Smoke DZA, a born and bred New York rapper from the streets of Harlem and independent spitter extraordinaire, has decided to capitalize on the current Wrestlemania fever by releasing the second installment of his Ringside EP series with Ringside 2.

The only immediate downside about this mixtape is the amount of skits and narrative portions on the relatively compact eight-track EP. While this does make the few songs where DZA actually drops bars that much more exciting and enticing, the narrative fluff that comes along in Ringside 2 is not ideal.

It does add a layer of comedic effect, however. On this EP, Smoke DZA mirrors the narratives of WWE bouts: a whole lot of smack talk makes up a long, drawn-out argument between the wrestlers in the ring, then they finally engage in a good ol’ wrestlin’ match. With this mixtape, Smoke DZA makes listeners anxious for when he punctuates these skits with his smooth, hypnotic bars.

The smooth, melodic voice of Smoke DZA is reminiscent of Curren$y, a frequent collaborator of DZA. Although DZA is often characterized as a weed rapper, his beat selection and lyrical content says otherwise.

The independent spitter has a unique variety within his tracks. From critiques of the police to boasts about the gritty streets of his youth to straight-up chill smoking songs, DZA provides listeners with an interesting mix of bass-heavy and guitar-backed tracks.

While there might not be too much to take out of this mixtape, what can be extracted from it is quite good. It’s always a relief to see an independent artist make waves in the hip-hop scene. Plus, anyone who can make a mixtape as an ode to WWE definitely deserves a special shoutout.

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