DJ Smoke is a Sucker-Proof and Coast 2 Coast DJ hailing from the Windy City who has spent over a decade putting tracks together for the mixtape circuit and his DJ Smoke Mixtapes brand. In his interview with HipHopWired, DJ Smoke tells us what he’s working on next, how he linked up with his DJ crews and how he landed a never before heard mixtape with Guru of Gangstarr before his untimely passing.
Origin: Chicago, Illinois
Current Locaton: Chicago, Illinois
HipHopWired: How’d you get started DJing?
DJ Smoke: I’ve been doing this for about 15 years, I started out doing mixtapes on cassettes. I was making them for myself and a couple of my people. From there I started working with some artists, I went to a high school where a lot of people were rapping and I linked up with some fam and we’ve been doing it ever since.
HipHopWired: Would you say anyone influenced you?
DJ Smoke: DJ Jazzy Jeff. DJ Pinkhouse, Green Lantern, DJ Ferris, a Chicago DJ. There’s too many to name.
HipHopWired: Tell me how you got started working with the Coast 2 Coast and the Suckerproof DJs.
D J Smoke: Coast 2 Coast, I started seeing them everywhere and I was dropping mixtapes every week. I saw them going super hard so I started trying to compete with them. I said man, I see the Coast 2 Coast brand everywhere, I need to see the DJ Smoke Mixtapes brand everywhere too. It went from me trying to compete with them to me linking up with them and we’ve just been working ever since.
HipHopWired: Tell me more about this DJ Smoke mixtape brand. What’s the last mixtape you put out?
DJ Smoke: I just put one out called Mixing Up The Medicine Part 3. I started doing Smoked Out Radio series, I’m on volume 22. Twitter Radio is another new one I started. Twitter is a crazy networking tool so I decided to do the same thing with my mixtape.
HipHopWired: So what’s next for you? Are you working with any artists?
DJ Smoke: I work with tons of independent artists and a couple major. I was glad I got to do a mixtape hosted by Guru of Gangstarr before he passed. I still haven’t put it out yet but I want to wait for the perfect time for that, I don’t wanna look like I’m just trying to come up off his death. I’m definitely gonna put it out by the end of the year. I found his contact information and I just told him it’d be a joy to work with him and he sent me some of newest stuff.
HipHopWired: What’s your overall goal for 2010?
DJ Smoke: I tend to take things in small bites but last September I did 31 mixtapes in 31 days, my “31 Flavors” promotion. This September I want to do “50 Shots”, 50 mixtapes in 31 days.
HipHopWired: Do you already have an idea of some of the artists you want to work with on that?
DJ Smoke: I’ve been working with Freeky Zekey. We did his mixtape already, it did real well, got a lot of downloads. He told me any time I need him to hit him up so we’re gonna work on some new projects together. The Guru tape I’m gonna drop that at the beginning or end of that mixtape promotion.
HipHopWired: Any last words or shoutouts?
DJ Smoke: Shoutout to the Sucker Proof DJs, Mota, Nick and everybody over there always looked out for me. Same with the Coast to Coast DJs, and look out for artists coming out of Chicago. We got a lot of new artists and a lot of new music.
HipHopWired: Do you have any contact info you want to leave in case someone wants to get in contact with you?