Pete Rock and Smoke DZA are "Limitless" on First Single From Collabo LP (ft. Dave East)
Pete Rock and Smoke DZA are "Limitless" on First Single From Collabo LP (ft. Dave East)

Don't Smoke Rock, Pt. I: Smoke DZA + Pete Rock Share 'Survivor Series' Predictions, Talk New Album + More


There is a fascinating harmony between professional wrestling and hip-hop music. Many wrestlers love hip-hop music, while many hip-hop artists love professional wrestling. One artist in particular is New York-based rapper, Smoke DZA, who incorporates wrestling references into his lyrics and projects. With this Sunday's WWE Survivor Series event coming soon, we spoke with DZA about his affinity for pro-wrestling, got his predictions for the pay-per-view and discussed favorite wrestling stars from the '80s with Pete Rock, who is DZA's partner-in-rhyme on the upcoming album, Don't Smoke Rock.

You can catch the Survivor Series this Sunday, November 20, exclusively on the WWE NetworkDon't Smoke Rock, Smoke DZA and Pete Rock's new album, drops December 2nd on Babygrande Records and features appearances by Royce Da 5'9"Rick RossWaleCam'Ron and others. Enjoy!


Okayplayer: DZA, I hear that you're a big wrestling fan, so I wanted to ask you a little bit about Survivor Series. What match are you most excited for?

Smoke DZA: I'm excited about the traditional five-on-five matches, but I'm more excited about the Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg rematch from like 10-years ago that they're gonna do now.

OKP: Who do you think is going to win that match?

SD: Well, if it's a one-time thing then me just being a mark, I don't think there will be a winner. It will probably end on some DQ [disqualification] shit. I don't see them letting Goldberg go over, but I also don't see them letting Brock Lesnar go over just because they're both special attractions. So, it'll probably have to end on some double cross.

OKP: Do you think that [Paul] Heyman will turn?

SD: I don't think Heyman is gonna turn.

OKP: Who do you think will win between Team Raw and Team Smackdown?

SD: I think Team Raw is gonna win. I mean I like Team Raw a little better even though my favorite wrestler currently is A.J. Styles. I just don't think his team has enough to beat Team Raw.

OKP: Right, absolutely. I am a big A.J. fan, too. What about the tag team match which is another bout between Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown?

SD: That's just a lot. That's a lot going on, y'know? You got a 20-man tag team match and they are going to have to reinforce the ring for that. So, I don't know... I'd probably say Team Smackdown 'cause I like Smackdown's tag team division is better than Raw's even though Big E is my homie. But you know, I think I am gonna take Team Smackdown.

OKP: What about the women's match?

SD: I'm gonna go with Team Raw because of Charlotte and Sasha [Banks] being on the same team. If they can get along they'll probably win.

OKP: And Charlotte is undefeated on pay-per-views...

SD: Yup, yup, so I think that Team Raw is gonna take that one, too.

OKP: What do you think about the Cruiserweight match with Kalisto versus Kendrick?


SD: I think [that] Kalisto is gonna take the Cruiserweight championship over to Tuesday nights [at Smackdown]. I read something about them taking the Cruiserweight off [Monday Night] Raw. And them getting their own show on Tuesdays. So, I think Kalisto might take that and I think Sami Zayn will take the Intercontinental belt from [Dolph] Ziggler [Ed. note: Ziggler was the IC champ, but as of 11/15, The Miz is now the champion]. So, there will be a title swap—the Cruiserweight title on Smackdown and the IC title on Raw.

OKP: It'll be cool because when Kalisto went over to Smackdown everyone was wondering why he wasn't on the Cruiserweight scene. Now, it will kind of bring that [energy] full circle.

SD: Exactly.

OKP: In one of the songs on Don't Smoke Rock, a track called "Limitless," you reference Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. Was he a favorite wrestler of yours growing up?

SD: I mean Greg "The Hammer" Valentine was always a good wrestler, but I think it just fit the bar at the time. I can't even remember the bar, but I remember saying, "Greg Valentine," but I don't remember...

Pete Rock: "Hammer Play... Greg Valentine, I'm shining. I earned it."

SD: [Laughs] Yeah, PR! "Hammer Play," yeah. That was where it went off, so you know, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine... I'm like "Hammer Play" Greg Valentine, y'know?! That was just the metaphor for that. Hammer is another reference for a firearm, so that was where that came in. It's a metaphor, a double entendre, where I could tie-in wrestling.

OKP: What was your favorite Survivor Series match of all time?

SD: My favorite Survivor Series match was probably Survivor Series '88. It was The Megabucks versus The Megapowers. That's probably my favorite Survivor Series[Hulk] Hogan versus Andre The Giant. Hogan versus Macho [Man Randy Savage] versus Andre and Ted [Dibiase] with their [respective] squads.

OKP: How do wrestling and hip-hop connect for you?

SD: You know rap is more real than wrestling because it's not scripted. Rap has this thing with it where you know there's characters and people buy into these characters. It's easy for me to turn into the Kush God, speak in third person and do all that type of theatrical wrestling shit because I'm just a student of professional wrestling, so I know how to work it into my spiel. I think it goes hand-in-hand just because of entertainment purposes. We're both trying to entertain. You got some wrestlers where their gimmick is being real, so I guess that is probably what I would be in wrestling.

OKP: Do you have a dream match that you would want to see?

SD: I mean the only dream match at this point would be probably Sting versus The Undertaker because that's like the most realistic one that could happen. We probably won't see Hulk Hogan versus John Cena or Hogan versus [Steve] Austin, so I'll take Sting vs. Taker. That would be a dream match [that] I would wanna see that's realistic.

OKP: What about a dream opponent that you would want to wrestle?

SD: I wouldn't want to wrestle nobody. What I would do is a run-in or something [like that]. I'm down for that but I ain't about nobody picking me up in the air and throwing me around like I'm some fucking toy. I'm definitely not about that wrestling life.

OKP: Who's your favorite wrestler of all time?


SD: Hulk Hogan. Still after all the bullshit and all that... He fucked up, but you know. It happens. Pete Rock is into comics [and] I'm into wrestling. Hulk Hogan was like my Superman or my Batman, you know what I mean? Like that was what he was for me.

OKP: Pete, are you a wrestling fan, too, like DZA?

PR: I used to be back in the early days. My mom was a Bob Backlund fan and when she was all into him, I was into Tony Atlas and then it was Junkyard Dog. I was into Andre The Giant, all those guys, but I'm more into boxing than wrestling. And, you know, football and basketball.

OKP: Who would win in a match between The New Day and Black Panther?

SD: [Laughs]

PR: Who?

SD: New Day is a tag team in wrestling.

PR: Black Panther is winning that one hand's down.

SD: I'm gonna be the devil's advocate here and go with The New Man, man, because of Big E.

PR: [Laughs] They'll never survive. You've all seen Captain America: Civil War...? Black Panther is no joke.

OKP: What is your dream wrestler versus comic book hero match?

SD: It is who me and Pete are... it's Hulk Hogan versus The Incredible Hulk. That is our tag team, too.

Layne Weiss is a Los Angeles-based author whose work has appeared in a number of publications including LA Weekly, Paper Mag, Wax Poetics and Mass Appeal. You can follow her (and us!) latest and greatest on Twitter @lawflylikepaper.