Sometimes, when it comes to stoner rap, the only people who will enjoy the music are stoners. This isn’t the case for Smoke DZA’s signature marijuana-praising raps. For Smoke DZA’s latest album, Rugby Thompson he enlisted east coast beat maker Harry Fraud to produce the album in its entirety. This latest effort shows Smoke DZA’s growth from just another weed rapper to rapping about different content. Where this would hinder the versatility in many other albums, Harry Fraud’s soulful production brings something different with each track. The features on Rugby Thompson compliment his style well, getting verses from the likes of OFWGKTA’s Domo Genesis, A$AP Mob’s A$AP Twelvyy, Action Bronson, Schoolboy Q and fellow Jet Life member Curren$y.
Flowing right into the title track, “Rugby Thompson” acts as a time capsule for the 90’s with a vintage beat and a vintage flow and a smooth delivery that creates a track that is comparable to riding on a cloud. Probably the most refreshing aspect of the album, is DZA’s ability to switch up his flow from syrupy stoner rap to high energy double time style as heard on “New Jack”. The chopped and screwed “Ashtray”, serves as musical codeine with Smoke DZA’s dragged out verses coupled with Domo Genesis and Schoolboy Q’s unapologetic hard hitting verses. Harry Fraud also shows off his chopping and screwing skills in the mystical track “Rivermonts.”
Although Kenny Powers is not the best song on the album, it is understandable why it was a single judging by its radio play ability. The infectious hook and the upbeat production can please general audiences. The switch off verses between Action Bronson and Smoke DZA in “Turnbuckle Music”, are enjoyable as they are effective with the track giving up a street video with the in-your-face delivery that is evident throughout the song.
The album comes to an end with the extra terrestrial sound with Smoke DZA spitting verses in a delivery that is similar to Earl Sweatshirt’s. When explaining this track Smoke DZA said “This Outro is like the end of Rugby Thompson and the lead into my next endeavor. We took the Christopher Walken skit from Poolhall Junkies. So, it marks the end of this and the beginning of George Kush Da Button: The 2nd Term, which is the next album.” If the growth from Smoke DZA’s previous album Rolling Stoned to this one, then George Kush Da Button: The 2nd Term will most likely not disappoint.