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Remembering Tim Smooth: A Pioneer of New Orleans Hip-Hop

In the rich tapestry of New Orleans' hip-hop history, Tim Smooth, born Timothy Smoot, emerges as a luminary whose impact resonates through the decades. His journey, marked by lyrical prowess and a commitment to his craft, recently came to a close as he succumbed to a long battle with cancer at the age of 39. As we reflect on his legacy, Tim Smooth's influence on the early '90s New Orleans hip-hop scene remains indelible.

Tim Smooth graduated from L.W. Higgins High School in 1989, and by 1991, he had already solidified his status as one of New Orleans' best MCs with the release of his debut single, "I Gotsta' Have It." This track swiftly became a local hip-hop anthem, showcasing Smooth's distinctive style and setting the stage for his subsequent albums.

His albums, including "Straight Up Drivin' Em" in 1994 and "Da Franchise Player" in 1998, further established Tim Smooth as a force in the hip-hop landscape. The rapper, known as "the Knight from Kennedy Heights," extended his influence beyond New Orleans, releasing music on Houston's Rap-A-Lot label and indie labels in his hometown.

Tim Smooth's final musical offering, "The Invisible Man," arrived in 2004, capping a career marked by innovation and lyrical prowess. His impact went beyond his solo endeavors; he played a crucial role in shaping the trajectory of fellow New Orleans rapper Mystikal. Mystikal acknowledged Tim Smooth's influence, stating, "[h]ad I never met Tim, I would be a totally different artist. He even co-wrote the title cut with me on 'Mind of Mystikal.' Thanks for the memories."

Despite his battle with cancer, Tim Smooth remained a source of inspiration, known for his infectious smile and positive demeanor. His sister, Nicole Smoot, remarked on his cheerful disposition, stating, "He never had a fight in his whole life, and he was 39 years old. He was a happy person. He was always cracking jokes, and even with the cancer, he never didn't have a smile on his face."

Tim was faced with the financial strain of battling cancer without health insurance, a donation fund was set up to support Tim Smooth. The New Orleans community rallied around him, organizing benefit parties and extending a helping hand during his challenging times.


Tim Smooth's legacy extends beyond his lyrical contributions; he was a friend to many, a mentor, and a symbol of resilience. As the hip-hop community mourns the loss of this pioneer, we remember Tim Smooth not only for his groundbreaking music but for the positive spirit and camaraderie he brought to New Orleans' vibrant hip-hop scene.

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