Florida-based music and fashion collective SmokePhiSounds and SmokePhiApparel are as futuristic minded in longevity as they are solid in their music creation and curation. They have utilized all of their tools and ambitions to create a pathway for themselves and their kinfolk in their area, and even beyond. I sat down with them this April and got a chance to review their great assets together as a whole, interviewing Jalen Johnson, SmokePhi Beej and B Sig of the collective.
One of the biggest ways we can honor ourselves and those who paved the way for our freedoms and privileges of today is to maximize the capabilities of every tool we have at our disposal. It’s a well-known fact that the average individual today has more ways than one to make money, and that musical artists are not strictly restrained to their musical sales for income. The SmokePhiSounds and SmokePhiApparel collective takes advantage of tools through clever synthesizing of their apparel website, Instagram page for the musical artists, and more.
The website of SmokePhiApparel’s was aesthetically pleasing, proving to be a potent arm of their overall collective. I checked out some of their apparel for myself.
The alternating logos of the iced out orange and lemon for the SmokePhiApparel’s brand are solid and appealing as they are comically bling’d up. Merchandise (or merch for short) is necessary for artists and their soon to come or already established fanbase, and the affordability of SmokePhiApparel’s merchandise are must-haves for the cooler than life brand. The Surf club long tee is my personal pick. The merchandise caters directly to the laid-back and eazy-breezy tropical Florida lifestyle, incorporating white and black versatility with the different apparel offers, properly placed in a way that shows keenness to the rules of fashion rather than simply be slapped on there like other merch designers erroneously do. The apparel even has crop top and hoodies for the gworls™️. The sweatpants option was refreshing to see, as many merch options I have come across for musicians and brands do not include those, surprisingly enough.
The collective’s great Instagram account serves further in displaying the eye-catching fashion of SmokePhiApparel.
Two of the owners of SmokePhiApparel individuals I interviewed are musicians, adept in their current musical creation process in terms of songwriting, rapping and putting out captivating projects/music videos in full.
Smokephi Beej of the group is marvelously in sync with the power of flow like Jedi in Star Wars are with The Force. Listening to his tracks one after another is like listening to a thread, with the tracks effortlessly flowing together cleanly to keep listeners locked in with his clever rhymes and attacks on the instrumentals. As exemplified on his project Beej Almighty, released in 2020, the South will forever have something to say and Beej’s great raps will make sure you’re happily tuned in to hear it.
B Sig is the other rapper of SmokePhiApparel/SmokePhiSounds that I was blessed to interview. B Sig’s VibeCoolTape, released in March 2021 was a solid, lyrical, melodic full-length project that showed all of what the rapper represented with a peep into his daily life in every category. VibeCoolTape’s sounds were very much diversified as compared to average local rappers in terms of sound and content, gifting experimental instrumentals and tracks outside of the norm. There’s even a remix of a song he did earlier in the tape that is bop-certified, and tailored for the Florida club-goers.
MV: “Describe to me basic information that the world should know about you as individuals and as a brand/collective. What do you all represent?”
Jalen: “Creative to create money. A Hustler and ambitious.”
Beej: “An entrepreneur, a go-getter.”
B Sig: “A thinker, a creative.”
Jalen would describe himself as a creative in all facets as the answer to this question. With being a creative, he can express himself how he wants to, even as a tool for providing for himself and his people. To that end, he describes himself an ambitious hustler who wants to surround himself with like minded individuals. Thus, SmokePhiSounds and SmokePhiApparel are a band of hustlers. Beej would describe himself as someone who gets it by any means but is in the business of making art and materials with his skills. Beej knows how to get people’s attention, as self-describing his versatile skills. Sig described the brand as one that is one of quality that offers the opportunity for people to express themselves.
MV: The music, production and unique sound is as solid as the brand. What inspires your music? Who are your musical influences?
Sig: “Outkast, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Kid Cudi.”
Beej: “The struggle, people that look like me that can relate to my situation.”
Jalen: “Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross.”
Beej would further describe his music as storytelling as well as his favorite type of music. He loves Future, Drake, Gucci but also appreciates and gets influences from MJ and Stevie Wonder.
MV: What inspired the creation of the clothing brand with the unique and eye-catching design of the fruits for SmokePhiApparel?
The answer to this question was given by Jalen, who described the idea of SmokePhiApparel coming from Florida culture in terms of fashion, the Black aesthetic and the citrus industry which has been very much booming in Florida for decades. Fruits coordinate well with color pallets and after seeing the connection, Jalen thought that SmokePhiApparel should occupy that lane.
MV: What are your visions for the future with SmokePhiSounds and SmokePhiApparel as a brand/collective beyond the already established platforms of music and merchandise?
Beej: “I wanna get to the point where I can solely live off music.”
B Sig: “We have urban streetwear but we have more to offer as a group.”
Jalen: “We want to expand our inventory.”
Beej described that he wants to increase streaming numbers and music sale numbers across the world, with people from everywhere bumping their music. B Sig wants the label to create opportunities for other people, especially other artists. Jalen talked about expanding their inventory so that they could become a full-blown fashion line as well as a musical powerhouse. All three members’ goals moved towards the collective of a long-lasting legacy for a self-sustaining entity that can do more for their people than what others could possibly imagine.
You can follow the individuals and collectives on their various social media pages and other internet pages:
Smoke Phi Apparel: @smokephiapparel on Instagram
Smoke Phi Sounds: @smokephisounds on Instagram
SmokePhi Beej: @beej_franklin on Instagram
Jalen Johnson: @tallylove850 on Instagram
B Sig: @_bsig on Instagram
Apparel Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SmokephiApparel