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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Spank Rock – Interview

Spank Rock spoke to Amelias about his new album, his tour, and getting thrown out of the MTV Woodie Awards

Written by David McNamara

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Since the release of his debut album YoYoYoYoYo in 2006, search Spank Rock and his merry band of smut peddlers have been on a relentless globe-trotting journey filled with critical acclaim and controversy. Debut single Bump was named Single of the Year by Xfm London DJ Lauren Laverne that same year and since then they have taken their high-tempo Baltimore-style hip hop to the masses, buy performing with the likes of Bjork, M.I.A. and Diplo. Spank Rock a.k.a. Naeem Juwan is also responsible for kick-starting the career of the equally controversial hip hop femme fatale Amanda Blank.

Despite receiving widespread appreciation for their innovative form of party rap that infuses electro and big bass house, Juwan’s lyrics have often been criticised as gratuitously sexual and misogynistic. Amelia’s caught up with the boisterous rapper ahead of his appearance at Fabric in London to talk about his upcoming new album, provocative lyrics and the truth about getting kicked out of the MTV Woodie Awards.

What can you tell us about your upcoming album?

I don’t know what to say. I don’t really like to talk about my projects until they are done. I am not gonna commit to a release date because you know how rappers state a release date and then it never comes out. I will say it is close to being done.

I heard you were originally meant to do I Need Love on Amanda Blank’s debut album but you pulled out because it wasn’t your style. Is this true?

Yeah, that’s true. I kind of have an issue with doing covers because I just don’t think it’s cool. If I am going to spend time doing something I want it to be something that is coming from me.

You are now signed to Downtown Records. What happened with Big Dada?

It was a classic situation of a bigger label wanting to buy a smaller group out of their record deal. Big Dada is an awesome label but I just thought it was a better opportunity to work with a company that was a little larger. Big Dada has always been a great hip hop label and it was rad working with them. I respect them for taking a chance on me.

How would you describe what you do?

I usually call it progressive, intellectual party rap.

BangersandCash

Your music has a lot of sexual content and graphic imagery. Would you say that you are a quite provocative individual?

Yeah, I think I can be. I don’t really like to go with the flow of things. I think right now there is so much happening in the world and none of it is being represented in hip hop music. I just want to introduce new ideas and new images that can provoke people.

What would you say is a topic you keep coming back to in your music?

Partying and dancing are usually staples of what I do.

But as you get older, surely you can’t keep talking about these subjects?

I hope my progression as I grow is obvious. I think on the last album a lot of people missed out on the sub content and focussed on all of the sexual content. I think this time I make a lot of the serious content more obvious. I model a lot of the stuff I write on James Brown. You know, he made the dance stuff but he loved to touch on political issues like civil rights issues, the economy and discipline for the black community back in the ‘60s. He used popular music to get people thinking about the world around them.

Can you explain what happened at the MTV Woodie Awards in 2007 when you were thrown out for hitting another group with a drink?

Yeah, that’s kind of what happened! I didn’t really throw a drink at them. I was throwing drinks and one happened to hit them. I do think I was being a little bit of a dick that night but it wasn’t intentional. I have no idea who they band were that I hit.

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They were called The Academy.

Oh, yeah, that wasn’t intentional. Haha!

Do you have any plans to come back to Europe this year?

I will definitely be back this year. On this tour it’s just me and a DJ so it’s pretty tough to get through a show – but I’m challenging myself. I usually kind of roll in a crew. Ideally, I would love to come back out and do a double headlining tour with Amanda Blank.

How does your new material differ to what you have done before?

I think some things are similar. A lot of the stuff is still dance tempo but I think there are some pop influences on the new album. I don’t want to say too much. I haven’t changed up my whole style. I just continue to go on a path of taking the influences around me and putting them in a blender and seeing what comes out.

What artists are you listening to right now that are getting your excited?

Crocodiles - it’s probably my favourite album of the past year. Other than that, I really can’t think of anyone. I was really bored with the music that has been coming out this past year.

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