Featured Rap Artist Smarts Is Interviewed On Dubb Spot Records
Dubb Spot Records got the chance to catch up with rap artist Smarts. We discussed the lessons learned along the way, his earliest memories of rap music and what needs to be brought to rap music and how he intends to add to it.
DSR: How old were you when you developed an interest in music?
Smarts: It must have been real early in life. Since I can remember, my parents would always play music all the time, and as soon as the radio would be off, I would miss the songs that were being played. But that’s different now when the radio is off I don’t miss the songs that are being played by some of the artist.
DSR: What was your earliest musical memory? What formed your love of music in your head?
Smarts: The fact that I can do it and thought I was good at it. I thought to myself, “all they are doing is rhyming…i know how to do that too.”
DSR: Let’s get to know a little more about you and how you grew up. What was it like in your hometown? What kind of kid were you?
Smarts: I grew up in the 80’s in Long Beach California. In our neighborhood, gang violence was an everyday thing. We learned how to fight with our fists those days. I’m the middle kid in the family, I’m also the black sheep.
DSR: So let’s talk about your music. How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard it before?
Smarts: I try to bring emotion to a lot of my music. First I have to feel the instrumental, then I bring those feelings to words through my lyrics.
DSR: What is the significance of your name?
Smarts: My friends would always say that I’m smart. I made it “smarts” once I started drawing graff. Knowing it meant “smarts” means so many things and I felt they described me and my lyrics as well. If you look it up in the dictionary “smarts” is often described as mostly a superficial wound… which I know my lyrics inflict.
DSR: There’s a part of the industry that irks me the most, where great music gets overlooked because it doesn’t fit a mold of the typical rap artist. How frustrating is that for you, if people seem to think that you don’t have that sound for radio?
Smarts: Radio is a dying form of entertainment nowadays, with good reason. With songs getting played on rotation every 20 minutes I too would change the damn station until I find a new sound, a new beat, a new voice and new music. I’m perfectly fine not being played on the radio. Often times, that’s where some excellent music goes to die. I don’t care what people think of myself or my music, as long as I know I’m being true to myself.
DSR: What do you think needs to be brought to music in this decade and how do you plan to add to that?
Smarts: What I feel this industry needs and has been lost is knowledge. The radio keeps pushing the typical artist songs to make us forget that the economy is bad and not to worry and party all the damn time. How can I party all the damn time when I can’t afford it? When I don’t have a job? We artist need to speak about real issues so that we can actually make a difference instead of keeping us down always talking about things I can’t relate to. I’m not a millionaire, so all the so called sell out rappers artist are not in touch with the people who are struggling. I try to educate through lyrics, but still bring my street into it because I’ve lived it and am still living it.
DSR: What do you think of the music that came out in the last decade?
Smarts: I think it is being missed. That’s why the rap artist Nas said hip hop was dead. The music being played on the radio now is intended for a different generation, and I’m fine with that. Let these youngsters have it. It sounds like they want it to just be pop, hip pop, not hip hop. When the rap artist group N.W.A did “f*** the police” that opened my eyes and I’ve seen how powerful hip hop can be. It raised awareness about police brutality. All you hear about in this decade of music is the same song sung a million different ways by a different rap artist, and that makes me sick.
DSR: How would you rate the music that your music competes against in your local area?
Smarts: I try not to rate anything. If you like it, then you like it. As long as just one person likes my song I am content with that. I try to not do what every other artist out there is doing, I just do what I want and worry about myself.
DSR: Have you learned any lessons so far and if so, what are they?
Smarts: I’ve learned many lessons along the way and I am still learning. I’ve learned that you can make money being fake as hell, that’s why I keep it real as much as I can. But at the end I give the listeners what they want, but I do it my way.
DSR: Do you write all of your own material? And if so, are you working on any new projects or have any projects that you are promoting right now?
Smarts: I write all my material, every single letter. I take my time and write all my rhymes down to make sure every bar is where it should go. Respect to those who don’t write anything down and just spit in the booth, but I think you may be limited in the content that comes out. And I think that’s why I think knowledge has slowly faded from hip hop. I’m currently performing songs from my solo album “Political Party” that’s free to download. I also have a project coming out with “the other guys” which consists of myself, rap artist Jon Doe, Slim Pickens, and Beast. Plus be on the lookout on many projects to come out from Darkstarz records.
DSR: Where can the people find you performing or attend the events you are involved in?
Smarts: People can find all that information on my facebook at facebook.com/smartsMC
DSR: Where can we find your music online and offline?
Smarts: You can find my music at the following links:
DSR: We ask every Artist that we interview, what’s the best piece of advice that someone has ever given to you?
Smarts: There has been so many good advice given to me, but from what I gather, I have to look inside myself and know why I’m rapping.
DSR: Is there anything else that you would like to include in closing of this interview?
Smarts: Yes, music is a form of art, and an artist will always have critics. It’s up to the artist to either worry about what the critics say or to keep doing what they love doing. Although I may not respect what a few artists do, I don’t hate them getting that paper.