February 20, 2012
Smokey Hype: A Reggae Man In Spanish Town Shines
Written by David Saba
When Rastaboyz spoke on the phone with dancehall deejay Smokey Hype in January, the man was juiced. It was immediately apparent that this was an artiste full of excitement for his craft and for his recently released mixtape. At one point during the interview he even ripped into a spontaneous freestyle. First singing some softer melodies, "She do for me, yeah-yeah/Ne-ver find a lover like me/She told me that she love me un-con-ditional-ly", and then tearing into some harder chants. It was wicked. So many artistes insist that they eat, breathe and sleep music - but with Smokey Hype it definitely appears true.
Smokey Hype represents Spanish Town, Jamaica, on his growing label Spanish Mob Records. He originally hails from Kingston. "Growing up in Kingston was a real struggle [and] life was hard, but music help me get through all the violence that was around me, and [it] helped me to be focused." Although he wouldn’t decide to pursue a career in music until later, Smokey Hype’s first dancehall show as a youngster was a seminal experience. It was "a Beenie Man show which was being put on at Dinthill Technical High School…in Linstead St Catherine". To this day Smokey credits Beenie Man as an inspiration for his own music, as well as Bounty Killer, Baby Cham, Sizzla, and Shabba Ranks..
When Smokey Hype made the decision to pursue music seriously he leapt right into every aspect of music production. He gained success at songwriting, and penned the Grizzly Cat and Bounty Killer track "Banging Central". He got involved in riddim production, which he still loves. In fact Smokey Hype admits that he basically spends all his free time in the studio mixing and producing. And of course he started deejaying, which is how he got his name. Now Smokey had been a high school nickname that stuck, but "when I started going to the recording studio and singing about bling bling and those things, the producers started saying I was hype, so I put them together and Smokey Hype was born".
Smokey Hype has seen his star rise. He recorded on the Spii Where riddim with Sizzla and Anthony B, among other deejays, and his single "Reggae Man" reached number 14 on the reverbnation.com charts. Next up is the release of some more singles, a planned video shoot for "Anything Me Want", and putting together his first album. Smokey Hype’s mixtape The Beginning of the End was released recently in Germany where its downloads quickly maxed out. It’s now available for free on Facebook on both Smokey Hype’s and Spanish Mob Records’ pages. The Beginning of the End marks "a new day…it rather presents a different type of music…a new focus". It signals "the end of the old Smokey and the [entrance of the] new one".