DJ Smallz: Doin’ It Big

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 […]

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… 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. 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

long. 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. 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. 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

mixtapes. 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. 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. 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

that. 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. 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, I’m real easy to get a hold of. 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.