Rap / Hip-Hop

Project Prince

Artist: DJ Mista Smoke

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Bronx native DJ Mista Smoke and his hip-hop group MPC have been working tirelessly to get his music published.  Graduate of the “School of Hard Knocks” as well as South Carolina State University, Mista Smoke has used his Masters Degree in Public Administration to his advantage, using what he has learned on the streets and in school to get his music circulated.  Frustrated by the workings of the music industry, DJ Mista Smoke decided to take matters into his own hands, selling over 300,000 CDs independently via hand-to-hand distribution on the subways of New York City.

            Project Prince is a 12-track showcase of DJ Mista Smoke’s music.  When I first received this album, I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for.  The promotion company, Magnetic Entertainment Inc. totes Project Prince as an album that keeps with the tradition of Magnetic Entertainment, avoiding the degradation of women and senseless violence.  And yet, the full name of DJ Mista Smoke’s group is Most Popular Criminals.  According to the group itself, this name actually stands for the way the group operates as “an organized movement, fighting for freedom.”  Okay, some conflicting messages there, but then I checked out some of the tracks: Crimes Father, Dream of Death, BANG…hmmm.  Is this CD going to contain regular rap and hip-hop music or hardcore gangsta rap?

            Popping this CD into the player, I noted the intro to the first track in which the singer expresses his wish to be an inspiration to his listeners.  Well, DJ Mista Smoke’s energy and dedication to his music are certainly an inspiration to all musicians out there.  If this man can sell over 300,000 CDs to the public without the benefit of radio play, an agent or a record producer, imagine what can be done by others with determination, ingenuity and a great deal of hard work.

            The music found on Project Prince is rather interesting.  A bit raw on the first track, the music seems to get better as the CD plays on.  In no time I found my head rocking to the beats of each track.  Mista Smoke’s vocals are reminiscent of DMX, but his style is different.  When he raps about pushing his product, he isn’t talking about drugs, he’s talking about his music. 

            Despite the claims of Magnetic Entertainment Inc. there is talk of violence on the CD, but it’s not the extreme shoot ‘em up violence found in gangsta rap.  There are references to drugs, but they are not focused upon.  One must remember that Mista Smoke often writes songs about life experiences and in just about everyone’s life nowadays, at one time or another, folks come in contact with illegal drugs.  It’s what they do in those instances that really matter.  Mista Smoke is not promoting drug use, but mentioning it in passing reminds the listener that he has been around the block once or twice and has seen quite a few things in his lifetime.

            My favorite tracks on Project Prince are Fire and DANCE x 4.  Fire is half reggae and half rap, a mix I have always found quite enjoyable.  Dance x 4 actually cracked me up the first time I heard it.  In DANCE x 4, Mista Smoke is contemplating a booty call with a hot woman, despite the fact that he has just recently gotten married.  The story of the song wasn’t what caused me to laugh, it was the lyrics and his description of the woman who was causing him so much drama.

            In closing, although there are times when Mista Smoke sounds a bit raw on this album, Project Prince contains some truly enjoyable tracks.  Some of the lyrics will definitely stick in your head and the music is mixed very well.  For someone without a producer or any major radio play, Mista Smoke and MPC have built themselves quite a following and Project Prince is an indication of the reason behind that.  I think it’s fair to say that DJ Mista Smoke is a rapper with quite a future in the music industry.


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