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MarQ Spekt Grilchy Face 'I'm a progressive person', MarQ Spekt confesses in this interview. It's true, he's progressive in every sense of the word. Always looking forward, always on the grind, always grilchy. On his latest collaboration with CunninLynguist beat wizzard Kno, the Broady Champ busts raps and shares opinions sharp as a machete, cleaving through Kno's obscure melancholic production. 'This is a real organic, indie, ground floor movement', Spekt describes 'MacheteVision', and his music in general. 'This album dropped like two months ago, but it isn't a microwave meal. People will hear this a year from now with fresh ears and be like 'That's some new shit!' It's like any other recording of the Atlanta MC. Although he's been recording raps for over a decade now. Whether being signed to the critically acclaimed underground imprint Sub Verse Music, wreckin stages with his Broady Champs crew or making noise alongside Karniege as the Invizzibl Men, Spekt spits freshness, re-invinting himself with every bar he drops...

It's a public secret that Kno is not an easy guy to get a hold of, let alone to work with, due to his perfectionism and the fact that he can lock himself up while working on several projects. How did you manage to make a full album with him though?

Maaaaaan! Shit was hard because during the process of this album he finished his solo album 'Death is Silent' and a full length CunninLynguists album. As well as production for Freddie Gibbs and others, so he was extremely busy. Luckily I'm not the type of artist who needs someone to hold his hand. I got over 40 beats from Kno and picked the best 10, then worked on those. When I was able to catch him I had to go in the studio and go in! Like knock out multiple tracks at once. Then he went on tour and came back with new tracks he wanted to do, so we went back in. This album 'MacheteVision' was like an ill side project that we both had fun with and gave pretty much 50/50 on. This isn't just a regular Spekt album, nor is it a regular Kno album. It's a mesh of both of us. I'm blessed for the experience.

Kno had the final decision in selecting the tracks for this project?

We recorded more songs but that's where an executive producer comes in and says; 'This fits, this doesn't fit'. If it was up to me I would have included some different joints like this one joint called 'If I Didn't Love You' where I spit some murder, probabely some of my favourite verses, but it didn't fit. And this joint called 'Crime Seen' featuring Kno that ultimately didn't fit. He had executive decision with some input from me, but he crafted the album to flow well enough for people to want more.

The people seem to like it. There's even a fan made video of the intro track...

I saw that, and shit is really dope too. I was really humbled by it. I've been getting some feedback from folks that the things I've been doing lately really inspire them. There's no bigger compliment than that. Remember these are ideas you have in your head, that you get out and people feel it. There's no greater pay off than when folks start feeling your wavelength.

When's the first official video off the album coming?

Hopefully soon, but remember this is a real organic, indie, ground floor movement. Time doesn't matter. It's only an illusion. There isn't any industry shit wit this. We build with the audience directly. This album dropped like two months ago, but it isn't a microwave meal. People will hear this a year from now with fresh ears and be like 'That's some new shit!' Remember some of those verses and beats on the album are some years old before the public even heard it. Time is meaningless. With that being said, you may see some visuals soon. But again 'soon' could be next week or 'soon' could be four months from now. It doesn't matter, because when you see it, everything is going to be like new.

Action Bronson and Meyhem Lauren were some of 2011's breakthrough artists, what made them the perfect guests for this album?

I've seen a lot of people come and go. A lot! These were cats I saw from the beginning ground floor stages of their movement and supported just from the standpoint of I'm a fan of their work and the movement they're pushing. I'm cool with both of them as well. I didn't want to do a lot of features on the record. Initially I wanted none. I reached out to them, they showed a lot of love and respect and they contributed. I appreciate them and want to see them succeed. I'm just glad people are starting to catch on to their movement now. Hopefully I'll have some new works with them in the future as well. Don't sleep on AG the Coroner either! Good dude and a 'problem' on the mic.

On the track 'Opium Den' you're rapping 'I try to tell em / They ain't tryin' to listen yo / Mama still praying to Obama to give her hope'. As of today (January 4th 2012, ed.) the Republican pre-elections have begun...what do you expect from the upcoming presidential elections?

Well it's an election year so I expect to hear a lot of lying from both parties. I wish the people were smarter but unfortunately everyone is programmed to function within the system and not look beyond it. Honestly, we're all fucking programmed. I just try to tune it out as much as possible. Obama or any president doesn't matter to me really. We still gotta get up, work and provide for our families regardless of who it is. Republican or Democrat. Some people I know made a lot of money during Reagan years, some made bread during Clinton years. You gotta focus on family, fuck politics! With Obama in office, has anything really changed?

'One man's hero is another man's terrorist'...who did you have in mind while writing this line? Bush, Osama,...?

Neither. It was a cultural statement. I've been fortunate enough to travel the world. Not just on some music shit, where you're shuffling around. But to actually experience different cultures and speak to people and sit with people. I've been to Muslim countries, Catholic countries, Buddhist countries etc. When I wrote that line it was basically like looking out of both sets of eyes. I wrote that but it wasn't specific to one person. It's just acknowledging all cultures and how they feel. It breaks down further though because even within ourselves there are people who love us and people who hate us and all we're doing is being ourselves.

We're entering 2012. What were some of the events in 2011 that striked you the most?

I'm a progressive person so a lot of things, trends and all that, I can see in advance. I noticed the word play coming back to the music. People are trying to say something and the Soulja Boy shit that folks were trying to emulate is going away. I like that. Look at Kendrick Lamar out West and Action Bronson and Meyhem Lauren out East. It's like folks are spitting hard again. We knew it would come back to that, but so many people chase what's 'hot now' and get caught up in the trends and shit and get washed away in it. They on the hamster wheel. I stay timeless as much as possible. Timberland, Polo, fly shit! Music the same.

You have a few websites, you did some freestyle writing, how important is it for a rapper to express himself outside the music?

It's very important because if your multifaceted you should be able to communicate on many levels. I don't just do music. That's a little slice of who I am as a person. I'm just a creative person. Whether it be painting something or writing my words down, it's just expression. It's all art. I get inspired and I express. I have many outlets. I also have a comic/magazine coming out with my homie GhettoManga who already has a site and magazine. I have a production project with my homie Lex Boogie where it's just beats we sat around and cooked up. I like to compare rapping to someone who goes out on Friday night and dances in the club. Yeah you can dance, but does that define everything you are? Are you just a dancer? I can rap, but 'rapper' is not how I would define myself. That term limits me actually.

You were rapping on J-Live's 'S.P.T.A.' album...

J-Live is my brother. We bond like we've known each other forever. Really good, good, humble dude. He inspires me as well. He reached out to me and I was like yo I got you. The he turned the beat on and I wrote that verse right on the spot. Laid it and wrote it within about 30 minutes.

The track has the great title 'Poetry In Ertia'. Another guest on that track is John Robinson of Scienz Of Life. That takes us back to late nineties, early noughties when you were signed with Sub Verse Music recorded tracks with ID 4 WIndz of Scienz Of Life, MF Doom, Big Juss, and first and foremost with your crew the Broady Champs...What do you remember from the legendary Rocksteady concert with Broady Champs in the Summer of 2001?

I remember we tore that shit down! I saw all kinds of up and coming artists losing their minds in the crowd. A young Immortal Technique and others. NY isn't a place that just gives out love like that, especially not then. So my label at the time Sub Verse had gave me some money and we got there and shut the Knitting Factory down. Chicks screaming in peoples faces -the publicist at the time Fiona Bloom told me that-, chicks trying to leave with us. All some underground shit, but the energy was crazy. We got interviewed for some magazine as soon as we got off stage. The first thing the head of Sub Verse said after the show was: 'Y'all killed it but I don't have enough money to sign your whole team'. He felt like we needed a big budget for what we were bringing to the table. I felt it too because my team was thorough. From the Bronx, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, New Jersey, North Carolina. Could you imagine if Broady would've got that deal? We had rappers intimidated. Some pretty well known one's too. So that's why I show respect and be peace now, because I know how we used to be. There's stories of Broady digging people's pockets, flashing guns at shows, slapping people up, mushing rappers at they own shows, and generally misbehaving and you know what? That rep kind of hurt us. I come in peace now. (laughs)

If we have to summarize the Sub Verse label debacle it comes down to this: you chose Broady Champs over a solo record deal?

No, I chose to be totally independent because I got tired of waiting for something that wasn't coming. I got lucky for whatever money I got out of that label. Because the money was flowing like water and it eventually dried up.

But then you signed a new record deal with DayByDay...were you not worried?

A fan connected with the label. They found one of the Broady mixtapes and contacted me about doing a deal. I only signed a licensing deal and a one-off album deal. It was basically just pressing and distro. We brought them the album ('Breakfast Of Champions', 2006, ed.) and they've put it out. We did some CMJ shows and some other shows but the support wasn't there internally or externally. It is what it was, but people still like that project.

Are you still in contact with MF Grimm?

Nope haven't spoken to him in a while. There's no bad blood though. I've copped the graphic novel he put out ('You Only Live Twice, 2010, ed.). He taught me a lot of different things. He's been around. But 'naw', I haven't spoken to him in a few years.

You mentioned before that the Broady Champs were from about everywhere, from Philly to Atlanta to New York. Nowadays it's easy to connect but how did y'all connect and communicate back then, coming from all over the US?

We all linked in Atlanta during that last Dungeon Family phase. We were doing battles and all that. Hell we were even in a televised battle that was hosted and judged by Andre 3000. And he said on stage that night, I quote 'ATL ain't never seen nothing like this before'. I was on stage amazed like damn Andre 3000 really vibing!

In our review of Broady Champ's 'Breakfast Of Champions' we wrote: 'Listen to this during your breakfast and you can start the day with a healthy amount of energy and persistence.' The album was really energetic and raw...after all those years why do you think that you can still manage to bring that energy all together?

We've only gotten better. Broady is School of Sharks now. We're still those dudes who really were out in the street cyphers and did whatever little knucklehead shit we did during the 90's. We still have that energy. Doesn't matter who's in the spot, we're always apparent with our energy. Nothing changed but the address (laughs) Nyce is Huey P Capone now, still working on shit. Buddy Leezle is in Philly killing shit right now. Lex Boogie is the in-house maestro. We still cooking. School of Sharks album coming soon and it's fucking banging!

What's the difference between Broady Champs and School Of Sharks?

School Of Sharks is a wider organization. We have designers like KhanArt Saint 48 in the team. My brother from the West Columbo Black, everyone from Broady, my man Karniege, my man Gotta Be Karim some other extended family. There are artists, visual and vocal on School of Sharks. It's a real network.

You made an album together with Kno, are there any chances you gonna make an album with Doom? You know Doom from the Sub Verse period and there's a track of you out now with Mobonix, produced by Doom...

'Bionic Jazz' is a project we working on now. MetalFace is family. The one rule about Metalface is don't discuss MetalFace business. Just check for 'Bionic Jazz' project. It's gonna be interesting. I'm sure you gonna hear some things that pique your interest.

The album's cover is one of the greatest album covers we've seen this year...who made it?

My man FluxWonda did the cover. He's brilliant. I try to keep art the focus of my projects. This is the third cover he's done for me. He also did 'Guilty Party' and 'BloodLust 2' which were free jawns I did for Backwoodz Studioz, just to release something. Expect more from him in the future. I may get him to do a cover for the 'Ghostmaker' re-release coming later this year.

Ah, your self-released solo debut 'Ghostmaker'! Along with your second solo album 'Pretty Weapons', we've been searching for it like mad!

I'm gonna sell those on Bandcamp soon. Like real real soon.

What more can we expect from you and yours in 2012?

I'm working on a project with InnerLoop records and my man J-Scrilla right now called 'Persona Non Grata', songs should be dropping for that soon. I'm working on 'Bionic Jazz' wit Mobonix and the MetalFace team. Yo Mobonix is sitting on some heat! Check for the Dark Monk as well. I'm working on a project called 'GutterFlyKnives' slated for the Summer and the School of Sharks album as well as various features. I'm busy right now. (laughs) But like my man Dallas Penn says 'Good work only leads to more work'. So I'm working right now! I guess folks felt 'MacheteVision' because I'm working. Also shipping out a lot of physical copies of the album. It's amazing how many people still want a physical product. But they want it and I'm thankful for it! I'm just staying busy, kid!


POSTED 01|05|2012
conducted by cpf

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