When it comes to the mixtape
scene below the Mason-Dixon line, DJ Smallz’s Southern Smoke series has
been a key ingredient in the elevation of the Dirty South’s Hip-Hop
movement. Born overseas, a young Smallz moved to
Florida, thus expanding his passion for southern Hip-Hop music. His
strong love affair with the scene switched to a passion for turntables
from percussion instruments as a teenager. By the age of 18, he rapidly
sharpened his turntable techniques through various night club
performances and a powerful mixtape presence.Through his Southern Smoke
brand, DJ Smallz has collaborated with established industry figures as
Grammy award winner Big Boi of Outkast, southern Hip-Hop pioneers and
icons Luther “Luke” Campbell and Pimp C of UGK. DJ Smallz is the only
DJ to have Pimp C host a mixtape. Master P, Three six Mafia, as well as
the multi-platinum superstars Lil’ Jon, Ludacris, and T.I. have also
hosted Southern Smoke. With Southern Smoke’s overwhelming success on
the streets, DJ Smallz has now secured a slot on Sirius Satellite Radio
every Thursday night from Midnight-2 AM EST. Southern Smoke Radio dominates
the airwaves and broadcasts live to more than 3 million subscribers on
(Channel 40 “Hip Hop Nation”) and the DISH Network (Channel 6040).
At age 22, DJ Smallz has a lot on his plate including his Fear Factor Music Group, an artist development company, Southern Smoke TV, a reality television show in conjunction with the Beef series creator QD3, and the release of DJ Smallz’ highly-anticipated Southern Smoke album,
a commercial compilation releasing Summer 2008. We met DJ Smallz at the
Hip-Hop Soda Shop [Tampa, Florida] to discuss his Southern Smoke official commercial album, his past, and his plans for 2008 and beyond…
AllHipHop.com: What’s up Smallz, what do you have in the works right now man?
DJ Smallz: Anything and everything I’m on it, 2008 is gonna be a big
year for me! I don’t know about other DJs out there, but I’ve got a
serious agenda. 2008 I’m doing a lot of big things! One of the big
things I’m working on is the Southern Smoke album, the official
commercial compilation, we’re about to announce the deal and everything
next month. I’m finishing up the first single it’s a major record and
you know my album is just gonna raise the level of DJ albums period.
Shout out to all the big brothers and all of my other DJ pals doing
their thing with albums, shout out to big brother DJ Khaled doing his
thing, but no DJ album is ever gonna be as big as the Southern Smoke
album. We’re using some different marketing techniques and different
ideas that have never been used in the history of DJ albums.
AllHipHop.com: Sounds like you’re trying to step it up. Who do you have producing on the album?
DJ Smallz: Well of course me, I started getting my hands in a little
bit of production so I’m gonna have a record on there. Last year before
the Ozone Awards I produced a record called “Welcome To The Gunshine
State,” I featured 30 Florida artists on one record it was 15 minutes
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, we had that on the site.
DJ Smallz: Right! We had artists on there like Flo Rida, who has the
number 1 record on iTunes right now, Plies, 2 Pistols, and a bunch of
other hot artists. There’s a lot of talent here in Florida so I’m
looking for a lot of the Florida producers to help me out like the
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, The Runners, Kane Beats, Cool & Dre, so
we’re keeping it real heavy with the Florida producers but then we have
DJ Toomp who’s a longtime friend of mine, we have DJ Paul and Juicy J,
Three 6 Mafia’s helping out with the production.
AllHipHop.com: Sounds like you’re doing it big. Now as far as artists, who do you have on the project?
DJ Smallz: Well I kind of wanna keep that under the ‘wraps’ right
now, but I just wanna say that some of the biggest artists you can
think of all the way down to some of the newer cats, that will be the
future of Southern Hip-Hop, are on it. We got the legends to the new
dogs, I’m mixing up some Southern Smoke sounds and I’m about to do
something totally different.
AllHipHop.com: How long have you been deejaying in the game and how did you get your start?
DJ Smallz: Right now I’m 22 years old, I’ve been deejaying since I
was in middle school and I started deejaying as a hobby, you know house
parties and things like that, it was cool. But then I really wanted to
get into club deejaying when I went to college. I’m a smart dude I
ain’t stupid, I got a scholarship to USF [University of Southern
Florida] but to get into the club was difficult because I was a young
cat. So the thing at that time was to do a demo CD and at that time New
York music was real big. Def Jam, DMX, Jay-Z, Ruff Ryders, in 1998, ’99,
and 2000 was real big so it was hard for me, being from the South, to
get into that New York market. So what I did is what I know, mixed a
lot of Southern records together and that became my demo CD. I passed
it around to a lot of club owners and I gave it away at high schools
and people started to say, “Yo, you can really make a mixtape, this
mixtape thing is big in New York”. So I did my research and noticed DJ
Clue and I looked up to him, I would say he was my role model for doing
AllHipHop.com: That’s a good role model for an up and coming DJ.
DJ Smallz: Exactly, I look at him as the Godfather of mixtapes
because he took it from the street level to the commercial level with
successful professional albums so I looked up to him and I said, “Man!,
I can do this but with southern artists and southern music”. Then it
was just a matter of time, a year went by then a year and a half and
then Lil’ Jon became big, Bone Crusher became big, Crunk Music became
big, and when that took off, the DJs that were doing that type of music
at that time like myself, DJ Jelly and DJ Drama all came up with the
trend. I started the Southern Smoke movement four years ago, the summer
of 2003 is when I did my first Southern Smoke mixtape and I’m
trying to make sure the southern music is not just a trend, but a force
to be reckoned with, that’s what my goal is.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah the Southern Smoke series is always crazy, you are releasing another mixtape before the Southern Smoke album correct?
DJ Smallz: I’m working on Southern Smoke 30 right now with Lil’ Wayne. I don’t know if you know, but Southern Smoke has a lot of history. Southern Smoke 11
was hosted by T.I. by collect call when he was in jail, number 16 was
hosted by C-Murder when he was incarcerated, we had one hosted by
Master P. I’m the only DJ to ever have Pimp C host a mixtape.
AllHipHop.com: That’s big, shouts to Bun B and that whole UGK movement.
DJ Smallz: Yeah Pimp C never hosted a mixtape except for a Southern Smoke
mixtape, that was number 25, right after he came out from jail. Bun B
helped hook that up, it’s UGK for life. I represent for them to the
fullest, but a lot of people don’t really know the history behind the
Southern Smoke series. We helped break artists like Chamillionaire,
Plies, David Banner and the first major Southern Smoke was
hosted by Uncle Luke of 2 Live Crew. For those that don’t know the
history behind Luke, that brother is the reason we have parental
advisory stickers. He kind of gave me my big break because he had never
hosted a CD either. I was the first to get a legend like him to do
AllHipHop.com: What’s the future for DJ Smallz, what are some of the
short-term goals that you have planned for the immediate future?
DJ Smallz: Right now we’re just trying to get down with technology
just like everybody else trying to beat them to the punch. We’ve got Southern Smoke TV coming out which is my new reality show, I’m doing that with QD3 for those who don’t know he’s the creator of the Beef series that was on B.E.T.
AllHipHop.com: Also Quincy Jones’ son.
DJ Smallz: There you go Quincy Jones’ son, also I’m working on The
Fear Factor Music Group, that’s a coalition I created with TJ’s DJs and
Ozone Magazine and it’s really a group of us that are really trying to
help the next generation of Hip-Hop by helping with mixtape campaigns,
marketing campaigns, the website campaigns, we put everything together
from start to finish. We’ve done about 50 campaigns thus far and a few
artists have actually signed from that. One artist is Willie Joe from
Atlanta and he signed with Sho Nuff records after we did his mixtape
campaign and put that together. This is what I’m trying to do, help
cultivate that next generation. Without the next generation to look
forward to, what is there to look forward to? So to keep this music
alive that’s what I do, break artists from day one. If anybody needs to
get their artist broken, record broken or company broken holla at me,
hit me at www.DJSmallz.com, I’m real easy to get a hold of.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have any other businesses, events or projects that you wanna speak on?
DJ Smallz: Definitely, I gotta shout out South Promo .com that’s my
marketing company that helps generate what I do with the music and
mixtapes, it’s the marketing brains behind it. Again, I have Southern Smoke TV,
which I’m working on with QD3, it’s a reality show that I’m in the
process of pitching to MTV, B.E.T. networks, that’s Russell Simmons’
Hip-Hop channel. Fear Factor Music Group is the coalition that helps
break the new artists. I have Southern Smoke Radio which is on
Sirius Satellite Radio and it’s the new wave in radio. If you don’t
like that commercial s**t, if you want that explicit music that you’re
really dying to hear, Sirius Satellite Radio is the station I work for
and I think in four to five years they’re gonna be a beast, so get your
stock early if you haven’t invested in it yet.
Also, I’m putting a charity foundation together. There aren’t many
DJs with a charity foundation, so I’m trying to set the mark. I know
there are a couple out there, shouts to the DJs giving back. We have to
support the communities that help us by paying money, going to our
clubs, going to our shows, so we need to support the community and have
events and help the little kids coming up doing their thing in school
and everything. We gotta help recycle that money that helps us, that’s
what it’s all about. Shout out to all the DJs out there doing their
thing from the legends to the guys on the come-up, I salute everybody.
We’re a movement, an underprivileged movement, but we’ve been here
since the beginning and we’re a very important ingredient in Hip-Hop
and we’ll never die, so hopefully we can get our just due too.