Smoke DZA is a rapper from Harlem that I have heard of, but not actually listened to so I sat down and put on his newest album He Has Risen. I enjoyed the majority of the beats and the atmosphere of the album, but I became bored by about the fifth track and started wishing that this was a Joey Bada$$ album.
The album starts with some unnecessary exposition from DZA, he does not start rapping until about 45 seconds into a 2 minute and 54 second song. Which would have been fine if it was just instrumental, but DZA just muddles up the intro of one of the best beats on here.Then his vocals sound filtered and did not sound right at all to my ears. “Heard Dat” is another good beat. I love the drums and the horn line along with the organ. His voice sounds better hear and he is more interesting than the last track. Nothing lands with any weight though, clear punchlines or important rhymes have no emphasis or impact, which unfortunately carries on throughout the album.
Snoop Dogg shows up on "Morals" and made the problems that I have with DZA’s voice stand out. It may just be a experience thing, but I want DZA to have more weight on his rhyme and flows. I love the beat on “Stage Five Steamer” and I was listening to the vocal line in the beat and getting distracted from DZA. I started wishing on this song that this was a Joey Bada$$ album, because I know he would body this. DZA starts singing on “It’s Real” and it felt off. “100k” has another good beat, but DZA is just not interesting. I was so uninterested I found myself studying my ceiling fan for the last third of a short nine track album.
I don’t like this album, sure the beats and atmosphere are good, but DZA was not a strong enough of a voice to break through the beats. He is not the star of his own album in any fashion. This could have been a Harry Fraud beat tape and I would have liked it just as much.
by Addison Garry (@addisonagarry)