Published Mar 04, 2016Harlem's Smoke DZA picked a bad day to release his new album, with both Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz dropping fresh material on March 4. But all that considered, DZA offered up the most cohesive and well-produced project of the day.
DZA's had a tough time making a break into the limelight. Back in 2013, he was overshadowed by Joey Bada$$ and Big K.R.I.T. on the spectacular single "Underground Airplay," and he had an awfully quiet 2015, but times have changed: He Has Risen shows him combining the smooth delivery and appreciation for weed exhibited by his pal Curren$y with the gruffness and mafioso undertones of Ka with exemplary balance. DZA's clearly hungry for proper recognition, exhibiting a straight half-hour of prime material over lush and predictably excellent beats from Harry Fraud (interrupted only briefly by an intensely chill verse from Snoop).
DZA doesn't offer up much special on the lyrical front. He's never been one for intricate wordplay, and lines like "Master Splinter he a well known rat" are, without question, bullshit, but nobody should be listening to DZA's work for Kendrick-level bars. He knows his lane — to create perfect music to blaze to, preferable outside in the summer — and he knocks that right out of the park. There are plenty of organized crime namedrops — Michael Corleone, Henry Hill, Al Capone, El Chapo — and juvenile references to marijuana throughout ("I ain't always home but guaranteed I'm always stoned").
It all works perfectly, and proves exactly why DZA and Spitta need to hop in the studio to record a full project together over Fraud's ornate beats. This tape's a keeper. (SRFSCHL)