Vanessa Carlton’s 2001 pop hit “A Thousand Miles” is a beloved piece of the early ’00s mom-music canon. Twenty years later, a motley crew of Florida rappers provided the most refreshing twist on the song out of the several rappers who have sampled it, including big names like T.I. and Cam’ron.
Spinabenz, Whoppa Wit Da Choppa, Yungeen Ace and FastMoney Goon, all of whom hail from the Sunshine State, flipped the song’s backing track into a bombastic rap beat, with pulsing trap drums and outrageously violent lyrics. The allure of the song is multiplied tenfold when it is coupled with the magnetic music video, which depicts the rappers, clad in polo shirts and khakis, partying as they drive around a golf course. The song’s implausible premise, coupled with the gleeful absurdity of the video, propelled it to 8.6 million YouTube views within 11 days of its release. While it has not been released on streaming platforms yet, presumably because of the difficulty of clearing a sample with as high a profile as “A Thousand Miles,” its increasing success is signaling that a streaming debut may be inevitable.
Another aspect of the song’s improbable success is its subject matter. “Who I Smoke” is a diss track through and through, and if you have an issue with rappers insulting their enemies, I would recommend sitting this one out. The rappers call out their opps by name and describe “smoking” them (rolling up their ashes in a blunt and smoking it), the ultimate show of disrespect to the deceased.
The names the rappers mention (most notably Bibby, Teki and Lil Nine), were all Jacksonville rappers and gang members who had been shot and killed. The song is borderline incriminating, as the four rappers featured on the song all but admit their involvement in the murders. Despite the fact that “Who I Smoke” will probably be used in court at some point, the song has all the trimmings of a potential crossover viral hit. If it continues to stream at its current torrid pace, “Who I Smoke” has the potential to become a launchpad for the artists’ careers and a party banger once large gatherings are permissible.
Daily Arts Writer Ryan Brace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.