It’s 9:15AM on a Thursday and Bubba Sparxxx is on a tour bus going from Norfolk, Virginia to Washington DC. Most artists would take this time to sleep off whatever the night before had brought them. Bubba, however, is an artist of a different ilk. At 9:15AM my phone rings, it’s Bubba asking if it’s cool if we start our 9:30AM scheduled interview early. Showing a blatant, and much appreciated, disregard for the concept of Hip-Hop Time, Bubba was ready early, so he called early.
During our phone conversation Bubba spoke at length about his new album, “The Charm”, which hits stores April fourth, and what makes it different from his previous efforts. He also talked about the stereotyping of both southern and white rappers, the concept of beef in Hip-Hop, his hopes for some of his Dungeon Family associates and, of course, “Ms. New Booty”.
Adam Bernard: First off tell me a little bit about the new album, what do you feel makes it different from your previous efforts?
BS: Well I feel like there was a movement that was the first album (“Dark Days, Bright Nights”). We came into the game with Ugly, an up-tempo, high energy club banger. There was definitely meat and potatoes on that album, some substance, I just don’t think that very many people ever got to hear it. I felt like in the beginning I was represented by that one song rather than the whole album or anything beyond that one song. The second album (“Deliverance”) was a distinctively different sound, a more somber, more reflective album. We incorporated a lot of live instruments from every different type of guitar to banjos to fiddles to harmonicas to live horn sections. They attracted different audiences, those two albums, and the reason I call this new album “The Charm” is because I felt like I needed to bring those two audiences together. I’m the kind of person, first of all, that really enjoys going to the club, I’m a club guy, I like going to the club and I like hearing my music at the club. And if I have a regret about my second album it’s that there really wasn’t anything for the club on there.
AB: I was gonna ask about that because I was wondering what you thought about the replay value of “Deliverance”because people would put it on and say “he’s a good rapper, but I’m not sure how many times I’m going to spin this.”
BS: Yeah, exactly, it was like a movie. You watch it one time and it’s like that’s it.
AB: You have the club songs on “The Charm”, though, and the new single is “Ms. New Booty”.
BS: Right, and everybody’s like that’s such a different type of song for you, and I’m like it’s really not I came into the game with a club banger type record and I’ve had records about the strip club or about a sultry female on both of my albums so it’s really not that novel an idea for me but when you pull the Ying Yang Twins into the mix…. and that’s what I wanted, I wanted to shock people. People hadn’t heard from me in a while and I wanted to do something that would make a splash, and it’s worked, it’s successful.
AB: And the song sparked MsNewBooty.com.
BS: Oh yeah, that’s something else, right?
AB: Whose idea was it for the website?
BS: It was actually me and this guy who works for Virgin, Devon Lasker and I’m just blown away at how big it’s gotten. They opened it up to girls in like Norway, Sweden and Denmark and the first day we had 8,000 hits and I was just like wow I can’t believe that. I can’t believe that, for instance we were in Norfolk last night and I hosted a party I was telling my guys that are on the road with me that I just can’t believe that this song has endeared me to women so much more because I was actually worried about women thinking it was slightly degrading.
AB: And you’re right it is kind of ironic because you’ve got a couple other songs on the album, specifically “Run Away”, that are significantly more touching for women.
BS: That’s the thing, my second single’s called “Heat it Up”. I found “Ms. New Booty”, I heated her up and then I ran away with her.
AB: So what does Bubba Sparxxx feel makes a booty good? What are you voting for on your own website?
BS: It’s all about texture with me man. It’s like anything else. I can like look at an ass but until I can really like, and I don’t mean this in a vulgar way, but until I just touch it and feel the texture of it I really can’t judge it. But if I have to judge a booty based on appearances I just don’t like it to sag too much. I really really do like big big booties but I don’t like em to really really sag at all. I don’t like the hang too much, the hangover effect.
AB: Now the album isn’t all booties, you cover some other topics, as well. Other than the club element what did you feel was important that you get across to your listeners with “The Charm”?
BS: The one thing that I relaxed on was just defending the fact that I was from the country and that it wasn’t a shtick. That was kind of what “Deliverance” was all about. “Deliverance”, to a degree, was done in defense of the Uglyvideo. Obviously we did a lot of things in that video for comedic effect, just to entertain. That’s just like the new video. I’m never going to take myself too seriously, I’m always going to try to entertain, but at the same time there was a real culture on display there and the fact that a lot of people took it as just a joke really really offended me so that’s kind of what “Deliverance” was about, defending that, really explaining to people in depth where I came from and how it was. So this time I kind of lost that chip (on my shoulder).
AB: You mentioned that people thought it was a shtick that you came from the south. Do you think there’s a double standard because anytime someone does a video when they’re standing on a street corner they’re considered cool no matter what?
BS: Yeah exactly. It was always funny to me because it’s like the same things go on everywhere. At a young age I was exposed to everything, poverty, violence, the various drug epidemics and the affect they can have on a family. I saw all of those things first hand. I went to great lengths on both albums to explain a little bit, too. Maybe the production just wasn’t as strong on those songs, and people never got to those songs. So it was great on the second album to make those songs with Timbaland and Organized Noize, for the production to be on an elite level on those songs, as well.
AB: Do you feel people still view you as a white rapper rather than simply an MC?
AB: At this point there are tons of talented MCs who happen to be white, from you to Slug to Cage to countless others.
BS: I like Cage, by the way.
AB: Yeah man, I just saw him a few weeks ago and he killed it. But what extra things do you think you guys encounter when you’re coming up in the industry?
BS: There are certain doors that being a white rapper will automatically allow you to get into. There are certain doors that being a white rapper will never allow you to enter. That’s the just the fact of it. There are certain white people that only accept (a white rapper), that is the case, but there are also a lot of white people that despise the whole thought of a white rapper and there are black people that just love white rappers, period. So it works both ways in that regard. That’s the fact, there are certain people of racial origins that will never accept a white rapper and there are certain ones that will automatically accept a white rapper just because he’s white, so there’s pros and cons to anything.
AB: Do you think they weigh each other out and that even though you get stuck with the title white rapper it’s not a super help and it’s not a super detriment either?
BS: Exactly. That’s exactly how I feel.
AB: Where do you feel your place in Hip-Hop history will be when all is said and done?
BS: I definitely know that there will be, in the history of music, like 200 years from now in music appreciation class in college you know how there’s like chapters on Mozart and Beethoven, there’ll definitely be a Timbaland chapter and I think I’ll be a section in the Timbaland chapter. I think that there will be a Dungeon Family and I’ll be a section in the Dungeon Family chapter. That’s twice in the book so that’s about all I can ask for.
AB: Other than your labelmates over at Purple Ribbon, who do you see that’s on the rise in the near future?
BS: As far as people that you haven’t heard yet? There’s a guy out of Atlanta named Young Dro who’s signed to Grand Hustle, T.I.’s label, and I think you’re going to hear a lot of good things about him next year. Tru Life out of New York, Lower Eastside of Manhattan, just signed to Roc La Familia. He first appeared in the Beef DVD.
AB: Speaking of beef, I really dug that you and Haystak squashed yours. Any word on when you’ll work with him again?
BS: Yeah it’ll be soon but I actually haven’t talked to Stak in a minute. I know he’s upset with me about that, but that’s my brother I love the guy and I’m glad we were able to settle our differences. We’re just too much alike, and we stand for the same things, to not have gotten close. I’m sure we will be working again soon in the future.
AB: Do you feel that a lot of rappers sort of need to pull it together in that sense and realize, same goals, same type of people, why are we fighting again?
BS: Each individual dispute has be judged individually. Sometimes I definitely feel like that’s the case and I think too much in rap these days is the WWF thing, I think people are just practicing showmanship. There’s no doubt that 90% of all beefs that exist in rap today are just publicity stunts. I honestly feel like that Cam – Jay-Z thing, I don’t think, it may be but I just don’t know how real a beef that really is. Everybody’s got their reasons whatever they may be but life’s too short to me man to beef about anything. I know that one right there can jump to another level real quick. Someone’s going to have to do something to really really offend before I take it there because if I take it there I’m gonna be prepared to take it elsewhere, too.
AB: Finally, if you could smack some sense into any one MC or producer who would it be?
BS: Andre3000 and I’d smack him to get him to rap again. I’d smack him and be like man rap again please. I respect that Outkast has grown and evolved into this beautiful thing for the masses but it’s not originally what I fell in love with and I wish I could smack some sense into Dre as far as he could just wake up tomorrow and be like I wanna rap, I wanna do a rap album.