Bubba Sparxxx: Purple Charm
For once, critics got things right with Bubba. Both of his albums received great reviewshis sophomore set, Deliverance, was praised as one of the best albums of 2004 with Timbalands bluesy, experimental production and Bubbas reflective rhymes. But despite critical acclaim and the noise he made with singles like 2001s frenetic Ugly, Bubba hasnt been good friends with Soundscan.
This year, Bubbas ready for another shot. With a new team (Big Bois label, Purple Ribbon), a new catchy single (Ms. New Booty), and a modified approach, hes hoping that his new album, The Charm, will satisfy his wallet as much as it satisfies music journalists.
HipHopDX: First off, whats been going on with you?
Bubba Sparxx: On this road, promo-ing. Got a top ten record in the country, Ms. New Booty with the Ying Yang Twins. Were at 5,500 or 6,000 spins, just out here working trying to get it.
HipHopDX: Where did the concept for the track come from?
Bubba Sparxx: Me and Mr. Collipark, the producer (came up with it). I had the beat for like a week, and he gave me the title, Ms. New Booty, just think of Ms. New Booty. I remembered the movie Players Club, thats where the phrase Ms. New Booty came from. He and I got together in the studio, we broke out and went to the strip clubs, came back an hour and a half later, and it just came out. I knew we had gotten the phrase from Players Club, so I shouted out Players Club in the hook, and it just went down.
HipHopDX: That song is really different from the other music from youve made so far.
Bubba Sparxx: Um, yes and no. I had strip club stuff on my first two albums. Ive never put out a single thats dedicated to the shake junks like this one was, but I had one called Betty Betty and one called Twerk A Little with me and Timbaland that was very similar in subject matter to Ms. New Booty.
HipHopDX: What made you release this one as a single, as opposed to the other tracks?
Bubba Sparxx: We were originally trying to come out with this record called Other Side, with me, Petey Pablo and Sleepy Brown as the first single. If it wouldve been on me, that wouldve been the first single. But somehow DJs got a hold of this single, it leaked, and you cant run from a hit, so we had to go with it.
HipHopDX: Lets go back with a minute. What happened with Timbalands Beat Club?
Bubba Sparxx: Timbaland had a vision for Beat Club, a very progressive-minded vision. He wanted to sign rock bands, he was trying to do all kinds of different shit. Interscopes vision for Beat Club was a little different; a lot different, actually. They wanted it to stay more urban, in hip-hop and R&B. Who was right, who was wrong, whos to say. At the end of the day, just too much tension came up between both of those parties, and my relationship with Beat Club in a business sense was through Interscope Records. In other words, I was signed to Interscope Records, and they put my contract up under Beat Club. I couldve stayed on Interscope Records and been by myself and had no politics in the building, but its a very lonely building to be in without somebody in there fighting for you. But Tim was not going to be there, so at the end of the day, it was just best for us to go our separate directions.
But Ive been down with Big Boi for like five, six years. Ive been part of the Dungeon Family. I bumped into him overseas in London, England, around the time of my last album Deliverance, and he was a big fan of that project. He just asked me what I felt like had happened, why did I feel like it had fallen between the cracks. And I was like, I dont know, whatever reason this happened, I told him that I felt that the situation was about to go down, and I was about to be a free agent. Hes like, Well check this out. Im getting ready to crank up this new movement, Purple Ribbon. Dres been here for a couple years, he doesnt have passion to run a label no more, so Ima crank up a new movement on my own, and Id love for you to be down with it. And I was like, This is right on time, lets make it happen.
HipHopDX: So you and Timbaland are still on good terms?
Bubba Sparxx: Yeah, were still on great terms. That man birthed me in this game, I can never harbor any ill will towards him. He taught me so much about music, about life. Hes just tickled I got another opportunity.
HipHopDX: Now who all is on Purple Ribbon?
Bubba Sparxx: Killer Mike, Sleepy Brown, a group called Konkrete, and a female R&B singer named Janelle Monet, and an R&B singer named Scar.
HipHopDX: How different is it being on Timbalands Beat Club and Big Bois label?
Bubba Sparxx: A major difference is that Tims a producer, first and foremost. Tim rapped on my first album, and Big produced a track on this album, thats still who they are primarily. Big came into this situation just wanting to give me an opportunity, and to give me guidance. With Big, its more of a yay or nay type thing; I do records, and he yays or nays em. Hes either with it, or hes not with it. With Tim, it was much more hands-on, in the studio with me constantly. But at this point in my career, Im definitely more comfortable with this situation. I was at a point in my career where I had to stand on my own two feet anyway, so it was really right on time.
HipHopDX: So how much of an influence did Big Boi have on the project?
Bubba Sparxx: Well first of all, its important to understand that Outkast is the most important thing in the history of music, to me. Me being from Georgia, theyre my Run DMC. I grew up on those guys, the whole Dungeon Family, Organized Noise, Goodie Mob, Witch Doctor, Cool Breeze, Backbonethose guys molded what my perception of good rap music was. So they always had an impact. This album, I probably recorded 40 songs, and he approved about 15, 16. I might go off in one direction, but he would always corral me back.
Im on Purple Ribbon, this is Big Bois label, this is like my Aquemini. Thats what this album is. The statement, what Aquemini represented to Outkasts career at the point it was released, thats what this album is for me. Its my definitive album, its my third album. It really reflects my maturity, my understanding, my growthas a human being first and foremost, but as an artist, too.
HipHopDX: How would you compare this album to the first two?
Bubba Sparxx: Each of my first two albums were distinctively different sounds. I came in the game with Ugly, high energy uptempo club banger. Deliverance was more somber, more reflective, more live instrumentation. I feel like those albums attracted two different audiences, so I set out making this record to bring more balance. Thats how I can make a record like Ms. New Booty, but I can have a record like Run Away, with Frankie J, which is more in the Deliverance vein. Its a concept song, its reflective. I just tried to bring balance to the thing. People look for different things in music. Some people want to think, some people dont. Im not going to alienate either sect, ever again.
HipHopDX: Your first two albums got a lot of acclaim as far as reviews are concerned, but they didnt get the sales that they should have.
Bubba Sparxx: You know what they say about good reviews.
HipHopDX: Whats that?
Bubba Sparxx: A dollar and a good review will get you a Coca-Cola. Deliverance was very critically acclaimed, shit almost put me in the poor house. I dont really give a fuck about critical acclaim anymore [laughs].
HipHopDX: How hard is it to take a new direction, when your other albums were so dope in terms of the quality of the music?
Bubba Sparxx: [pauses] I just have to keep doing what Ive been doing, man. Its tough, but the people at Virgin Records believe in it, Big Boi believes in what I do. People believe in what I do, so it earned me another opportunity to try to get what I do across to the world. You cant really waver too much with what you do. You either do what you do, or you dont, at least thats how I see it. With that said, Im just happy to have another opportunity to sell what I do to the world. Theres no changing in what I do.
HipHopDX: So are you in the vein of the Jay-Z, Truthfully I want to rhyme like Common Sense/but I did five mil, I aint been rhyming like Common since, line?
Bubba Sparxx: Absolutely. I know I can rap, I can rap circles around most muthafuckas, period, if thats whats on the table. But Im in the business of making hit records. I know Ms. New Booty is not going to be a critically acclaimed song. I know Im not the reincarnation of Rakim on there. I would never claim to be. But Ill tell you what: that muthafucka is at 5,500 spins, and its still me. I didnt compromise who I am, its still me. Its still a creative song, and its in the vein of who I am. And I didnt compromise that, so, fuck it.
HipHopDX: If you had the opportunity to make a record with two of your favorite artists from the south, and whatever producer you wanted, who would they be?
Bubba Sparxx: I would say Bun B would be one artist, Fa Bo from D4L would be the other artist, and Timbaland would make the beat.
HipHopDX: Wow, thats an interesting combination
Bubba Sparxx: That just shows you the wide range of what Im capable of appreciating. I was raised on Bun B, period. Honestly, hes one of the top two or three lyrical southern rappers there are. I just have so much respect for him. Fa Bo from D4L is just a superstar, period. Hes got energy, charisma, everything. I always said that if I was in a position where I was protecting the worldand it was going to be war of the worlds, where Martians were making a song that would be the representation of their planet, and I was making a song that was the representation of our planet, and whoever made the best song would dominate civilization and survive, that I would pick Timbaland to make that song with. Hes been laying low for the last couple years, but I know what that mans capable of.
HipHopDX: Everybodys getting a grill nowadays. You getting one?
Bubba Sparxx: Nah, I aint gon get no grill. That aint really me. Ima let P-Dubb hold on to that. You will not see Bubba Sparxx with a grill anytime soon.