Orlando hip-hop duo Smilez and Southstar talk musical inspiration, what they’re doing now

Over 20 years later, 2 friends sit down for a candid interview together

ORLANDO, Fla. – Sitting down and chopping it up with Orlando’s own Smilez and Southstar was nothing short of legendary.

The latest episode of Riff On This is full of nostalgia, wild moments and laughs as the duo shares their journey in hip-hop in the early 2000s.

Smilez & Southstar (Smilez & Southstar)

While they’re considered “Florida boys” and call Central Florida home, Smilez and Southstar aren’t originally from the Sunshine State. They come from opposite ends of the country.

Rodney “Smilez” Bailey hails from the Bronx, New York while Rob “Smilez” Campman made his journey to the south from the west coast’s Golden State, California.

Check out every episode of Riff On This in the media player below:

Their Top 40 smash hit “Tell Me” produced by Orlando’s Grammy award-winning duo Nasty Beatmakers, consisting of DJ Nasty and his brother LVM, is an unforgettable melody in the heart of Central Florida.

The hit sampled Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye’s “Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart),” a 1970s banger that rocked the R&B Billboard Chart hitting number 6 and soaring to the 39th spot of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1971.

Smilez and Southstar at their 20 year album reunion alongside producers Nasty Beatmakers and Dakari in downtown Orlando. (Smilez & Southstar)

The album “Crash the Party” was released in July 2002 via Artistdirect — primarily handled by multi-platinum producer Dakari with one track produced by Nasty Beatmakers — peaked at number 91 on the Billboard 200 and number 24 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

“Tell Me” was played on radio stations nationwide as the duo hit the sets of MTV and BET and even landed interviews on popular talk shows with Jenny Jones, Ricki Lake and Conan O’Brien.

Smilez and Southstar on BET set of 106 & park with hosts AJ and Free. (Smilez & Southstar)

While this part of their musical journey is exciting, how the duo met and all the stories and songs they had along the way are even more epic. Hear about being discovered, how they met and the wild stories from rap battles to touring with Dancehall legend Beenie Man, and of course what they’re doing now all on episode 23 of Riff On This!

About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.