Sit on the porch with Bubba Sparxxx!
The single “Deliverance” is hot.
Who’s idea was it for the video and the whole O Brother concept?
This dude that directed the video Brian Barber. We put our heads together we’ve been saying we’ve wanted to work together for a while. We based it loosely on that and gave it my little twist and it came out great.
Listening to the new tracks it sounds a big leap forward.
It is musically. It’s a huge leap forward. It was like this. When people screamed novelty the first time around talking about an ugly video and stuff I was really insulted because, hold on a minute, everyone you see in the video are real life. They weren’t people we flew in from L.A. They weren’t models that we flew in to look the part. Those were people who live within fifteen minutes of me who have real fuckin’ lives. That just told me that I didn’t do a good enough job of explaining that to people. I took it upon myself to paint a better picture of rural life and what it is all about.
Did you take the word ‘novelty’ and not let it roll of your back and instead let it motivate you?
It just sent me back into the studio with something to prove. It was good. Obviously I wasn’t doing a good enough job because they weren’t feeling it. I wanted to make sure people felt it this time.
Is the record about telling everyone that you aren’t going to take it sitting down and you are back and better?
Yeah, there was a purpose to the record. It’s me really wanting to tell my story. I want people to relate to that and it has some intensity.
The funny thing is you are representing a lot of people who aren’t represented outside of country music.
A lot of people. It is my job to paint a picture of rural life. There are a lot of people rolling around in 4X4’s listening to Tim McGraw and Tupac. There is a natural organic occurrence of people listening to music like this over the past few years. I am the voice and feel responsible for representing them in hip-hop.
There is a hell of a lot more to American than just California and New York.
The whole country is in between. There are a whole lot more rural areas than there are urban areas. I tell people that if they go an hour from New York City and east of L.A. an hour and it’s the same.
Do you think marketers at major labels figured country music would cover those rural people so there was no need to tap into it with different generes?
I think that was the way of thinking for a long time. I think that it’s clear that day has passed.
They probably figured AC/DC and country had them covered so let it be.
It’s a true testament of how wonderful this culture of hip-hop is. It’s a testament that it has spread this far and people want to be a part of it.
Everyone wants to rebel, was hip-hop your punk rock?
It was, but it took me differently than it did most kids. It didn’t make me want to put on a L.A. Kings hat. It made me want to use that tool of expression to tell my story. I always looked around and I see poverty. I see people dying. I see girls. The same things happen everywhere, but on a smaller scale. But when money gets tight it’s tougher where I live because there aren’t as many places to go. I just have always wanted to tell my story and paint a picture of rural life.
Do you ever think about history and that possibly in 20 years people may look back on your words and see how you painted a picture of a different time in rural life?
I sure hope so. Because when I talk about the new style and it’s fission is a reality. Just like I like to say we are still paying for the mistakes of our ancestors a hundred fifty years ago and the way we act and behave towards each other now will determine how our generation… what we do today will determine what are the norms of that society.
Does it drive you crazy that everyone will only compare you to white rappers and not black ones as well?
Yeah, that is pretty ridiculous man. I like to feel like I’ve taken a big step in the right direction with this album. I picked “Deliverance” as the first single because it set the tone and it’s the tip of the iceberg for what you can expect.
The record takes off from there.
Musically it gets crazier from there. Timbaland produced “Deliverance” so ya’ll should know what is in store. The first album was more like me conforming to Timbaland. This time Timbaland heard the shit I was rapping about and formed the sound to me. This is more my sound. It’s unique.
So with the first one he had a beat and he said ‘lay a rhyme around it’?
Yeah. We really tried to take more chances this time. It really started with the mood I would set. He would work around that. It was a piece of work and changes in the music. Each is a little masterpiece on their own.
When you first start out with a rhyme and then to see the whole thing take shape are you ever like ‘wow’ at the outcome of the final track?
Absolutely. Especially working with Timbaland. He never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes even at the last minute he makes an adjustment and it’s astonishing.
So this time it’s like a one-two punch.
Right. We found a unique chemistry that is only Bubba and Timbaland just like there is a unique chemistry that is Missy and Timbaland and Aaliyah, God rests her soul, and Timbaland. We found that chemistry.
Do you write a lot?
I go through spells. I’ll write heavy for three or four weeks and then I’ll take a few weeks off and won’t write a lick. Right now I’m more in my performance and interview mode. If I was in creative mode I’d be the worst interview you ever had because I’m completely zoned out from the rest of the world.
When in song writing mode do you find writing natural?
I always try to improve. You have to cultivate it and work with it just like anything else.
Has it seemed like forever waiting to get the record out because you want to get your message out there and these tracks to prove the doubters wrongs?
Yeah. Because of the beats and the tracks I can’t wait. I know people have that perception of me and I couldn’t wait. Like that old saying goes ‘the wiser general won’t go into the battlefield until the battle is already won’ and that is how I feel.
What makes you madder, that your rhymes aren’t hot are that someone picked you up to be a novelty?
If you don’t like me you don’t like me. You know? All that shit about someone just picking me up for a novelty, I’ve been a student of hip-hop for fifteen years and I’ve been cultivating my skills to a point where I feel good about them. Say you don’t like my style but the rest is shit.
What do you think about being a role model for rural kids, who may not just want to rap, but see you as someone who persevered and got your dream… and if you can do it they can.
It’s great. I bump into a lot of those guys. I tell them I’m living proof that if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone.
When the album drops what do you want more – to prove you are a true MC or to just have people digging it?
I just want people to see that it is me and it’s uncompromised. Ride, walk, leave it or love it. I believe a lot of people will love it. I gave up trying to please everybody. It’s my heart. Some people will get it and some won’t. Ride on to the real – death to the fakers.
+ Charlie Craine