D Smoke has made his first appearance on the latest episode of Mayor of Kingstown, which returned to Paramount+ for a second season earlier this month.
The show, which stars Jeremy Renner, Hugh Dillon and Dianne Wiest, follows the McLusky family — a team of power brokers — as they tackle themes of systemic racism, corruption and inequality in Kingstown, Michigan, where the business of for-profit prisons is the only thriving industry
According to IMDb, D Smoke was cast as Raphael in Episode 3 of the current season, but does not seem to currently have any other upcoming appearances on the show.
A promotional clip from the episode, shared exclusively with HipHopDX, finds “El Rey” as one of two prisoners voicing their disdain for one of the correctional officers while discussing their mistrust of another inmate, with whom they are hatching a plot.
According to Variety, Mayor of Kingstown’s November 2021 series premiere drew 2.6 million viewers, — split between viewers watching on the Paramount Network and its sister streaming platform — making it the network’s most-watched original scripted debut since its 2018 release of Yellowstone.
In 2019, the D. Smoke gained global notoriety after he was crowned the winner of Netflix’s Rhythm + Flow — a music competition show where judges T.I., Cardi B and Chance the Rapper hit the pavement in search of the next rap superstar. Prizes included $250,000 in cash and the opportunity to perform at Spotify’s RapCaviar Live concert.
Despite what appeared to be a tale of overnight success, the multifaceted recording artist has a long list of television credits and had previously booked small acting roles throughout Los Angeles, California. In an interview with GQ, D Smoke shared how he landed his most recent cameo [playing himself], in the Peacock Original, Bel-Air, explaining:
“The call I got was from Tasha Smith. She was my acting coach when I was in high school and I was booking stuff: CSI, Boston Public, The District, Judging Amy. I was always the disgruntled high school kid, gun in his backpack, you know [laughs]. I showed up and did my best at playing D Smoke. It’s interesting playing yourself but taking direction from others, taking their creative direction for what the scene is. We [found] that balance and had fun with it.”
Of his biggest acting influences, he shared, “I love Don Cheadle. Of course Will [Smith] and Denzel [Washington], but I say Don Cheadle first because I feel like he’s so underrated. I’ve seen brilliant performances from him.”
“Everybody knows he was in Iron Man and stuff, but he was in The Family Man with Nicolas Cage,” said Smoke of what he believed to be Cheadle’s best role yet.
I loved how he played the hood angel who sends Nicolas Cage on this “glimpse”; in very few scenes he had to show such range, because he starts off robbing this liquor store, Nicolas Cage intervenes, and [Cheadle] is like, “You just did a good thing!” But Nicolas Cage talks too much, and [Cheadle] is like, “You just fucked it up” [laughs]. And then, next time Cage sees him, Don Cheadle is this rich guy who takes on the life of Nicolas Cage while Nicolas Cage is in this glimpse of what his life would be like if he wasn’t a billionaire. He showed so much range and controlled—without being the main character—how the movie moved.”