Brooklyn's up-and-coming star, Smoove'L is officially off the market. After building a large following in 2019, Complex confirms that the New York rapper has signed a joint record deal with Run Music LLC/Interscope Records.
"I feel great about [signing with Interscope]," Smoove'L says. "It wasn't surprising because I been seen it [coming]. This has been my game since I was young. I worked for it."
To commemorate the new chapter, he's releasing a music video for his single "Palm Angels" today, which the rapper describes as "just a good time."
Prior to the announcement, the 20-year-old star emerged last year as one of the standout voices of Brooklyn’s drill scene. His SoundCloud page racked up millions of streams after tracks like "New Apollos" and "Big Mad" became street anthems. While Smoove caught the attention of his hometown fans by rapping over signature drill beats, he tells us that he isn’t just a drill rapper. His music also incorporates melodic flows with raw raps about his experiences in the streets and in life.
"I'm not a drill rapper," he says. "I would never want to be labeled that. I'm an artist. Before I jumped on a drill beat, I made other songs, other types of songs. I just started trying to get to what my city wanted. Then I brought my own style to it."
With Interscope backing his next moves, Smoove'L says he is "coming different for 2020." He'll be showing more of his versatility on wax and, of course, representing Brooklyn all the way.
Complex spoke to Smoove'L about his new deal with Interscope, the drill scene, and where he would like to take his career next. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below, along with the premiere of his new "Palm Angels" music video.
How does it feel to have signed with Interscope?
I feel great about [signing with Interscope]. It wasn't surprising because I been seen it [coming]. This has been my game since I was young. I worked for it. So, it's not surprising, but I feel great about it.
Your name has been buzzing for a little while now, so I’m sure you had other offers or looks. What made you want to sign with Interscope?
Most definitely. I had other people looking at me and things like that. I really was checking out the environment of everything. It was what I'm most comfortable with and what's giving me the best option to be able to go with. At Interscope, they backed up their talk. All the other labels, they was cool too. It's just, I was checking the roster also. Interscope has a lot of breakout artists. It seems like they break a lot of artists, and they have a lot of great artists on their roster.
I'm coming very different for 2020. A new sound and style. I don't want people to only expect drill songs, because I would never have the same flow.
Can you talk a little bit about your new single "Palm Angels" and the creation of the accompanying music video?
Palm Angels is a designer brand. That's just what all the people wear, where I'm from. I try to relate to the people the most I can. It's basically just my scene, just me having fun, making people smile, and things like that. It's just random acts inside the video.
Is there anything, in particular, that you want your fans to take away from it?
It's just a good time.
Is "Palm Angels" a sort of preview of what’s to come in the future?
Yes, it definitely is setting the stage. What's next is not similar. What's next is hot, too. What I come up with is not the same trend every time. I just try to make something different with all the videos.
You came out at Yams Day last weekend. What did it feel like to receive that type of reaction from that crowd?
I lived up to expectations. What I've been hearing is that people have heard my songs in the clubs, and things like that. I haven't been to clubs. So, I just kept wondering, is it true? When I came out, they showed love. That's my city. It was a great experience, and it was my first show ever. When I got off the stage, and then I looked back at it, I didn't know it was that crazy. It feels different, because there's already lights everywhere, so you weren't really noticing, but it was great. Everybody knew the song.
The Brooklyn drill scene is blowing up right now, and you are one of the artists at the forefront of that movement. What makes you stand out from the rest?
What makes me different is my melodizing and rawness. I put those together. Melodizing is for the girls. The guys like it, but the raw rapping is for the guys. There's a lot of punchlines. I try to make some strong punchlines and actually make everything add up and relate to what people are going through. Even if it's ghetto fashion or any type of fashion, I just try to relate to people. Then, it's just where I'm from: Brooklyn, New York, the Mecca of hip-hop.
I'm very versatile. I just do [drill] for my city, just to catch their attention and grab the fan base.
What are your thoughts on artists like Travis Scott and Drake jumping on the drill movement?
I feel like it's not for anybody to get on it, but if you know what you're doing, then it's different. If I had a Drake feature or anything, I will release it, of course, because it's Drake. I definitely would try to make sure he's at the best he's going to be. I wouldn't let him just throw anything up there, because it's not for everybody, to be honest. It's a certain type of style that you got to bring to it. Then, it's about raw rapping. So, I feel like anybody shouldn't be on a beat, but you should make sure, if somebody do get on a beat that's not really with the New York sound, you just make sure they try to be at their best on the beat.
As drill is getting bigger, there's been a larger focus artists beefing. Do you worry about that element being a distraction from the music? Or do you think the idea of beefing makes everything more exciting?
I really can't say it helps, because I've never been in that predicament. I've never dissed nobody on a song or anything. That's why I'm so unique, because I brought my own style. I don't need to diss nobody to get where I want to be. I brought a mainstream sound to the beat. I really don't care for drill. I'm very versatile. I just do that for my city, just to catch their attention and grab the fan base. I'm not a drill rapper. I would never want to be labeled that. I'm an artist. Before I jumped on a drill beat, I made other songs, other types of songs. I just started trying to get to what my city wanted. Then I brought my own style to it. But I'm really not a drill rapper. So I really wouldn't care for what people do with the beat. Of course, I would speak for it, because I do the beats, but I really don't care for it. If a good beat come through, and I like it, I can get on it, but not because I'm just a drill rapper and everybody else doing it.
What’s one thing you want people to know about you at this point?
What I want people to know about me, is I'm coming very different for 2020. A new sound and style. I'm New York all the way, but I'm Brooklyn. What I want people to know about me, is that I'm very versatile. I don't want people to only expect drill songs, because I would never have the same flow. You earn more respect. You got to know how to switch it up.
What do you hope to accomplish this year? Do you have any specific goals?
A top Billboard hit. I want a number one Billboard hit. To shoot for the stars and beat my expectations. That's all. And just work hard.