Kanye West has teamed up with Brooklyn rapper SAINt JHN to release the new 3-minute single “Smack DVD” overnight on Godd Complexx / HITCO Entertainment (L.A. Reid), the so-called missing Kanye record from SAINt JHN’s new album. This new single builds off the momentum that SAINt JHN has developed following the release of his very well-received third solo studio album in the new 13-track “While the World Was Burning” released last Friday which features Future, Lil Uzi Vert, DaBaby, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, JID (of J. Cole’s Dreamville imprint), 6LACK, Kehlani as well as Kanye West on the album track “Pray 4 Me”. SAINt JHN was also nominated for a Grammy Award earlier this week for Best Remixed Recording for his song “Roses (Imanbek Remix)”.
This new track pays homage to the influential Troy “Smack White” Mitchell of the ground-breaking S.M.A.C.K DVD street DVD series that ran from 2002 to 2008, which featured in-depth interviews with artists such as 50 Cent, Kanye, DMX, Big Meech, Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane plus many more and details about up-and-coming rappers’ lives prior to YouTube and World Star Hip Hop. Many of the S.M.A.C.K. DVD’s (an acronym for Street Music, Arts, Culture & Knowledge) founded with visionary business partner Eric Beasley famously featured a rap battle filmed on the street in acapella format, which differed significantly from the dominant Scribble Jam rap battles of the time and acted as the driving force to the development of MTV’s Monday Night Fight Klub, Grind Time and King of the Dot all forming. Watch the new visualizer to SAINt JHN and Kanye West’s “Smack DVD” single below.
This is not the first time Kanye West has paid homage to the legendary S.M.A.C.K. DVD series. On his eighth solo studio 7-track album released in June 2018 titled simply “Ye”, Kanye rapped the lyrics at the beginning of the lead single “Yikes” track “Yeezy, Yeezy trollin’ OD, huh? Turn TMZ to Smack DVD, huh? Russell Simmons wanna pray for me too”. The line was a clear reference to Kanye’s now-infamous interview with TMZ just weeks earlier in May 2018 – listen to Kanye’s “Yikes” below.
S.M.A.C.K. DVD rap battles also acted as the immediate precursor to the world’s premier rap battle platform, SMACK/URLTV.TV (The Ultimate Rap League), that has seen stars such as Murda Mook, Loaded Lux, Arsonal, Hitman Holla, Charlie Clips, Hollow Da Don, Tsu Surf, Conceited, Cassidy, Tay Roc, Goodz, T-Rex, Math Hoffa face-off against each other and many more over the last eleven years since launching in late October 2009 in New York. The URLTV.TV with SMACK has led to the popularisation of battle rap both internationally and commercially speaking, leading to shows such as MTV’s Wild ‘N Out, the now-defunct Drop The Mic w/ James Corden hosted by Method Man of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, and Netflix’s Rhythm + Flow with T.I., former SMACK/URTV.TV ring card girl turned superstar Cardi B and Chance The Rapper all becoming increasingly successful. Watch some of the classic SMACK DVD rap battles and interviews that created the energy and atmosphere so loved by Kanye and embraced by SAINt JHN.