INTERVIEW: Smooky Margielaa details meeting A$AP Rocky in a club at 14-years old, and reveals a new mixtape on the way with producer CashMoney AP.
The Bronx, NY, birthplace of hip-hop and home to some of this genre’s most memorable artists. From KRS1 to Big Pun, to newer artists influencing the current landscape, such as A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Cardi B and many more, the Bronx almost organically produces hip-hop talents of all sorts and variations. The most recent boogie down Bronx artist to make a wave in the hip-hop scene is a young man by the name of Smooky Margielaa.
Smooky, only 15-years old, has generated a lot of attention online recently, and it's not just for his young age and connections. The young MC’s knack to flow, often a combination of singing and rapping, struck the attention of Harlem’s very own, A$AP Rocky. You’ll notice Smooky’s name on a few tracks on the Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 and on projects with Mob affiliates such as Twelvyy, Marty Baller and more.
Smooky Margielaa stopped by the HNHH office recently, and spoke with us about how he connected with Rocky, when he started making music and projects that we should be looking out for.
Check out the Q&A below.
How did you get the name Smooky Margielaa?
I got the name Smooky Margielaa by Facebook. Everybody used to make Facebook names and they would never put their real names. Feel me? So my cousin made a Facebook and his name was Smoke. So when he made a Facebook, his name was Smoke and he spelled it S M O K E. Feel me? So I just followed off that and I put Smook then it turned into Smooky, then mad other stuff. Then I made a song called “Margielaa” and ever since then those were my favorite sneakers right there. So I just made it -- Smooky Margielaa.
I saw a few different publications claiming you were 14, some said 15. Just to set the record straight, How old are you?
I’m 15. I just turned 15.
When did you start making music? What got you into it?
Music runs in my blood. Since I was a youngin’ I was watching baby videos of me and I was playing the drums. Like it some thing called “djembe” they play it in Africa, it’s an African instrument, you know? That’s what I used to play. I used to hit that all the time. My dad is a singer from Africa. Feel me? So I just carried on from that. When I really started rapping? Probably like two years ago. Feel me? But before that I was like playing instruments. You know?
Did you ever face any resistance being so young and wanting to be taken serious in the game? If so, how’d you handle it?
Uh huh. I mean I be looking on some of my YouTube comments right? Going down the thing. They really be violating (laughs). They be like, “Who’s this dude?” “Why he sound like that?” “How he get on Cozy Tapes and he only 15?” “He young.” I’m like, I don’t even understand. If there’s talent there, there’s talent there. You could be ten, still killing -- eight...
You’re a teenager living a life that a lot of adults fantasize about. Do you ever stop and think it’s a dream? Or is this exactly how it was supposed to play out?
At first, I really couldn’t believe it. Even being next to Rocky, it was like oh shit. I used to watch him when I was younger. Feel me? So it was crazy.
How did you link up with A$AP Rocky? What was that experience like first meeting him?
I met him at a club. That I was in. I’d just turned 14. That’s when I dropped this video called “Out My Face” I shot it the same day as the show. But yeah, I was 14. They didn’t even want young kids in there. I had my whole gang in there. Like ten of us all young and under age. Everybody was looking at us like “yo, who are these little kids?” So they tell us “12 o’clock yall got to get out.” Because that’s when they started serving drinks and all that. So it turns 12 o’clock they tell us to get out, so we left. So me and my niggas just standing out there like, "Word? They making us get out?" We chilling and out of nowhere three SUVs pull up. And I’m like any time you see those SUVs it gotta be someone in there. Feel me? Out of nowhere, Rocky comes out the car first with security guards. I’m like “oh nah,” and I was on the flyer. Then I saw Playboi Carti come out but I didn’t know Carti at that time. Now that I know Carti, I remembered him as the person I saw. I even had a picture with him from back then I didn’t really know him. Twelvyy pulled up, everybody pulled up, feel me? And the still was not letting us in the club. So then I asked Rocky, "Yo, you can get me in the club? I’m trying to get in this shit." Then he said, "I’m going to see what I can do," and he went in and I don’t know I think they curved him. Feel me? They already kicked us out. So then I saw one of my manager’s friends. They were going in- it was him and his girl. So I’m like, "Yo bro, we really gotta get in this shit bro. Can you go to the backdoor and open it for us?" And he said, "I got yall." We seen him while we were chilling; he opened the backdoor. I go first, it was Me and Drew Drippy. We cracked the door open. The rest of my friends were still in the back. Every time one of us went in, we just kicked the door for the other one. When we got in nobody else was in there. So it was just me, Drew Drippy, my manager and the person who let us in. So we were just chilling. Then out of nowhere -- I was been supposed to perform but I didn’t perform yet -- then they called our name right after Twelvyy. So I’m like, "it’s lit!" I told Rocky, "yo bro stay, watch me perform bro." He deadass stayed and watched me perform. So I started performing, started bugging, milly rocking, killing it. Then he [A$AP Rocky] was like, "damn this lil nigga crazy." After I finished, [Rocky] was like, "yo yo yo get the little nigga some water." Feel me? They bring me water. Then that’s it. Then he was like, “Yo bro, you’re gonna go far bro. We gotta talk.” So he took my number. And ever since then. Shit is crazy. You know what’s crazy? The first song that I ever made with Rocky was "Black Card." The first time I performed it was at SXSW. It was lit. The crowd was going crazy. I was dumb hype.
I noticed you on Twelvyy’s album and obviously on Cozy Tapes Vol. 2. What was it like working with A$AP Mob on those projects?
“Black Card,” I was in the studio with them. “BYF” I was in the studio with them. But for “Bahamas” I wasn’t in the studio with them; I hopped in the studio in New York. But I been heard that song. Before it dropped Rocky used to play it all the time. Feel me? That’s the song I know the words for. I would sing that song all the time. Yatchy part was OD. Then one day -- Oh! It was right after the show, that’s the day I laid my verse down. After the Writers League thing, that same day I just went to the studio. Hopped on it. Feel me? Verse came out fire. Then that’s it. And “Get to The Bag” too. We all did that together. They lit in the studio. All of us be in the booth together sometimes. Especially the new studio we started going to. Yeah, everybody be in the booth together. Cooking up. It’s just lit. The vibe be cool.
I saw you on stage with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie at SXSW, what was that like sharing a stage with someone who’s from the same borough as you, and made it big time?
It’s was lit. It’s crazy because I ain’t even know A Boogie was going to be at the party. There were two parties. The first one I met him at, his friend came downstairs to get me to come upstairs. When I asked “for what?” They didn’t tell me nothing. I walk upstairs, I see PnB Rock, I see A Boogie, Don Q all of them together. I’m like “what’s good?” They’re all like “you just killed that!” I had just got finished performing. I took his [A Boogie] number then that night I hit him up. He was in the hotel room, I pulled up on him. We were listening to beats and started freestyling. Then the next day that’s when it was the show, 40 Ounce Bounce, it was a mansion party. So I perform there and A Boogie pulled up on me while I was performing “Mozart.”
That Bronx-to-Bronx connection must’ve been crazy.
Yeah! And we’re from the same block! I lived right up the block from him in the Bronx by 169th.
How do you get inspiration to make your music?
I just say what I've seen and things that I experienced. Before times like this we were struggling. Feel me? I can’t hide it. I gotta let niggas know - let them know where I came from. I came from the gutter. I came from people robbing other people. We grinding for it.
To the people that may say “he’s too young to have been through all that.” What do you say to that?
I know 10-year-olds that were robbing people out there. I was 10 when I first figured out how to get money. I was selling candy though.
Are there any artists in the game right now that you look up to?
You mention Drew Drippy a lot in your songs. What’s your relationship with him?
That’s my brother. Day one. He nice too. He can rap! He different. He’s really a beast out there. Drew Drippy? Beast.
What’s the best advice you ever got from anyone?
Stay out of trouble and stay focused. Those two things right there define everything. What I did, what I still do now. Feel me? Stay out of trouble and stay focused.
Who is in your top 5 rappers of all time?
Rappers? I don’t know but artists, Michael Jackson is one. Actually if it wasn’t for Michael Jackson I wouldn’t be doing any of this. In the African tribe Michael Jackson was big, so I was like the kid always performing Michael Jackson moves at the parties and singing his songs. His song “Beat It” was my favorite song. I would sing that song everywhere. When I was younger I was getting paid for performing Michael Jackson. Feel me? If it wasn’t for experiencing Michael Jackson, I don’t think I would be rapping or singing. I saw him and thought, if he can do it I can do it too. My father showed me MJ. When I was younger I remember my dad called me from the room and told me to watch MJ and he said that I was about to like it. Then I loved MJ. I started doing all of his dance moves. Moon-walking flicking the leg. All of that. Facts!
Are there any artists in the game that you want to work with?
I met the Migos but I haven’t worked with them. I want to work with them.
What about producers?
Me and Cash Money AP are about to drop a mixtape called MMM. It stands for a lot of things.
What’s next for you? Anything we should be looking out for?
Right now, MMM [Margielaa Mad Man] produced by Cash Money AP is coming. Then I have another mixtape coming called A Tribe Called Grape on the way. Oh! "Blitz Gang." It’s a song has been pending for a while now but I’m about to drop it soon. Real soon.
Does any of this work interfere with simply being a kid? Going to school or going to the park to hoop? Video Games?
Well I’m not really a hooper like that. I used to hoop when I was in the 7th & 8th grade. I was wack though I got kicked off the team (laughs).
What do you when you’re not in the studio?
When I’m not in the studio I’m with my bros. We go out to eat, we go to the park and play ball but I’m not a hooper though I just go to chill and mack with them. I go to my hood show love but I really be in the studio all day.
You play 2K? If so, who’s your team?
Yeah. Cavs. I be killing everyone with them (laughs).
It's been a real pleasure sitting down and getting to know you! You have a bright future.
Thank you. Look out for Margielaa Mad Man the mixtape! Coming soon!