Lookin’ Back: Smilez & Southstar – “Tell Me”

Our Lookin’ Back section may be a bit sparse, with posts few and far between, but that does’t mean it’s still interesting to take a look at years past and the artists that filled the airwaves once upon a time.

Smilez & Southstar may be one of those Hip-Hop acts that would make you say “Oh yea, name sounds familiar, who was that again”? And I can’t blame you. They had one major label album, Crash the Party, and despite a trio of singles, only one of them really gained any traction – “Tell Me”. This may have been nearly a decade ago, but the song holds up OK for a light, radio-friendly track. I recall seeing the music video come on while I was at my college gym and wondering “wait, is that one dude Asian”? Turns out he is, but I have no idea what Southstar is up to now.

The two artists may be well out of the limelight now, but let’s not forget that Southstar is an Asian-American that dropped a Hip-Hop single on a major label; before even the far more famous Jin.

3 thoughts on “Lookin’ Back: Smilez & Southstar – “Tell Me”

  1. It’s true Smilez & Southstar’s album came out before Jin’s, but only because of a label delay.

    Jin was on “Freestyle Friday” on BET back in 2001… which predates Smilez & Southstar’s album in 2003. His album was finished and ready for release in early 2003, but yes, it didn’t get released until Oct 2004. Smilez & Southstar dropped their album in March 2003.

    Funny enough, it worked out well for Jin… at least he’s still rapping / making quality music. Smilez & Southstar have a (ha) Myspace music page with the last song from Southstar being from 2009 here:


  2. Yea, it’s why I was careful with my wording and said they dropped a Hip-Hop single before Jin. Music politics can be a B.

    And in no way was I suggesting that S&S have had comparable careers to Jin, just giving a point of reference to the chronology of events. Although, I’d argue that Jin’s major label career here in the states wasn’t too tremendously more successful than S&S. He didn’t exactly light the charts on fire either. Instead, he smartly parlayed his career oversees and made a return in the domestic indie circuit now that there is a bigger community to support him.

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