Behind the Beats: Harry Fraud and Smoke Dza
Essential Info: Pairing the right rapper with the perfect producer can be tricky, but sometimes two individuals just find uncanny chemistry in the studio. Enter: Smoke Dza and Harry Fraud. Last month, the Brooklyn beatsmith and the Harlem spitter linked up for Rugby Thompson, Smokey's latest album, produced entirely by Fraud.
"Not too many producers could deliver what he delivers in the studio," Dza explained to Mixtape Daily. "I don't have to tell Fraud what type of sound I'm trying to aim for — he already knows."
Actually, Harry has the sound a lot of rappers are aiming for. His most notable hit is French Montana's "Shot Callers," but Fraud has been fielding calls from Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross and Curren$y, with whom he released the free Cigarette Boats EP this week.
"My phone rings like crazy, but everybody wants a folder of beats, and that's cool, but I really felt with Smoke when we had met, we had already clicked immediately," Fraud explained. "I just felt like this is somebody I know I'm going to be able to build with on a personal level, and we can sit in the studio together and actually work on the songs together really."
The union paid off. The 12-track Rugby Thompson is tied together rather nicely thanks to Fraud's brand of dusty soul beats. The LP's sound bed is perfect for Dza's hazy vocals. The title track features a clever sampling of Bobby Womack's 1972 soul classic "Across 110th Street," and on "Ashtray," Odd Future's Domo Genesis and TDE's Schoolboy Q link up with Dza for a Southern-style smoke fest. "Playground Legend" tells the story of wasted talent over jazzy horns, and "Lo Horsemen" is a rock-tinged ode to Ralph Lauren's famous Polo brand.
"Just to have that synergy with one producer, it just felt right that I did that the whole way out. It was a no-brainer for me," Smoke said.
Fraud added, "Right now, I'm really trying to focus on working with people that I can build a rapport with on a personal level."
What's your favorite track on Rugby Thompson? Tell us in the comments below!
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