Held off on posting this until there was more reliable confirmation than social media, but Tim Smooth has passed away after a two-plus-year battle with cancer.
Smooth was an early innovator of hip hop in New Orleans, first releasing a 12” “I Gotsta Have It” on Dallas’s YO! Records (also home to Mannie Fresh and Gregory D), and ghost writing for Big Boy as Playboy Sha-Burnke, before moving over to Rap-A-Lot for his debut, Straight Up Drivin’ Em in 1994. In 1998, he followed up his debut with the excellent, Da Franchise Player on the incredibly underrated West Bank imprint, Mobo Records.
Over the ensuing decade, Smooth’s output was sporadic — an LP on Camped Out Records in 1999, and The Invisable Man in 2004. After his diagnosis in 2009, a fund was set up to help defray Smooth’s growing medical expenses, in addition to a couple of benefit shows.
Recently, Smooth was able to make a rare appearance on the mic with his protege, Mystikal, during a House of Blues show last year, marking his final (public) performance.
R.I.P. to a southern rap icon.
Tim Smooth “I Gotsta Have It”