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Dim Sum Down-low

Dim Sum Down-low: SMMT discloses some Thuggie the Cat stories

H1GHR Music’s in-house producer makes magic while his cat judges him

LiFTED | Marcus Aurelius | 22 Sep 2022

What do you do besides music? LiFTED takes the long-loved afternoon talks at a dim sum joint in Asia to get the scoop of what artists enjoy besides making music in Dim Sum Down-low. This month, our spotlight shines on SMMT and his cat Thuggie.

SMMT began his career as a DJ, but over the years has become the in-house producer for H1GHR music. During that time, he made music for some of the biggest names in Asian Hip Hop and also made music for himself. He’s recently released his album, Mr. Hollywood, with features from pH-1, BIG Naughty, SIK-K, Mirani, and others.

SMMT has a secret weapon in his studio, Thuggie the Cat. Named after the Korean word for rice cake [tteok], Thuggie is on SMMT’s wavelength sonically and personally, but SMMT was willing to share the occasions where Thuggie has been the king of the castle. “I’ve had Thuggie for about eight years now. I’m definitely a cat person because I think my personality is similar to most cats, very calm and nonchalant. I also like staying indoors like a homebody, similar to most cats.”

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Thuggie has a lot of “aegyo” and tries to communicate with people a lot. He always tries to get the attention of friends and guests that he sees. One of the cutest things he does is squeezing underneath people’s armpits and falling asleep. The album cover is one of these moments but with our roles reversed. I wanted to document these moments like other people do for their pets, which is why I made the Instagram account for Thuggie.

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Thuggie is much bigger than an average cat. He outgrew his bed so quickly but refuses to go elsewhere. If you look on my Instagram, you can see a few photos of him in his original bed when I first got him. This also makes it difficult to find clothes that fit him! I got him a hat one time and it was a hassle putting it on and off Thuggie so he only got to try it once.

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Thuggie is notorious for always resting in weird positions. Sometimes I catch him sitting up leaning against a wall or object like a person. Those photos are always the fan favorites as well as mine. When I’m in the middle of work, it looks like he’s sitting down watching me work like he’s my boss. I guess that’s the added pressure that I need to get my work done!

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There are times when he’s watching me work but there are also times when he needs attention. If staring at me does not get my attention, he’ll often interfere with my workspace. He’s seen me at my computer enough times to know what I need to get my work done. Sometimes, he “falls asleep” on my keyboard or sometimes, takes away my headphones.

SMMT has been satisfied producing at H1GHR Music, but with Mr. Hollywood, he’s now out out. “Usually, I prefer to stay behind the scenes and not be too out there but releasing an album is something that I always wanted to do. I think it’s the obvious step forward to advance in my career. And now that it’s out and I’ve heard positive feedback amongst my peers, I feel really proud of what I’ve accomplished."

After the H1GHR Music compilation album two years ago, SMMT made a lot of music but didn’t release it. Now, those songs are ready for the public to hear them. “I had a collection of demo songs that were piling up and I decided to curate some of my favorites from the collection into an album. So I got started on featuring artists and this was the result.”

When SMMT was sorting through his music, ‘Knock Knock’ became the obvious choice for a first single, “Out of all the different genres and styles of music I’ve wanted to explore, this was the closest thing to my vision. I wanted a timeless song that fans and listeners can go back to even after 10 years and still enjoy it as if it was new. This song to me will never feel outdated.”

When he’s out on tour, SMMT loves finding new music at the places he’s going to. “Anytime I go abroad for a tour, I try listening to the trending Hip Hop artists and songs from that country. Every time I visit or revisit a country, there are always new and upcoming artists that I discover. I am always open to collaborating so please shoot me a DM anytime.”