Where Are They Now?: Spice 1
Coast Gangsta rap veteran Spice 1 is not a grumpy old
man. But dude is pissed about the state of the music he has spent the greater
part of two decades etching with his thought-filled hardcore rhymes.
the early '90s, coming in on the back of a well-known Bay area comrade Too
Short, Spice quickly established himself with memorable joints like "187 Proof ," "In My Neighborhood" and
"Welcome to the Ghetto." Obtaining a slot on the Jive Records roster
two years out of high school, the Hayward, CA native felt fairly quickly
the woes of labels pressure versus an artist's fight to protect his own raw
releasing a chart-topping self-titled major label debut, platinum plaques, and
over a million records sold, Spice 1 still found himself chasing his dream
without the backing of Jive and the commercialized Rap music machine. Since
then he has learned the independent game brick-by-brick from the ground up,
released more than 15 solo albums and spawning his own Thug World imprint¾this
year marks the label's first album in his sixteenth solo Home Sweet Home.
recovering from a gun shot to the chest from an
attempted carjacking in 2007 that left him in critical condition, Spice 1 takes
his life and his music a whole lot more seriously these days. No wonder the
voice that once inspired 2Pac, finds it hard to have sympathy for all the pop
star wannabe rappers in rotation now.
AllHipHop.com: Why do you
think it seems like you have been gone from the game, but in fact you never
Spice 1: Because I
guess all of my projects since I've been off Jive in the '90s have been
independent projects. I've just been putting out as much material as I can to
stay afloat, keep my fans happy and keep something out there. But most of the
material I've been dropping has been independent underground projects. They're
probably mainstream, listening to some of that kiddy a** s**t, that's probably
why they haven't heard. Those motherf**kas are too busy listening to the damn radio and listening
to that fake s**t everybody tells them they're supposed to listen to, when the
real s**t is on the underground.
AllHipHop.com: Back in the
day you were sort of discovered by Too Short. But as an artist, why does it
seem like you quickly stepped out from Short's shadow while both of you were at
Jive together as a Bay Area artists?
Spice 1: Short was
definitely responsible for bringing me out and into the game. But we were both
different types of artists, both different as individuals. Jive really was
intending to corner the Bay real hard, but I've always been on my own s**t.
AllHipHop.com: People always
respect cats like Too Short, Dre, Pac, Cube and Snoop
as pioneers of the West Coast. Obviously you've been around a long time, do you
feel like people give you your props as a pioneer for the West?
Spice 1: To a certain
extent in the streets, yeah. But in the industry, no. I
think a lot of these industry cats, real n****s in the industry they'll give me
my props but these fake ass motherf**kas, no; they're not going to give me props because they
can't do what I can do. Some motherf**kas when they see a n***a that can
do something that they can't do, they want to hate on that s**t. But some real
n****s will see that and respect it. But most hate on that s**t, that's
probably why a n***a doesn't have his props like he is
AllHipHop.com: Does that
bother you at all?
Spice 1: It does bother
me, but what am I supposed to do? All I can do is keep
dropping albums. I mean, I'm arguing with certain people that don't even
know I had videos on MTV, or that I've been No. 1 on the Billboard three times
in a row on some gangsta s**t. It's motherf**kas that dont know I
sold half a million copies in one week. Some motherf**kas that dont even know I dropped my first album with no
features and went platinum. It's motherf**kas that dont even know that s**t and still want to
criticize me and say, "He's underground. He's a legend in his own mind, he
don't know s**t, and he ain't nobody."
are the motherf**kas that
need a swift kick, a long ass size 14 in they're ass. They need to go check
their rap history and see what a real n***a is about, because they're all stuck
on this jumping around, kiddy ass bulls**t. I'll put it this way, the only
reason I'm still in the industry is because I think that real rap music has the
chance to come back.
AllHipHop.com: People look at
artists today like Lil' Wayne and all the high volume of mixtape
material and collabos he's had in recent years but
over the course of your career you have released over 14 or 15 solo albums
almost year after year, not to mention collabos and
compilations since the early '90s. What has kept you going, staying consistent
in the game for so long?
Spice 1: Just that right there, the point of being able to crush other MCs
and the wack ass rappers. Just being able to smash on
fake n****s keeps me motivated to do this. I'm just waiting on one of these
non-rapping ass n****s to say something so I can eat theyre ass up. Show them
how a real rap artist gets down instead of all these n****s rapping about all this fake ass s**t that they rap about, that's the only
thing that keeps me motivated. That and the money, taking care of my kids and
having a nice life, that's fine but you're supposed to have that in life
anyway. Your goal is supposed to be for some real stuff, not all this, "I
get money, I got b*tches," and thats it. That's
not what life is all about. Some of these motherf**kas think that's what it is and that's all they can rap
about. They need to expand they're mind or something.
AllHipHop.com: When you were
being picked up by Jive in 1992, you were only 21 years old. Talking about the
streets and a lot of hardcore stuff at such a young age, creatively, how were
you able to release so much of that type of music on a major label?
Spice 1: It's just so
much to talk about. I constantly write and I'm always thinking about something
to say, s**t is always in the back of my head. It's just f**ked up because I'll
be touching on valid points and the s**t doesnt get heard because of a lack of
marketing and promotion. Thats
why I don't understand where they come in with this fake ass funny rap s**t.
Reggae music had substance, even pop music had substance, they talk about the
real life. Rock music has substance, but this s**t that these n****s are
rapping about has no substance to song, and its not music. It's not feeding my
soul like its supposed to.
my whole point about this, these youngsters, they want a motherf****r
to respect them. N***a, eat me up on the mic and then
I'll respect you! Like all that ol' Soulja Boy s**t, man that ain't no battle. I ain't dissing that little
n***a. I don't have time to be dissing no punk puny
ass b***h ass n***a, I'm an OG, a real gangsta. I
don't have time to argue with no little kid, but as far as a
n***a having skills, I can respect that. Back in the day if a
n***a even thought about dissing a respected rapper
like Ice T would get handled, he is a straight OG. And as far as a motherf**ka not knowing how to rap at all, I can respect a n***a getting his paper but he is lying to the game and
the fans. I think they're being cheated because the n***a
can't rap his way out of a plastic bag. But they're buying his s**t,
thinking it's the business, and the radio is playing that s**t all hard.
AllHipHop.com: The Spiceberg Slim album marked your first
release since Let It Be Known that
you were without the backing of a major label. After leaving Jive, did going
independent make things harder or easier for you to do your thing?
Spice 1: I was 21 when
I dropped my first CD, and I was on a major label. I didn't know s**t about [the]
independent game at all when I got off Jive. All I knew was major label
signing. So I kind of had to start all over. And all the way until I was 27,
when I got off of Jive it was '99 and I was released into the water where the
sharks were. I was sheltered by the major labels for
so long, by the time they let me out into the wild, I didnt know how to
had to learn how to work it, market, distribute, promote and I had to learn how
to do all that independently all over again. That's why it took me so long to
get me back to the point where I am now, comfortable with the independent s**t.
I had to learn that again and on top of that deal with getting shot, going to
jail, my pops passing away and my momma having cancer.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have
Spice 1: Well I just
really wish I would have known more at my age, but that was impossible at that
age, to know how to run a record label at 21 years old. All I could do then was
write music and perform. As far as knowing the business, I never went to
college for that or anything, I had to learn from
on-hand experience. There are a few regrets but the most thing that came off
the regrets is that I got what I wanted, respect and to respect my mind. As far
as my props, real n****s give me those and the fake n****s are going to hate.
AllHipHop.com: Being in the
game for so long, how do you feel about the industry today? And even coming out
of your own hood with the hyphy movement, what do you
think of these new bloods, when you talk about substance?
Spice 1: Again when you
talk about substance, it's just sort of like I'm here, I'm the s**t, I've got
my hands in the air, (What! What! What!) That is what the hyphy
movement is about to me. It's all about partying, dancing and jumping up and
downthats fine. But I grew up listening to Marvin Gaye and real s**t.
So I feel that music should have some type of substance or soul and I'm not
getting it from this hyphy movement, I'm not getting
it from crunk music, I'm not getting it from nothing
but motherf**kas like Pac,
Scarface, the older rap artists. And it doesnt have anything to do with their age, I mean we were 21 years old writing songs like
"Welcome to the Ghetto." So why can't one of these 21-year-old motherf**kas write s**t like that
are they too busy writing about some bulls**t that don't make any damn sense in
their 20s? They're too busy
worrying about how much ass they're going to get and how many b***hes are going to be on their nuts, when that isn't even
important. What would n****s rap about if we were in the middle of World War IV¾their cars and b***hes?
They don't know nothing about real life. I'm just
looking at it like f**k the cars, f**k the b***hes
and f**k the money, now write your rap.
AllHipHop.com: It's been
nearly two years now since you were shot. Did that happening change anything
for you in your life or your career? How has it affected you?
1: To keep it real, it just made me want to shoot the next motherf**ka
that walks past me. And it got me to the point, where I used to be like,
"That n***a has a gun, let me get the f**k out of his face." Now I
already know what that feels like, "You're going to have to use that motherf**ka." I can't say it has changed me in a
positive way, because I was already positive. It got me to the point where I
had to control myself because I'm mad as f**k this b***h ass n***a shot me and ran.
It was crazy too because I usually always carry my piece on me and that just
happened to be the day I didn't. A lot of people would think it would make a n***a soft, but it actually put about 30 pounds on me, so
I am bigger than I was before.
it made me write more real s**t, of course I wrote real s**t before. But it
really made me want to come harder and realer than ever before. I'll tell you
one thing though, I'm happy it was a b***h ass n***a that
shot me, I'll tell you that much. Because if it was a real n***a, I wouldn't be
talking to you right now.
AllHipHop.com: Also you're
preparing to release a new album this year Home
Sweet Home on your own label, what can people expect from it?
Spice 1: They can
definitely expect for my s**t to not sound like everybody else. I aint dissing
nobody on there and there is no T-Pain on my s**t. Everybody is trying to sound
like T-Pain now, but I'm giving him his props. My fans can actually look
forward to hearing something different. My music has always been the soundtrack
to my life, I'm not copying anybody. We also have
Scarface, Devin the Dude, Katt Williams, Daz Dillinger, David Hollister from Blackstreet,
San Quinn and Clyde Carson, and a few more local cats. There is a going to be
some L.A. cats and we're going to get [Too] Short on there. I didnt want too
many features but that's enough.
Be looking for Home
Sweet Home, sometime in July and we're going to start pushing the single
called "Candy." It's like a "187 Proof" but I made women
sound like different candy. It's hot s**t, for the ears of females, males,
young and old. Right now, we're in the process of getting Thug World together
and I signed myself to my own label. This album is the first album I'm dropping
on that label, so I'm putting more energy, blood, sweat and tears into this one
than I did for damn near all of my albums put together.