Smokee Tokess on his Latest Release, Influences & More [Interview] [@SmokeeTokess]
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I grew up in Harrow, North London. I don’t rap for the money, just for people to feel me. For years, I rapped to people and they keep asking me the same question ‘Why aren’t you signed’. I realized that different people who didn’t know each other don’t go around saying the same thing unless it’s true. So here I am, out for some recognition.
What made you choose the name?
I wanted a name that described me, and it’s true that I spend much of the day high. There’s two types of people in the world, smokers and drinkers. It’s like calling your album The Chronic. My name shows my music is for the smokers, someone like Pitbull is for the drinkers.
What, if any, are the main influences for you when writing your music?
I write not quite what other whites write. I just try and fill up as much meaning as I can into every line so you can play it over and over and it won’t get old. Not a lot of rappers can do that. The industry thinks rappers are like singers they can get off a conveyor belt, so when they got a catchy hook they throw it to a producer and push it out, and the last thing they care about is the lyrics in the verse– as long as they can be played on radio and are ‘marketable’. So, I don’t have many influences at the moment, used to be Nas, Rakim and Big L. Still Eminem…’s old shit.
At what age did you first decide to make Hip Hop music?
I first started when I was 17. I know you get people saying they were rapping since they were 10, and Lil Wayne got signed at 9 years old, but what the fuck does a 9 year old have to rap about? Or a 12 year old? You got to wait until you experience some shit, then you have something to rap about.
What is the main theme behind your current release?
My mixtape Planet Of The 8th’s is came about when I was sitting in the car waiting for a draw and thought, I’m never going to have the money for an ounce, and if I do, it might be shit, so I’m stuck in the planet of buying 8th’s of draw every day. It’s a realization of where the fuck I am. The mixtape is about my life.
How long have you been working on your current project?
It took about 4 months to record but some of the rhymes I had for over a year unused. The rhymes just came together at the right time and we did the damn thing.
Who features on production for your current project?
The beats are popular instrumentals from producers from the UK and US, like Chase and Status, but also DJ Premier, T- Minus and Timbaland. I don’t rap with a UK flow, so I could jump on load of different beats and it worked.
Have you got any other promotion in place?
I got more freestyles lined up. More shows. More videos coming soon, including my ‘how to roll a spliff’ video.
Have you performed at many live shows and what kind of a reaction do you get?
My last show I was just performing at this Hip Hop night in Camden just random verses. This was before I had the mixtape done. The crowd was loving that shit, I was like ‘I leave your Nana a cavader, your mother just like a mummy and your little neice, looking like she come back from the middle east’ and they went sick.
Have you been on any live radio shows and what do you prefer, radio or live on stage?
Not yet. When my single comes out in a couple of months we’ll get on that.
Have you got any videos on-line i.e YouTube, Vimeo etc?
Smokee Tokess – Change Around Me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhuyGlUObw0
Smokee Tokess – Snakes and Ladders
Have you been featured on any UK broadcasters like SBTV/Link Up TV’s YouTube channels?
What are the plans for the future?
New single should be coming out this year at some point. Keep pushing, keep going.
Thanks for your time, is there anyone you would like to shout out?
My manager Mitch, Chuck Rivers, J Pounds, Slanda and Crazy J.
Lastly, please drop us your social links!