Appearing in the early '90s on Priority Records, rapper Tim Smooth has made the transition from a basic G-funk-style rapper to one of the first artists to be recognized in the Dirty South movement. Releasing his debut, Straight up Drive 'Em, in 1994, his music was heavily influenced by the West Coast artists of the time, resulting in a competent but unmemorable record that almost succeeded on the strength of his hilarious lyrics and effortless flow.
Released from the label soon after, Smooth kicked around the rap underground, ghost-writing for rappers on Big Boy Records under the name Playboy Sha-Burnke. It was during this period that he hooked up with Mobo Records, a New Orleans label that was instrumental in the growing Dirty South scene. Smooth's debut was highly respected by many of the rappers associated with the label, so when he recorded Da Franchise Playa in 1998, he had support from artists like HWA, Bushwick Bill, and a young Mystikal.
Released that summer, the album's liquid funk production and gruffer vocal style made it a hit in the area, making Smooth one of the Dirty South's premiere vocalists upon its arrival. Unfortunately, national radio didn't catch on to his new style, and soon artists like Mystikal and Juvenile were eclipsing him in sales and public recognition. Smooth chose not to follow up on the album immediately, instead sporadically guest-appearing on other rapper's songs while trying to put together a group, the Pimptations, which never seemed to come together.