When Snoop Dogg challenged Rhythm + Flow contestant (and eventual champion) D Smoke during the show’s first episode, the moment elicited chuckles from many of the live audience members, but may have confused viewers at home. At the conclusion of the three main judges’ comments about Smoke’s performance, Snoop coolly asked, “Where you from, homie?” When Smoke responded simply, “Inglewood,” Snoop repeated the question, weighting the words. Smoke’s response, though, remained unchanged and after a terse moment, Snoop broke out in a sly grin, prompting cheers from the crowd.
But, as D Smoke tells Talib Kweli on this week’s episode of People’s Party With Talib Kweli, he believes that there was more behind the moment than even those-in-know realized, breaking it down on multiple levels “for the cameras.” As Kweli jokes, it’s a very “LA” moment that shows how the city’s natives communicate in a way almost no one else does.
“I think before I said I was from Inglewood, I think he already wanted to ask,” Smoke explains. “And I think that speaks to the energy and the authenticity behind what I presented in my art, in my performance. Snoop didn’t ask anybody else that, which means he was moved in a different way. In his world, he’s familiar with that energy coming from that place.” He expands by saying that he’s such a combination of influences, that it’s easy to mistake him for being one thing or another, rather than all of them.
He does, however, have one further theory for why Snoop may have singled him out. “I think it was a line — I didn’t mean to look at Snoop — I think I looked at him when I was like, ‘If you don’t like it, then fight me / You gon’ meet the heel of my Nikes.’” Of course, Snoop showed love and the moment eventually became part of D-Smoke’s greatest hits on his way to winning the competition. Since then, D Smoke has released two projects, Inglewood High and Black Habits. Check out the full People’s Party interview above and D-Smoke’s greatest moments from Rhythm + Flow below.
People’s Party is a weekly interview show hosted by Talib Kweli with big-name guests exploring hip-hop, culture, and politics. Subscribe via Apple, Spotify, or YouTube.