[Interview] Bubba Sparxxx: All Hail the Grand Return of the Country Rap Pioneer!
All Hail the Grand Return of the
Country Rap Pioneer!
By Christian Cipollini
The last time we heard from Bubba Sparxxx wasn’t all that long ago, but it certainly felt like something had been missing. Where was that guy we thought we knew? Well, as he will tell you himself, last year’s “Pain Management” was his first return to music after quite a hiatus, not to mention one helluva necessary and therapeutic release as well. May not have been what fans were used to, but Sparxxx had some demons to excise and that record definitely ventured into some painful areas. Bubba says there will always be battles within himself, but he’s in one incredibly happy, excited and damn good place right now. The work put into, and the outpouring of excitement over his latest album —– has put this pioneer of country rap on cloud nine. He’s genuinely an upbeat, yet humble man, hell bent on continuing a creative path of foot stomping, twanging and 808 kick drum thumping fun! Oh, and about that whole ‘pioneer’ thing? Bubba admits he’s honored by it, but realistically and ultimately he says, “That pioneer title and dollar fifty will get you a Coca Cola!” It’s not about honors bestowed. He’s thankful people enjoy his music and he can make a living off that passion.
You released Pain Management just last year, but it was your first in a long time. Now you’ve dropped a brand new album called Made on McCosh Mill Road . Do you see a comparison, difference or evolution over even just the last year?
Almost every artist will tell you their favorite is their last one, and that’s the case with mine. But, there really is some merit there. I hadn’t put out an album in six or seven years until Pain Management. I was proud of it, accomplished a lot with it, but I was kinda working the rust off with that one and working myself back into top form. I feel like I’m on all cylinders with this new one.
Considering the tone of the last record and what you were going through, how do you feel today?
It’s obviously one of those deals where you’re never cured but in a lot of ways I’ve grown up, made better decisions. I went through a period where I lost all perspective. I had a very dark period and that’s what the last album Pain Management was about, my testimony. My perspective on life today is great and no longer in that bondage. Today I’m tickled to death. But there was a time when I didn’t know if I’d ever put out another album. I was that far off the reservation. I thank God he saw fit for me to hit rock bottom and bounce back up and get my life back in order.
Highlights of album Made on McCosh Mill Road?
We all look around and see what’s hot. You are influenced but have to be original. I’ve had a lot of loyal and patient fans, and for me, this is like starting over. I think I figured it out on this album. I’m definitely going for a more energetic sound. I’m leaning even further for my next album in that direction. But I’ve got this song on this one called “Pay Attention” and it’s got banjo, harmonica and 808 drums going heavy. It’s a trunk rattler! When you gotta gamble a little bit on each album, and you can’t please everybody but as long as more people love it than hate it!
Thoughts on how the whole country hip hop movement blew up?
This goes back to the nineties. There was a conclusion that there were people into this. I knew there were people in country, driving around in jacked up trucks listening to rap, country and rock. This generation grew up with hip hop music as prominent. If anything, I was maybe just the first person to identify. And I don’t think it will stop. Just evolve. Hip hop has evolved into so many styles. The way I think about it is – don’t get upset about what’s on the radio. You know, the ‘this ain’t real this or that’. Everything is available. You wanna listen to traditional hip hop? Believe me, it is easy to find. You wanna listen to traditional family country music? Believe me, it’s easy to find. But there’s more variety now with the whole thing. What we do is naturally in line with that. If the kids love it, then it isn’t going away. This isn’t bizarre to them.
Plans for the summer months? Promotion, touring?
I’m going out west in July. I try to get out to West Coast twice a year. I’m doing shows every weekend. The south and Midwest. That’s what my life is right now and I’m grateful for it.
You are considered a trailblazer, a pioneer of the country rap movement. Final thoughts on that status?
Honestly I certainly look at myself as one of the originators of it and it’s cool. It’s cool when I talk to these younger guys and I gave them some hope in it. It’s flattering, but at the end of the day – it don’t pay the bills ya know. That pioneer title and dollar fifty will get you a Coca Cola! I’m grateful, but at the end of the day it’s about exchanging cultures and making this world a better place. I’m grateful to be doing what I love and able to make a living off it.
My music is very rooted in hip hop.