Less than a week after releasing his album Dream.ZONE.Achieve, Smoke DZA returns with the sequel to his 2013 joint EP with production team 183rd. Ringside 2 coincides with WWE's "Wrestlemania XXX" event, and features guest contributions by A$AP Twelvy (uncredited on "The Game"), A$ton Matthews, Flatbush Zombies and Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenburg, who introduces the EP on its first track. Stream and download Ringside 2 above.
After Rosenburg sets the lavish scene and references his new profile in The New Yorker, "Trust Me" kicks the EP off, with Smoke DZA introducing himself before launching into the first of many vicious verses (side note: I wish I could pull off "Kush god, bitch" as a passable introduction to myself). Name-dropping Aleister Crowley and the DDT wrestling move, DZA moves briskly through dense lyrical territory before giving way to a sample of an unknown wrestler giving one of those hyperbolic speeches wrestlers have been known to give. It's one of several wrestling-related soundbites on Ringside 2, including ones from Big E and hip hop favorite Ric Flair.
Highlights from Ringside 2 include "The Game," on which A$AP Twelvy makes his case to be the next member of A$AP Mob to blow up, and the Flatbush Zombies-assisted "Believe in the Shield," which features the heaviest guitar sample we've heard on a hip hop track in a long time. The wrestling concept is cool, especially because Smoke DZA does a good job of maintaining it throughout the EP, and 183rd's production is varied enough to keep things interesting amid all the samples of wrestlers speaking. Less than 20 minutes long, Ringside 2's a nice, loose change-up from the 21 song sprawl of Dream.ZONE.Achieve.