Finally dropping the long-awaited "Dream.ZONE.Achieve", Smoke DZA proves that he can do anything he sets his mind to.
Smoke DZA fans have seen the Harlem rapperâs growth from his last few projects. He went from hard-hitting straight-laced lyrics in George Kush Da Button to a street storyteller in Rugby Thompson. Back with the long awaited and highly anticipated Dream.ZONE.Achieve, DZA sets out to prove that he has a lot more to talk about than just marijuana.
Inspired by his moniker, DZAâs latest project is broken up into three sections: dream, zone and achieve. The first third of the album focuses on the thought process of doing what you want to do. DZA steps into the zone, the actual hustle of making the dreams come true before finally achieving and reaping the benefits of all the hard work that was put in. DZA puts his hometown on the forefront with âCity of Dreamsâ and channels Jay Z circa Reasonable Doubt in âJigga Flow,â featuring NymLo. Joey Bada$$ turns out a mean 16 in âFhvt Bvsturd.â
In a true dream come true collaboration, Camâron makes an appearance on âGhost of Dipset,â a slow, soulful jam produced courtesy of Thelonious Martin that all Dipset fans will go crazy over. While Camâron raps about running into an old female acquaintance who could briefly get it before changing his mind, Smoke DZA is more serious:
"I play the block with the youngins/Â Like a recruiter on any Martin Luther/ Acquainted with shooters, the randomous killings/Â Is pure entertainment to a nigga that's brainless hands/Â On the stainless, tryna get famous/Â There's a war going on outside/Â No man is safe from/Â Be aware, get hit if you play dumb"
(Expect more from these two Harlem rappers, as they are expected to drop a joint project together later this year.)
When he is in the zone, Smoke DZA is in the ZONE. Songs like the hard-hitting â9Elevenâ and âHearsesâ with Ab-Soul fit right into this category. âI Donât Knowâ featuring crooner Kobe is a beautiful song about the struggle DZA has with trying to leave the streets alone:
âCoke price to high it's like burglary/Â Niggas can't get the connect so they fuck with checks/Â Make it, cash it, find a few broads/Â Gave him 2K got a 4K gift card/Â The pot flow I just can't let go of/Â Hard to stay out the dirt when you hand to hand with growers/Â Even if I'm not physically attached in/Â The mentality keep me trapped inâ
A marijuana theme isnât as prevalent as one would think with a Smoke DZA project but the Harlem rapper does touch on the sticky icky that he loves so much on several songs. He recruits two heavy hitters and smokers Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y for âLegends In The Making (Ashtray Part 2),â which served as the first single off of Dream.ZONE.Achieve.
Smoke DZA has gone on record to say one of his favorite songs off of the album is âZoneâ featuring Pro Eraâs CJ Fly and with good reason. He shows his hustlerâs ambition in the smoothed out song:
"Fly like I'm on trapeze/Â Bomber after bomber match me/Â I'm in the game homie peep my stat sheet/Â Amerikkkan Korruption, long live Capt. STEEZ/Â 47 shift, nigga never quit, cut cloth from the thoroughest/Â Urban terrorist, that low shit is embedded in me/Â My old lady pushing 750, killing bitches delicately"
Thereâs no better feeling than working hard for something and then reaching that goal. In the last third of the album, DZA celebrates his achievements with âTropicana Rosesâ and âErrthang Valid.â In âMaybe,â he seeks a partner to share his success with. And in âAchieve,â DZA exudes pride and a sense of accomplishment rapping on a Pete Rock beat.
No song sums up Smoke DZAâs drive for success quite like âBlack Independence.â With J. Ivy providing some spoken word poetry, DZA laments about being an independent artist and why he prefers doing it his way than going the traditional label route:
âIndependent as fuck, I own me/ Publish shit, merchandise, show money/ If I donât kill my food I wonât eat/ You see all my moves, thatâs all me/ Controlling my own destiny/ Knowing the value of my equity/ You gotta hold your turf/ Theyâll try to give you what they want, nigga know your worthâ
Smoke DZA has a knack for picking beats that blends perfectly with his voice and cadence. Continuing to work with Harry Fraud, DZA also recruits other producers from the Big Apple like Thelonious, 6th Sense, 183rd and V-Don to truly encapsulate that New York sound. Jahlil Beats, Cardo, Sean C & LV and other producers also make contributions to the album, making it an easy listen even when DZA lags. Dream.ZONE.Achieve should take Smoke DZAâs career to the next level. He does a great job of providing his fans with classic DZA while broadening his appeal to those that may have slept on him before.