Today Habari’s Trizzy interviews Arizona artist and podcaster, Dave Miranda!
Peace brother, Lets start with your childhood interests and activities.
Sure. I was into baseball and played little league. I also loved Saturday morning cartoons. I used to watch he man. I loved drawing as a youth too as well as collecting comics and trading cards. I’m a fun co pop collector now lol.
When did music get on your radar?
I’d say the late 80’s with guys like Run DMC. Around 1989 with Kid and Play and Rakim and guys from that era. We had diversity in rap with dancing then we had stuff like Public Enemy and NWA. I really liked too short too actually. My uncle Mario was a musician and played bass guitar at my grandmas house when he was like 19. He was in a band and I came in the room while he was rehearsing to tell him dinner was ready and he had me sit down at 4 or 5 years old to watch him.
My uncle studied prince for his guitar training and he introduced me to Prince. Till this day I love Prince music. He’s my favorite artist. He wasn’t afraid to be himself. My house was an eclectic music house. From soul with Anita Baker, Gladys Knight to classic rock with Eric Clapton and Billy Joel and that helped me with my own musical journey.
One of my first experiences in the studio was in north Phoenix with a 4 track tape in 1997. We flipped The Luniz I got 5 on it. we ripped the cd to cassette and recorded on that. I freestyled a lot in high school at parties. We used to battle and I would freestyle off the top too.
I went to south mountain community college at about 19 years old and my buddy James was the music guy cuz he had all the ripped albums and would sell em.
I worked there too and we would just kick it with the music. I freestyled and he was like you gotta do music. He said his man verbal does music. Said he sounds like Tupac. That made me want to hear this dude so he took me over there and they played a song with the “I’ll be around” sample that Tupac used and the dude sounded just like Tupac to the point it was surreal. They took me to another studio with the dude named Pig and they told him that I could rap. He asked me if I had anything I wanna spit right now. I happened to have a couple memorized verses so they put me in the booth and I knocked it out for a first timer cuz I was nervous being in a real nice studio. After that I was in love with it. Terrance, a guy I worked with at Cingular wireless was managing a group and he had an engineer that would take care of me. Night Breed was his name. He gave me his number cuz this is just before myspace got big so there was really no social media. I called him and went to his studio and found out Cut Throat Logic recorded there as well. I was recording mix tapes there and I see this dude Novelty hearing my music while I’m recording. He was impressed. RIP Night Breed. He passed away last year.
Night Breed gave me a chance and I’ll always respect that. My rap name at the time was D Smooth but someone else had the name so I changed it to Smooth. We had a run from 2005 to 2009. My first album was called Melodic in 2006. It was engineered by Jimmy Nelson who also works on my current show, Give me 5.I also did an album with Trelmatic who I met through Myspace. I performed at his album release party at bash on ash. A dude told me I was nice after my performance and that I should check out his man who has beats. It was Trelmatic. I checked out his beats on Myspace and he had 2 beats, one called fire. I was a Little Brother fan and the production reminded me of 9th Wonder style. I hit em up and told him i love what he’s doin and we can knock out some joints. I recorded Letter to Hip Hop. It had a similar concept as common Used to love her. It was buzzing on Myspace so I was like maybe we got something here. Then we released Someday with a Donny Hathaway sample. Letter to hip hip was a story telling song on my come up in hip hop and how I fell in love with music.
We did a whole project that became Melodic. We went on tour in 2006. Novelty and MG the visionary who was down with Pigeon Jon and them all joined in. He (Novelty) had great stage presence and I learned a lot from him. I took my sampler with me with 6 joints and I did 30 days on the road performing. I was 22 at that time. My boss at work was like yo man, just do it and you’ll have a job when you come back. He had my back. That was love. My man Thomas Jackson lol. We started in Kansas City and went up to Detroit and Ohio where I met Theory has it who is an emcee producer outta Cincinnati. I stayed at his crib so I was a lil homie just hangin out with these guys and learning. You gotta be good to impress cats in Detroit lol. They will give you the cold shoulder if you dont come correct lol. I never really drank before a show outside of maybe one shot for nerves but the fellas took me on a tour of Detroit and we went straight to the liquor store and got a pack of Milwaukees best lol. We got faded and rolled over to Mo Town and checked out where Diana Ross and everybody recorded at. I saw where 8 mile was filmed at etc.
I was faded and having a great time and I performed with no worries. If I flopped I flopped was my attitude. This is where Slum Village and Fat Kat and Dwele etc got started. The Ozen lounge which used to be called something else before changing its name to Ozen lounge. Baatin from Slum Village was there. At this time, his schizophrenia was very noticeable when he spoke to people and Dilla had just died about 4 months prior. I gave him daps and respect. Baatin came walking up towards me later as I performed and I felt like he wanted to rip my head off or like he wanted to battle or something lol. He nodded his head after I performed and his friend had to tell me afterwards that Baatin was feeling the show the whole time even though he looked angry based on his condition mentally etc. He had a menacing look but he was feelin it though. That made my day and I said long live J Dilla into the mic and the crowd went crazy!
I rocked Letter to Hip Hop and everybody loved it and was feeling it. Detroit was the highlight of that trip. I dropped the album after that then went to perform in Milwaukee where the Alkaholics had performed that weekend. I started working on other projects with Speek Greene and Novelty and Mega Ran who was called Random at the time. I met him around 2006. Rob Empress too. We formed a squad. We made a mixtape called The Wonderful World of Mister Miranda which was my transition from Smooth to Minster Miranda because Smooth was already used a lot. The mix tape introduced the new alias.
We had Jaz O come through for the album release party as well as Kev Brown and Fresh Daily too. Blogs were mentioning my mix tape at this point. I started meeting Kevin Nottingham and a few other bloggers through my man Speek. In 2009 jimmy and I started working on a album called Lets get on with the music which is inspired by Eddie and the Cruisers. A band from new jersey around 1984 or something. The soundtrack was amazing too but in the movie Eddie always said lets get on with the music and i liked it so we used that phrase.
The night of that release party everyone went to waffle house and I told Jaz if you wanna ride with me you can. He was like I’m not feelin waffle house. I said you wanna do Ihop or Dennys. This was 3am. He told us how he went on tour in 1989 with Jody Watley all they did was eat waffle house so he said he’d never eat it again lol. We went to Ihop and Jaz O was telling us stories. These stories ended up in the book, Decoded by Jay Z. Like Jay Z rapping to apple jacks cereal and the book wasn’t even out yet so when the book came out 2 years later I was like yo I heard these stories from Jaz O lol surreal.
He said, you got skills, we should do a record. I was surprised. He gave me his number and said send me some joints. I was like absolutely. Jimmy and I started working on a album and we had a beat we sent to Jaz O and he bodied it! I sent it to Mad Rich to get some cuts on it for the hook. The record came out crazy. We had Arizona beats forum back then and when I dropped the song there, it got a buzz and a Tokyo company called River City Records actually picked up the album so we had a Japanese record deal. They had The Brand new Heavies and Lisa Stansfield on that label too.
We had a buzz in Japan and the album was in tower records and everything. We dropped the J&D experience and that did well too. 2 or 3 years later I went on tour in japan with Mega Ran and met the label owner, Volta Masters. We hung out at his crib. We went to tower records and I saw my project on the rack which was a great experience. We toured in London as well. I released a few more projects but these were my highlights. Success is what you make it out to be and this was definitely a success for me being able to do my craft and tour and do south by southwest and everything.
I always give props to my indie artists and it’s ironic that you love Prince because he shares that independent mind set.
I met an artist one time who was just starting out his career and I asked him are you local? he said I’m tryin to be local. That put everything into perspective that I need to respect my accomplishments because people are striving to do what I’ve done.
how did you segway into the new podcast?
Well, I mentioned Jimmy Nelson earlier. I always wanted to get into film and my mom and everyone told me I would be good. In 2019 I said maybe I’ll do a documentary on the Arizona Hip Hop scene. Jimmy had only been doin film for 2 or 3 years at that time. I reach out to him and said maybe it would be dope to do a documentary. He was like yeah that would be dope. The last album I had dropped was in like 2018 and I was burnt out on that so I wanted to get creative in other ways so I dont get depressed not having any outlets. I began to procrastinate and kept pushing it back again and again. Next thing you know its 2020 and the pandemic hits. At that point I started watching IG live interviews with Fat man Scoop for example. He was interviewing legends and it confirmed for me that I wanna do something like that because I love Hip Hop history etc.
I would study up on running my own show and said were gonna do this now. I hit up Jimmy and I said our format is 5 questions for each person we interview. good questions though. When I was thinking of a show name I said wait how about Just Give Me Five and it made perfect sense so I ran it by the guys and they liked it. Being born and raised here (Phx, AZ), I know who to interview and together with Jimmy’s camera work, we got something awesome. December 9th or 10th 2020 I said lets do a promo trailer and get interest and se how people are feeling. We shot the trailer and released it and people were like yo it looks awesome and fans were like happy to hear from me again and see me back working.
I got Mega Ran for the first show to set it off. I take notes from the show to see how I can improve and now we are consistent with the shows and we have great chemistry and we’re on episode 21 now. We film every weekend and we release every Sunday 8am Arizona time 11am Eastern. My man Hexigon is also involved. He’s a jack of all trades and he did the design for the logo. He’s also a music producer so I had him work on some sounds for the show.
I wanted a feel similar to a show on Vice videos where its real documentary style. It’s been a lot of fun doing the show especially during this pandemic time. It’s our version of unsung where we pay respect to veteran Arizona artists because we aren’t on peoples radar like that but we have so much talent on the scene from painters to musicians to singers to rappers to DJs etc.
We like to capture the unheard stories of how all these artists started out on their journey. Now we have artists that want to get on the show. We even had Masta Ace hit us up to be on the show. This is all from social media. We are gonna do some spotlights on artists outside of AZ too so we cover not only AZ but nationwide unsung stories.
I wish you much success and I look forward to seeing more of your show. Let the people know where they can reach you guys online to check you out.