As history shows, many rappers are motivated to rap by seeing the success of other artists. For Brooklyn, N.Y. rapper Smoove'L, he saw it the other way; he wasn't impressed with what he was hearing so he decided to pursue a rap career. Recording music since he was 13 years old, Smoove had this realization at the age of 16, and immediately decided to try his hand at serious songwriting. Inspired by A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Smoove'L started to hone his talent. The young rhymer wanted to be seen as a respected storyteller above all else.
Since 2015, the rapper has been dropping music on his SoundCloud page, including projects 4 Boy and Hood 2 Hollywood, which both dropped last year. Once he noticed how big Brooklyn drill was getting in New York City over the last year, Smoove'L joined the wave early on in 2019, creating and releasing "New Apolos" (inspired by the local Brooklyn Chinese restaurant and later changed to "Apollo"). The track, which is his biggest song yet with over 14 million Spotify streams and 11million YouTube views, became hugely popular locally. It's exactly what he set out to do—use his brand of storytelling (about a girl he met at a diner) while combining with the Brooklyn drill template. His melodic singing and youthful voice filled in the rest, making it unlike all the other BK drill songs.
Following that success, Interscope Records reached out to him and he soon signed with the label through Run Music LLC. He has since followed up with songs like "2020" while already having his buzz bolstered by "Ouu Ahh '3 Wordz,'" which came soon after "Apollo." Smoove'L just dropped his new project, Boy From Brooklyn, last week, and he's well on his way despite being arrested on a gun charge in New York in April.
Catch up on the life and times of Smoove'L in this week's edition of The Break.
I grew up listening to: "I would say Biggie, Michael Jackson. I always play R. Kelly a lot. [Lil] Wayne and A Boogie [Wit Da Hoodie]. And 50 [Cent] too. [With Biggie], definitely, I thought I watched that movie with him. Yeah, that shit caught on to me, too. Biggie was just hard. His flow, everything."
My style’s been compared to: "I really don't see nothing. Not A Boogie, to be honest. I don't feel like we got a similar sound, but I don't know. When you listen to my music, I been trying to be versatile. Lately I've been feeling like DMX. I don't know why. You heard that 'Outstanding' song, I could real rap and melodic. But out of all this though, out of New York now, besides Lil Tjay, J.I., and the melodic side of dudes, I'm definitely on the bottom list of sounding like A Boogie. I'll be having less worries about that. We just sound alike."
I’m going to blow up because: "I just vision this shit, and then it's practice. Practice make perfect. I've been in the studio since like 13, 14. I stop, go back in. I was just in the studio. I used to go to my hood, shoot videos and I don't give a fuck who get in there, to be honest. That's the thing. With my hood, some people they worry about people wanting to get into they videos to make it look lit. I will sit in front of your face by myself, then shoot a video. That's always been my mindset. I don't need a lot of people. I'll make the shit work. And I definitely got the music. I know."
What’s your most slept-on song, and why?: "My most slept-on song, I feel like 'Ion Give A Fuck.' Right now, what I got out, 'Ion Give A Fuck,' that 'Too Drippy.' New York is just uptempo. So you got to give people what they like just to put you out there. Then when you get the fan base, then you can just drop the music that you want to drop. I'm trying to catch the people but I got a whole ’nother side of music."
My standout records to date have been: "'New Apolos,' but I definitely got something that's going to beat 'New Apolos.' The way I've been dropping, something probably going to
beat 'New Apolos.' '2020' probably going to beat 'New Apolos.' I always try to make sure my next drop is harder than my last drop."
My standout moments to date have been: "I chill with French Montana. With [A$AP] Ferg. When you just from the hood, everything is fucking crazy. Being here is crazy. At Diddy party, my music being played and things like that. They knowing it though, so It's different."
Most people don’t know: "I'm a silent killer."
I’m going to be the next: "I'm going to be the next Lefty senior, my father. I don't know what I'm going to be. I'm definitely going to be with the greats though, on God. I'm telling you. I'll probably be the greatest."
Follow Smoove'L on Instagram and SoundCloud.
"Ouu Ahh '3 Wordz'"
Boy From Brooklyn
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