Jermaine Chambers–better known to his hood as “Lil Smurf”–jumped onto the scene seemingly overnight in 2004 with the immediate success of a song he wrote and recorded for the team he then played for: the Memphis tigers. After gaining notoriety by showcasing his song at a talent show at the University of Memphis, Lil Smurf decided he would take the plunge into the rap scene full force by releasing a series of mixtapes and solo albums.
Beginning with the 2004 releases of his breaking bread mixtape and solo freshman album titled knowledge; accompanied by appearances at such venues like the Plush Club and the New Daisy Club, Lil Smurf quickly gained a strong local following. Lil Smurf has graduated from mixtapes and is working on his sophomore album entitled “Magnum or Magnums.”
Sonic Eclectic: What inspired you to write the Tigers’ anthem?
Lil Smurf: It was me and a (former teammate) at football practice talking about what we can do to get our team motivated during the games. Our team (Memphis tigers) had a losing reputation and was known to the public as a bad football team. And very country, because they played a lot of oldies at the games and most of our players were urban players. During the games we would all look at each other like, “what the f*ck are they playing?” How are we supposed to be motivated by this? So my (teammate) called me over to his house studio in Carpenter Complex, where most of the football team stayed, and said a we have to give them some music. He had this song he was working on and I just need to rhyme hard on it. I was new to the rap game but I have a very creative mind so I said cool, I know what I like to listen to so I’ll do something in that sort. He gave me a CD with a hook on it saying “We the tigers, we tigers” so leaving practice the next day I played it in my car and started writing the verse while I was driving. By the time I made it back to campus I was done with a 12 bar verse and the rest is history.
SE: What sets you apart from other rappers today?
LS: My rap style is that southern riding smooth style. I’m not a gangster rapper but business will get handle if it needs to. I like to ride the beat as most folks say I do. And I rap and talk about what’s going on with me now, not the past or the future. If I’m getting money, I rap about getting money, if I’m struggling and broke at the time I make a song about struggling and broke. And if I just f*cked another man’s girl, that’s what I rap about. Nothing else.
SE: What projects are you currently working on?
SE: What do you expect to get from the rap game?
LS: Respect, man! That’s all you can ask for in this game is respect, and everything else will fall into place.
I had the opportunity to listen to a few tracks from the album and it is full of deep bass tracks and catchy hooks which have become the signature sound of the Deep South. It has classic material written all over it. And finally i will say, that with the speed, momentum and drive that Lil Smurf is grinding at, he shouldn’t have any problems getting the respect he’s looking for and deserves.