Since 1991 only one white rapper has sold more than one million copies of a single album. In the past 12 years (post Vanilla Ice) only one white rapper has attained platinum status: Eminem. For all of you out there that subscribe to the theory that white artists in hip-hop are rapidly gaining control of the culture due to their ability to be more commercially viable to the white masses than their black and brown counterparts, you might be surprised to know that for the one Eminem commercial breakthrough, there has been a seemingly endless list of Caucasian artists
who have never even surpassed 100,000 copies of a single album sold (El-P, Non-Phixion, Cage, Copywrite, and Haystak, just to name a few).
In the late-90’s (pre Slim Shady LP) Bubba Sparxxx too was one of those white MC’s trying desperately to be heard. After the first version of his debut album, Dark Days, Bright Nights was released independently, Bubba’s album landed in the hands of white rapper guarantor and Interscope Records CEO, Jimmy Iovine. The man who discovered Eminem (kinda sorta) decided to pass the Southern spitter’s album to super producer Timbaland.
Due to an industry that believes white MCs have to be "shepherded" into the game by black producers and artists to somehow pacify typical wary receptions by the hip-hop community, Jimmy knew Bubba would need to be paired with Timbaland, much in the same way Eminem was paired with Dre, to attempt to ward off the whispers of ineptness that are seemingly ever-present around any melanin deficient MC.
Fortunately for LaGrange, Georgia’s most famous MC the hook-up with Timbaland could not have been a better (and more natural) union, as Bubba was made the charter artist of Timbo’s Beat Club Records in 2001. The label re-released Bubba’s indie disc with some fresh new Tim concoctions, and faster than you could say "Ugly," Bubba had himself a gold plaque. Now the founder (that’s right founder) of the New South Movement is gearing up for the September release of his sophomore album, Deliverance, an album who’s objective is best summed up by Bubba on one of the new set’s selections, "Nowhere:" "It all comes down to this, one last chance to advance / beyond the second round of the big dance / all my plans / of being viewed as something special, more than just the other one"
Allhiphop.com: So what can our readers expect to hear when they pop Deliverance into their stereos?
Bubba Sparxxx: Its just a real, real, real, real, thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly painted picture of rural life, and particularly Bubba Sparxxx rural life, what my life was like growing up, what its like now, and what ultimately I hope it can be in the future.
Allhiphop: I noticed theres not really a club banger like Ugly on this album, so whats the game plan to draw people to Deliverance?
Bubba Sparxxx: I cant really say that I set out to not make another song like Ugly, but as we went along we realized we just werent making those kind of records. I think maybe I was a little pissed off this time, cause I knew how much more I was than what some people perceived me as. So I had a little chip on my shoulder when I went back into the studio. I went back in there with some purpose, Timbaland went back in there with some purpose, Organized Noize went in there with some purpose, and so this album happens to have a more serious, less club-happy tone, thats just what it is. T-Mo from the Goodie Mob said on Goodie Mobs first album, taking what I say for what its worth, it dont matter cause how I feel might be two different thoughts I had in the past. So I might feel on the next album, I might work with Lil Jon on half the album.
Allhiphop: Do you think this more serious tone is gonna prevent some people from gravitating towards the album, harder to get those sales?
Bubba Sparxxx: Man one thing I learned, I had about as big a club song as you can have and I went Gold, in between Gold and Platinum. I was just determined to have substance this time, thats originally the music I set out to make. And at the end of the day, if this album dont sell one copy, and thats not to say I dont hope it sells 50 million, but if it dont sell one copy I can lay my head down on that pillow at night and go to sleep with ease cause I made my music. Thats a great feeling, thats the feeling of freedom.
Allhiphop: I have an advance copy of the album, but a lot of people have already heard the whole record via the online leak. Are you planning to record any new songs for the retail version of Deliverance?
Bubba Sparxxx: Initially I wanted to when I heard it had been leaked, but as times gone on Ive just bumped into so many people on this promo tour who say theyve heard the whole album and say we had this perception of you but now that we hearing the album we love this sh*t. At least people who are getting it are loving it.
Allhiphop: You may just want to keep the album the way it is because in the September 03 issue of XXL they nearly pronounced Deliverance a classic. So how did it feel to read that?
Bubba Sparxxx: Based on the words they wanted to give that album a XXL, but they knew there would be a backlash. But Im still appreciative; its still a great review.
Allhiphop: So how does it feel to have the critical love this time that maybe you didnt have the first time?
Bubba Sparxxx: Its something that I enjoy obviously, and honestly I wish that The Source was a little less biased at this point cause I grew up reading The Source and I wish I could get a fair review from them.
Allhiphop: Lets address that, I already asked Haystak about this but I never got a chance to ask you what your impression was of the March 03 issue of The Source that labeled you and Stak hip-hop infiltrators?
Bubba Sparxxx: I gotta go along with what Stak said, if Im an infiltrator show me. I really dont give a damn about what anybody says about me, I wasnt upset about being called an infiltrator, I know I love this culture, I know Im gonna do everything it takes to preserve this culture, I make creative, ground-breaking music, so Im preserving this culture. I hate being called a failure, call me whatever you want but dont say I failed. Sorry Bubba Sparxxx and Haystak, dont say I failed, I sold 750,000 records, Benzino sold 50,000 talking all that sh*t.
Allhiphop: I think the only reason you even got mentioned to begin with is just cause youre an Interscope artist.
Bubba Sparxxx: Then why did Haystak get mentioned?
Allhiphop: Good point, I dont know, hes the next Big Punisher and they just wanted to hate probably, cause theyre bluer than Papa Smurf sipping Hypnotic.
Bubba Sparxxx: (laughs) I know man, how could you not love Haystak, hes done everything so by the book as far as coming up thru the independent seen, so how could you hate on that man.
Allhiphop: You know whats even worse is now they got crackers singing R&B songs, like for instance your homeboy Justin Timberlake. So what was it like working with that infiltrator on your new album?
Bubba Sparxxx: Aww man J.T. aint no infiltrator, J.T. is the truth baby. J.T. got real talent, you cant front on talent, you can front on anything but you cannot front on talent.
Allhiphop: Unlike some mags youre actually trying to bring black and white hip-hop artists together via the movement youve christened New South. Please explain to the folks out there what New South is.
Bubba Sparxxx: Well the New South is by no means a reality; New South is a vision for the future. People 100 years from now will behave based on the trends we start today, just like were still paying for the mistakes of our ancestors down here in the South, being a white cat, from 150 years ago. And theres still rage, deservingly so, down here from that. So based on the changes we can make today, the trends we can set today, theres hope for the future 100-150 years from now. Basically the New South is just to dispel all of the negative stereotypes associated with the Old South, with the understanding that those stereotypes still exist. That can refer to rural backwardness, race relations, poor education, you know just everything, just trying to show that the South still has a long way to go in all those departments, but weve also come a long way.
Allhiphop: Youre gonna love this next question; whos Jimmy Mathis?
Bubba Sparxxx: Jimmy Mathis is my Pop. Thats my Pops man.
Allhiphop: Was he digging the song?
Bubba Sparxxx: Hes one of these cats that sits back off his dirt road and dont bother nobody, he dont really wanna be bothered, so he was a little concerned when he first heard the record, having all of those people saying his real name. But slowly hes come around, we got him in the video at the end part, hes one of the two older gentlemen sitting out in front of the house, hes the one on the right.
Allhiphop: And finally, this may be ancient history, but I dont know if you ever got a chance to respond to another MC with three Xs at the end of his name who claimed your name was bitin. Any response to Freddie Foxxx?
Bubba Sparxxx: I aint never even heard nothing about that. What did he say?
Allhiphop: I dont have the quote in front of me so I dont wanna put words in his mouth, but he said something to that effect, that your name was bitin him.
Bubba Sparxxx: Nah, thats ridiculous.