were putting their faces on covers, I didn't. I wanted to build
my brand like a Tommy Hilfiger or a Ralph Lauren. They built their brand
on quality and excellence. You saw their logo, but you never had to see
their face to know about the clothing. That's the same approach I took
with "Southern Smoke." Everyone else was following Whoo Kid.
you go to college for marketing?
I got my
AA at the University of South Florida. I'm finishing up for my BA at USF.
I'm almost there. I'm three years deep. And I'm only 20 years-old. I'm
doing what I'm doing at 20 years-old. "Southern Smoke" started
three years ago when I was 17. Whoo Kid, Envy, Kay Slay, and DJ Drama
are all in their late 20's, early 30's.
next for DJ Smallz?
a couple things in the works. We're in the final stages of negotiations
for the album. We're expanding "Southern Smoke Radio" to England,
Sweden, and Ireland next month. It's already in South Africa, Malaysia,
and Australia. We have "Southern Smoke TV" in its final stages
of distribution. That's going to be in the FYE's and Best Buy's across
the country. We have Fear Factor Music Group which is a representation
of the next generation of Southern DJ's and artists. We also have PartySouth.com.
That's a revolutionary booking agency I'm working on. Check for that in
you want to say to everyone?
your support from day one for keeping the "Southern Smoke" name
alive. We've done a lot of work for this and in the next couple of years,
we're going to murder everything.