A Chat With Smokepurpp – Leading A Wave Of Next-Gen Rappers

Elle Evans

By Elle Evans

Elle Evans

8 Apr 2020

Born in Chicago and raised in Miami, Smokepurpp has found to be one of most successful artists to rise from the SoundCloud generation. Emerging onto the scene with a raw, bass heavy and grungy felt sound, it didn’t take long for the rapper to garner a strong fan base. Growing up listening to the likes of 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Gucci Mane, Purpp’s music is the perfect fusion of bouncing turnt up backdrops blended with elements of trap that intertwine with that cutting raw edge. The increasing engagement around his tracks soon lead to a major-label deal where he released his hit project “Deadstar” featuring hits such as “Audi” and features with the likes of Travis Scott on “Fingers Blue”.

If you’ve been listening to Smokepurpp recently you’d have noticed that he’s been pushing his sound to new found heights. Enriched with hard hitting synths, wavey auto-tune and crazy 808’s he pushed his versatility further only certifying his place as one of the most prominent new wave rappers around.

Having just released his latest drop “Excuse Me”, Smokepurpp has been gearing up for his forthcoming project with frequent collaborator Ronny J, I got the chance to catch up with Purpp to ask him a few questions…

Taking it back to the start of your career real quick, what made you want to start a career within music? Were there certain albums or artists that influenced you at the time?

I really got started as a producer with my friend Yop, he had a little studio set up at his house that we would record and make beats on. Eventually I just started rapping over my own beats. Then Yop & Pump (Lil Pump) started using my beats too and we all eventually just got noticed and signed pretty much! I was mostly influenced by like Lil Wayne and Rick Ross and other southern artists too.

Your career took off pretty quickly and soon enough you were working with some major artists! Is there still anyone that you would love to collaborate with?

Yeah one of my first tours was the “Stoney” tour with Post Malone – that was a lot of fun!  Then I started hanging around Travis and the Cactus Jack crew, I’d still love to collaborate with Travis, I learned a lot from him. I’d also like to collaborate with some pop artists in the future, I think we could make something cool and different. 

“Deadstar 2” dropped later last year and featured some pretty big boast worthy names! What was the main concept behind this project? How long did it take you to complete it?

I really just wanted to be sonically different from anything that I had ever put out. I think that Mike Dean really went crazy in post production and added in those crazy synths that you can hear throughout the album. It took me like 2 years to finish because it kept getting leaked. Every time I finished it, it would leak and I had to restart! I’m happy with how it turned out though, we worked really hard on it.

What’s your favourite track from the project and why?

I love all of them to be honest but my favourite is probably Audi 2. Ronny went crazy and we really just had fun making that record. Me and Ronny are about to drop a whole tape now, old school Purpp & Ronny vibes! 

You have previously opened up a lot regarding mental health and the importance of this. Firstly, how have you been? And how important is it for you to talk on topics such as mental health with the platform you have?

I’ve been great. We’ve been stuck inside a lot recently because of Coronavirus and we’re in quarantine so we’ve just been recording and working on new business ventures. I was in a dark place a few years ago, but I think realising that is the first step towards growing out of it. Mentally, I’m further along than ever before! I’m starting to create business ideas, my own label, I have a house now, everything is better than ever.

In what ways have you developed personally since starting out in music?

When I first started, I didn’t really know how hard it was to be a successful artist. I thought you could just make great music and the rest would just work itself out. But there’s press, tour, meetings, long days & nights, tons of traveling, etc that comes along with being an artist. I think that once you can embrace everything, you can start to push yourself to the next steps in this business, my goals now are to start pushing into business.

You have various bodies of work behind you now, which one would you pick as an introduction to you to someone who hadn’t heard of your music before and why?

“Deadstar” for sure. It’s the OG Smokepurpp project!

Amidst the mayhem that is currently going on, you have just released “Excuse Me” the first drop since “Deadstar 2”. Tell us more about this? Were you just messing around with beats or?

I really dropped it for my day one fans! It’s the hard hitting Ronny J / Purpp mix that everyone loves. That’s what “Florida Jit is going to be, it was like a little teaser for everyone.

Other than dropping a banger, what else have you been doing to stay motivated and inspired? Do you have any Netflix recommendations?

I really have just been inside recording and working on my new project. I play some video games like 2K and Madden and stuff like that but mostly just recording. 

You have collaborated with Octavian on “Take It Easy”, is there anyone else in the UK that you have been listening to?

Yeah, Octavian is my homie! I’ve known him for like 2 years now, I think. He came to my show in London last year and we shot a video in LA too. Pump & I just dropped a song with KSI that’s going crazy in the UK right now! The video for that one just came out as well and is going crazy.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a career in music? What has helped you to stay focused?

I’d say just stay focused on the music. Get a great team of people that you trust and that believe in you. I think it’s been really helpful that I can really focus on recording and knowing that my team is going to handle most of the other stuff that’s going on.

What has been your proudest achievement so far?

I’d have to say all of my plaques. “Audi” is platinum, “Nephew” is on its way there, “Do Not Disturb” just went gold, “Costa Rica” just went gold.  It’s also really fun riding around and then one of my songs comes on in the car! Shoutout to DJ Felli Fel!

What more can we expect to see from you this 2020?

You can expect to get a lot of Ronny J drums! “Florida Jit” in the first half of this year and then hopefully another project before the year is over. 

I hope everyone stays safe with Corona going crazy, stay inside, wash your hands, all of that. Bless!

Keep up to date with all things Smokepurpp via his Instagram here.