The Spooks: Faster Than You Know: Part 1

Three years ago, the

Spooks sprinkled the music scene and with their jazzy, hip hop single “Things

I’ve Seen,” and since than the group has seen major success in Europe

while they remain a talented mystery hear in the US. They’ve also lost one

member, but gained a taste for more tangible lyrics.

With their first

album in the last three years on the horizon, the Spooks’ Mr. Booka T spoke

to Allhiphop about the frustrations that come with not fitting the norm, the

publicity boost they got from Laurence Fishburne, and realizing that you cannot

feed babies steak.

Allhiphop: What

ya’ll been up to the last three years?

Spooks: A lot,

changing labels, building our studio and just perfecting our craft?

Allhiphop: What

does perfecting your craft entail, what do you mean by that?

Spooks: Learning

to engineer, we wanted to learn, in terms of recording our album ourselves,

we wanted to learn how to mix and do a little mastering as well as getting better

with our production game, we produced more on this album than we did on the

first…And we been trying to put some money in our pocket.

AllHipHop: For

those who don’t know, how did the Spooks get together?

Spooks: We got

together in 1995, I (Mr. Booka T) went to college with Ming at the School of

Visual Arts and grew up with Joe Davis in Philly and Hypno we met through a

mutual friend. We use to get together and do freestyle ciphers and rhyming and

shit like that back in Philly. People starting saying we sound cool together

and saying we should get together and do some jams. At the time I (Mr. Booka

T) was in a group with Joe Davis and Ming and Hypno was solo. Ming was only

suppose to be on two of the songs as a guest vocalist, but once we did those

two songs, it was obvious to everyone that she should stay. And then those two

songs turned into three songs, then ten songs and then we did a demo and we

became The Spooks. We got the name from this novel by Sam Greenlee called "The

Spook Who Sat By The Door." It's about this guy who infiltrates the CIA

to learn everything that he could about different spy tactics and gurella warfare

and takes that knowledge back to the gangs of Chicago and prepares them for

a revolution that he felt was coming and eventually it did happen. And in a

way that how we felt about trying to get into the music industry cause it was

difficult because ours sound was “alternative” to a lot of people

so a lot of labels didn’t really gives us a shot. So we figured we’ll

produce the album and still get in the door and push our agenda and not necessarily

change up and make the people come around to us, and not come around to what

was going on in the mainstream at that time, so we felt that our plight was

kinda similar to the main character in the novel, so we just called ourselves


Allhiphop: Have

there been any line up changes?

Mr. Booka T: Yeah

there was one line up change, the member Water is no longer with us…yeah

he's doing like a solo project.

Allhiphop: Are

there any hard feelings?

Mr. Booka T: Nah,

we still cool he’s still fam, he just working on his joint. When it comes

to Spooks, we have a certain vibe to the sound which is made up of everyone’s

ideas and input…but what Water wanted to do was totally different from

what we usually do…he wanted to go on a totally different path and he felt

that the best way for him to express himself in that way was to work on a solo,

and we were like cool. Just like we have another project we’re working

on called “Tongue Is this right,” which myself (Booka T), Ming and

Hypno so that’s another project we’re working on. We’re also

scoring a Broadway play, we can’t tell you the name of the play just yet,

but it’ gona be cool.