Spank Rock - Take Two
Sunday, 9 December 2007
They’re Baltimore Club superstars and they command a fervent fanbase inAustralia. Nevertheless, Spank Rockare in damage control after last summer’s Big Day Out no-show. 3D’s Cyclone finds out what happened.
Neither MC Spank Rock
nor Armani XXXchange materialised, leaving theirextended ‘fam’ to cover for them – and disappointing expectant fans. Hence theSpankgate controversy. Rumours abounded that Spank Rock’s MC, Naeem Juwan, wasembroiled in an airport security drama in New York. Once you discover the truth from the affable Naeem, it’s impossible notto forgive him. “I had this belt buckle in my bag that is in the shape of brassknuckles, but the bag wasn’t on me – I wasn’t trying to take it onto the planeor anything. It was just a bag that I had checked in.” Naeem was at the gate when he heard his name on loudspeaker, calling himto the luggage check-in. “I’m like, all right,” he picks up the story. “I godown there – and the police officers arrested me for having this belt buckle. “I spent the night in jail in Queens. Everything I had in the suitcasewas confiscated from me for about three days. “It kinda fucked up the whole trip, so I wasn’t able to make it outthere.” What astonished Naeem was that he’d traveled with the offending buckle,a gift from a Los Angeles company, several times beforewithout incident. “I’m being cocky like, ‘What- It’s a fuckin’ belt buckle – what’s thedeal-’” The incarceration was the worst. “The funniest thing is that I was all, like, tight jeans on and crazysneakers, this big colourful scarf – and I’m going to jail. It’s just like, Idon’t wanna go to jail looking like this!” However, Naeem is keenly anticipating his return to Australia, citing itas Spank Rock’s most supportive territory. As a group, Spank Rock are unorthodox. For their previous two tours Armani (Alex Epton)conducted interviews, although he’s primarily a studio rat. And thenSpankRock’s core members live outsideBaltimore – Naeem in Philadelphia and Alex in NY. Happily, they’re planning the follow-up to 2005’s YoYoYoYoYo – another mash-up of dirty hip hop, electro andhouse. “This winter I’m working on a second album,” Naeem confirms. “Ihaven’t really started so much yet. I have a few ideas – it’s in the works. “I would like the second album to be just as exciting as the first onewe put out. I think it’s a little hard to do now because a lot of other artistshave caught on and are beginning to use the formula that Alex and I created, sowe’re trying to see now. “It’s always just a long process to make something that you’re proud of,anyway. But, yeah, I’m working on it.” Meanwhile, the MC has teamed with Benny Blanco for the Bangers & Cash EP, a homage toMiami’s 2 Live Crew. It’s a solo project – but not a solo project. “It’s funny how people view ‘Spank Rock’ as a group – because I involveso many of my friends now and I really give them a lot of chance to shine,” hesays. “When it comes down to recording the album, Spank Rock is really mesitting and writing raps over beats that I choose for myself. So I feel likeit’s a solo project. It is a soloproject. But, when it’s all put together on stage and when it’s all marketed,it becomes a bigger thing because there are so many people involved.” WHO: Spank Rock
WHAT: Play Field Day in the Domain / Beck’s Bar, Sydney Festival / Banger &Cash EP through Downtown/Inertia
WHEN: Tuesday 1 January / Monday 7 January / Out in January
MORE: fuzzy.com.au / sydneyfestival.org.au