From reality TV to the Grammys, 5 things to know about Inglewood’s D Smoke

D Smoke
L.A.-based rapper D Smoke.
(Pico Shaw / KABC)

You can now officially call him “Grammy-nominated D Smoke.”

The nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards were announced Tuesday, and the L.A.-based rapper is among those in the running for best new artist, alongside Ingrid Andress, Phoebe Bridgers, Chika, Noah Cyrus, Doja Cat, Kaytranada and Megan Thee Stallion.

D Smoke’s powerful “Black Habits,” released in February, also earned him a nod in the rap album category, where it is up against works by Freddie Gibbs and the Alchemist, Jay Electronica, Nas and Royce Da 5’9”. The winners will be announced at the 63rd Grammy Awards Jan. 31.

For those unfamiliar with D Smoke’s rise, here are the essentials.

The 2021 Grammy nominations, in 83 categories

He won a hip-hop reality show

D Smoke’s big break followed his win on Netflix’s first music competition show, “Rhythm + Flow,” in 2019 — a move he has said he was skeptical about. The 10-episode series saw D Smoke come out on top as the first winner of a show that fielded talent from L.A., New York, Chicago and Atlanta, judged by rappers Cardi B, Chance the Rapper and Tip “T.I.” Harris. The first-place prize was $250,000.


He is from Inglewood

Born Daniel Anthony Farris, D Smoke grew up in Inglewood. The first EP he released following his “Rhythm + Flow” win was titled “Inglewood High,” named after his alma mater. D Smoke is also a graduate of UCLA, where he majored in Spanish.

He used to be a teacher

After college, D Smoke taught Spanish at Inglewood High. He has taught other subjects at multiple schools over the years, including music engineering, English and financial literacy. One of the schools he taught at was View Park Preparatory High School, near Nipsey Hussle’s store.

He is from a musical family

D Smoke’s mother, Jackie Gouche, is a piano teacher and a professional singer who has sung backup for the likes of Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight and Tina Turner. His brother Sir Darryl Farris is the R&B singer Sir, who signed with Top Dawg Entertainment. D Smoke’s other brother, Davion, is also a singer, who (along with other members of the family) appears on “Black Habits.”

He is not “new” to music

Remember, nominees for best new artist are those who have broken through into a certain level of public awareness during a given year and not necessarily those who have just made their debut. D Smoke started a songwriting group with his brothers and cousin while he was still a student, and he’s received songwriting credit on works by artists such as Jaheim and the Pussycat Dolls. He’s been playing the piano since he was a kid and was his brother Sir’s touring keyboard player. He also opened for Kendrick Lamar in 2011.

The Jan. 31 ceremony will be held amid what will likely be an unabated deadly pandemic, so Grammy organizers hoping for a less knee-buckling show than last go-round may have to wait until 2022.