Smitty ft Chris Brown, Mario, & Jamie Foxx “Tell Me”
The road to rap stardom is paved with almosts, should haves and on second thoughts. Rapper/songwriter and J Records/Chameleon Entertainment signee Smitty (Varick D. Smith) seized all the opportunities presented to him since setting off on his road to rap stardom that traces back to Miami, where he was born and raised.
“I been writing forever,” says the 24 year old who started rapping when his age was a single digit and came into his own artistically in his teens. He had the smarts to enroll at Florida A&M University in 1997. However, his aspiration to become a full-fledged artist led him to switch coasts after only two and half years of school.
College wasn’t panning out for me so I went out to California to try to make this rap thing happen,” reveals the former Journalism major about his 2000 move to Los Angeles. A year or two of grinding out West to find a foothold in the rap industry led Smitty to the movie set of The Wash where Dr. Dre was busy acting. Sneaking on the set was relatively easy but getting into Dre’s ear for an impromptu audition proved to be an exercise in patience.
“We waited for him about 15, 16 hours, recalls Smitty. When we met him he was like Yeah it must be something cause y’all been out here all day.í I finally spit for him and two weeks later I was in the studio with him.”
The immediate result was Smitty penning songs for The Wash Soundtrack (Hollywood) as well as ghost writing verses for Dre’s now shelved Detox album. An offer to sign with Aftermath Records was extended but never came to fruition. “Everything was going smooth but it just didn’t pan out the way I wanted it, recalls Smitty. By the time we got around to something definite I had moved on to something else.”
That something else was connecting with Sean P. Diddy Combs, which resulted in penning an assortment of songs for P. Diddy including the smashes Shake Ya Tailfeather (w/ Nelly & Murphy Lee) and B2K’s Bump, Bump, Bump. Again, a record deal offer was forthcoming but Smitty played it cool, only heightening his rep.
His songwriting success is only part of the ingredients that have led to Smitty’s deafening buzz. Before meeting Dre he rapped for and became personal friends with veteran Hip-Hop legend Scarface. Then while dealing with Puff, Roc-A-Fella Records showed interest after his lyrical barbs impressed Jay-Z who became acquainted with Smitty since he was a member of Face Mob (Malice, Big Gee and Scarface with Jazzy Pha on production).
Now a solo artist, his Life of a Troubled Child debut album is sure to be only the beginning of a stellar career. Diamonds on My Neck has proven to be a bonafide club banger and was proclaimed the anthem for 2005’s Memorial Day Weekend by Miami DJ Irie from the Heat and WEDR-FM. Ghetto is a horn driven heater that features his buddy Scarface and Kanye West along with John Legend’s soulful crooning. Top shelf producers that include Timbaland, David Banner, Swizz Beatz, Kanye West and Manny fresh have been recruited to administer the forthcoming album’s production and properly match Smitty’s poignant lyricism.
Coming up in Miami, besides listening to local staples like 2 Live Crew and Jam Pony Express or his Southern icons like Geto Boyz and 8-Ball & MJG, Smitty consumed a steady diet of East Coast flavored rap music, which in turn influenced his own style. A lot of people say Iím like Biggie mixed with Scarface and I have lot of lyrical content, explains Smitty.
But there’s no denying Smittyís southern roots. A lot of Down South music is about the feel; grimy dirty music, says Smitty, before describing his own work. You’re going to hear lyrics, you’re going to hear melody, you going to hear samples, you going to hear passion in my music. The griminess I do have in me is from where I’m from. It’s Dirty South. Then I went out to LA and they just sprinkled me with their flavor. It’s a great combination, how could you lose?!.’
Smitty On MySpace