EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Smokepurpp reveals the album release date for "Florida Jit," announces his new reality show, and speaks on his collaborations with Rick Ross, Lil Pump, and more.
Smokepurpp's reputation precedes him. One of Florida's most prominent new-school rappers, the 23-year-old has been referred to as one of the leaders of his generation. He is emblematic of the SoundCloud rap wave that took over the Sunshine State so fervently several years ago. Alongside XXXTentacion, Denzel Curry, his best friend Lil Pump, and others, Smokepurpp took charge as a chaotic rapper that loved to get the hype train rolling.
You've likely read all the headlines about his antics with his close buddy Pump on social media. The two love to get the world talking, often getting into situations that mimic those of a frat house. While he loves to party, Smokepurpp is more than just a party-boy.
With Florida Jit, it's time for Purpp to earn back your respect. While it will take more than my words to entice you, he plans on shutting up the critics with the arrival of his new album.
This week, I hopped on a call with Purpp to speak about his upcoming project, his relationship with Lil Pump and Ronny J, his upcoming reality show, what we can expect from him moving forward, and much more.
Read our exclusive interview below, edited for clarity and length.
HNHH: Hey Purpp, how’s it going?
Smokepurpp: Sup fam! Everything’s good, everything’s good, what about you?
Everything is good, I’m happy to talk to you. I was just listening to the album, actually. I got an advance copy. I wanted to start off by congratulating you on that.
What do you think about it?
I don’t want to say it sounded like the old Purpp but it sounded like the SoundCloud material, if you know what I mean.
That’s exactly what it is, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be.
That’s amazing. Aside from a return to that sound, what did you want to communicate with the album? Is this kind of like your gift to the people who have been asking for the old Purpp?
Yeah, so I’m a Florida kid, so basically me being a Florida kid, it’s just going back to the basics, it’s going back to being a Florida kid. So basically I’m just being on my day one, you know what I’m saying?
I appreciate that. It’s a little chaotic too, in a good way. What made you want to release a Florida-themed album?
I grew up in Florida, and like Florida is really what made me, what made my character. Florida pretty much made me, so it’s only right I do this for my city and I do more and more for my city. This isn’t enough but this is a start. I want to do a lot of stuff for the city. I want to donate money, I want to donate to charity, and this is just the start of that.
That’s amazing, man. I found you were experimenting a lot with new melodies and different kinds of voices. Did you go into the album wanting to try new things?
I wanted it to still be chaotic, still that hard-hitting shit, but I kind of threw melodies in there, which is something I haven’t done before. I’m like you know, like that hard-hitting type.
Definitely. You worked a lot with Ronny J this time around. I know y’all have a good relationship.
That’s my boy. We both got our first platinum plaque together, so we go way back. Even before that he was pulling up to me and Pump’s house recording us. Then he was living in Florida, so even before we grew up we were already friends, so me and Ronny have a good relationship, you know what I’m saying. The project is basically me and Ronny.
I feel like Ronny kind of represents the current sound of Florida as much as you do, so it’s nice to see you guys working together again on this.
You recently fought back claims from people saying you had fallen off. What would you say to them?
Look out (laughs).
I respect that. After listening to Florida Jit, I feel like this is like a whole different kind of avenue for you. I think once people listen to it, they'll understand you more.
Right. They usually say [I've fallen off] when I go like a month or two without dropping a song, and then I drop a song and it goes crazy. I’m in the news the first day like “he’s back!” and it’s like, well, I was never gone.
Photo credit: James Pereria
That’s always how it is. You announced the album just last week. Did you complete it quickly, or have you been sitting on some of the songs for a long time?
I didn’t rush it or nothing, I wanted to make the project good. It took me about two or three months to do the project and then the rest has been mixing and clearing. You know I got to get [Young] Nudy on there too, Jack Harlow on there, [Lil] Pump on there. The producers, shout out all the producers on there besides Ronny. So, the past two months have really been clearances and stuff like that, shooting videos. We just now getting ready for the fire.
Speaking about Nudy, Denzel Curry, Jack Harlow, and a few others being on the album, do you have any cool stories about working with anyone in particular?
Rick Ross. I met Rick Ross-- Pump had a song on his album, the self-titled one. That was me, him, and Rick Ross. "Pinky Ring." We made that song and we shot the video and the video had never even came out. I never talked to him since then, and being able to link back up with him, that’s cool because we’re from the same city. I’m saying no more than ten blocks away. He been giving me the stamp in my city, and the key to the city is next, watch.
How did you re-connect with Rozay? That man is a whole legend in Florida.
I sent him the song to see what he thought about it and he ain’t even told me he liked it. He just sent it right back with the verse on it, so I knew he loved it.
That’s when you know! For Deadstar 2 you said that you wrote about 800 songs. What was the process this time around?
I really recorded Deadstar 2 like six times. All the leaks were fucking it up. So we wasted a lot of money having to go back to the studio and record new songs, and shoot new videos because we already wasted the budget on videos the first time it got leaked, so it’s a lot of wasted money because of these fucking leaks. So Deadstar 2 was a hard process. At a point, it was just like, you know what, with the leaks or not I’m just gonna put it out there 'cause I don’t even care no more.
Yeah, I feel that.
It was just too many leaks so I decided I’m just gonna put this out. Like, I can’t just keep remaking the album when I’m wasting hundreds of thousands on videos for people to leak it, you know what I’m saying?
It’s nice because I feel like this time around, you didn’t have to deal with any of that shit. It wasn’t as many leaks and things were more under wraps.
They tried, but this time we had Universal on deck blocking everything the second it got leaked.
The first single from Florida Jit is with Lil Pump. You guys just dropped the video for it. How’s everything with him doing?
Amazing. That’s my best friend, my brother. We grew up together, you know what I’m saying. We came from Florida together and that’s my brother for life. We’re never on bad terms, that’s my brother. We talk every single day.
That’s amazing. Are you guys working on more music? I feel like you always have something going on.
Of course. We have like three projects done, and we have a Gucci Gang project. That’s me, him, and Gucci Mane. That hasn’t come out yet. It’s all about timing you know.
That’s true! What ended up happening with that? Y'all did that around Coachella, right?
Yeah, so the original plan was to drop the album before Coachella and then perform the album there, but, you know, clearances and shit. It couldn’t happen on time, and then after that, we all three dropped an album and right now we’re all thinking about dropping an album again. It’s just hard finding the right time.
It’s nice to hear about that though because a lot of people want that shit.
No yeah, it’s coming. It’ll come.
I wanted to ask another question about Pump. He tweeted a few weeks ago some scary shit about wanting to die. Did you talk to him about that? What’s going on?
I mean, shit when I tweeted at him that specific day, he didn’t call me, but I hit him the next day and he was straight, so I really don't know what that shit was about. To be honest, I can’t really answer that question, you know what I’m saying. That’s more personal stuff that I didn’t know, he didn’t tell me anything about that. I tried calling him that day but he didn’t answer. I talked to him the next day though and he was cool.
That’s nice to hear. You see that stuff and it just hurts.
Moving back to music, I've got to ask. Is there a third Deadstar tape coming at some point?
I don’t know yet, I don’t know if I want to do a 3 yet.
For Florida Jit, have you set an exact release date yet?
June 5th, you heard it right here.
Hot New Hip Hop, you heard it right here. June 5th!
Shit, let’s go! How do you plan on promoting the album? With the coronavirus and shit, touring isn’t really an option. I’ve seen some stuff about virtual touring, do you have any creative ideas with that?
With the coronavirus, it just comes down to entrepreneurship, you know what I’m saying. You got to have multiple sources of income. At this point, you already should have had multiple sources of income because, you know, you never know when something like this is gonna happen. I already have multiple sources of income. I had signed artists, I have producers I signed. I do real estate. I own a couple of properties. So I’m not gonna say it didn’t affect me that much because it affected the whole world, but you know I had things to back me up.
You’re absolutely right on that. Anything can happen, so it’s nice to hear that you got shit lined up.
Yeah, exactly. I’ve always been the type of person to think like that so I’m always prepared for whatever. Before the coronavirus came-- I’m not saying I was thankful about it, but I was definitely thankful that I was already getting multiple sources of income. I’m just doing what I can do like rent out properties, make merch, stuff like that. Talent shows, just stuff that I can do that my fans like too besides real estate shit. An artist should always have that set up, you know what I’m saying?
Once the pandemic is over, what’s the first Smokepurpp performance going to look like?
It's going to be insane. I was supposed to be on an arena tour right now and that was gonna be my first time headlining an arena tour by myself, but it’s nothing. When shit comes around, it ain’t nothing. I’ll probably have another project out by that time. It’s gonna be lit.
That’s it. I feel like at most, this shit’s probably gonna last like another year. You’re not going anywhere, so that’s not an issue.
Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. I already have three projects finished and dropping this year besides this one.
Dropping this year? Three projects?
Dropping this year. I’m going Future, Beast Mode.
Shit, that’s crazy, bro I’m excited to hear all that. At the end of 2019, you quit drinking lean. On “24s”, you say you drank some lean. Are you still off it or what’s happening with that?
Yeah, so I recorded “24s” in 2017. I actually quit drinking lean in December 2018.
That's amazing. Congratulations, man.
Yeah, I haven’t drunk lean since then type shit. I smoke weed, you know what I’m saying. I’ll turn up, I’ll do some shit. But lean, shit, that’s out the window.
You hear so many horror stories about it so I wanted to definitely ask you about that.
Yeah, man and not only that, but I used to rap about it because I was doing it. But I don’t want other people to do it because I’m doing it. That’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m just telling my story, you get what I’m saying?
Some people don’t take it as that. Some people take it as 'yo, I gotta do this shit too if I’m gonna be cool.' That plus my health, it just made me want to quit the lean, like that shit’s out the window. You do lean, that shit’s lame. I’m making that a new thing. Lean is lame.
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
I love that. There’s also been some shit on The Shade Room about some girl who has a tattoo of yours... What’s going on with her, can you just clear that shit up?
To be honest, I don’t know what’s wrong with her bro, I don’t know that girl. I never even fucked that girl, nothing like that. I don’t know what that shit’s about. I would’ve understood if I knew her like that and I dicked the bitch down and gave her some good dick and she was traumatized, but none of that went down. I don’t know her like that (laughs) you know what I’m saying, like.
I mean, at least she's listening to the music, so that’s nice (laughs).
And it’s no disrespect there either by what I’m saying, but it’s just the truth like I don’t know you.
Aside from the three projects that you have lined up, what else do you have planned for the rest of the year?
A lot of music videos, a lot of merch. I’m actually dropping merch this week. I’m gonna be dropping merch all year. I have a line that I’m working on which is a clothing brand that we launched, so that’s gonna be coming this year too. I actually have a reality TV show about to come out too. We’re shooting the first season right now.
Shit for real? A reality TV show?
Yeah, man. That's what I'm saying about different sources of income, that’s what I’m talking about. My shit is funny, cause my cameraman records what I don’t want him to record.
Yeah, that’s incredible, man. I’m excited about all of that. Is there anything else you wanted to add for the readers?
Be on the look out. Shout out all the fans. Merch dropping. Florida Jit.
That’s amazing Purpp. I had a pleasure speaking with you, thank you so much for me giving me the time.
Ah, yeah thank you. I have a lot of love for you guys.
I appreciate you man, thank you very much.