featured interview

Spectac Looks like a job for... After an already impressive amount of more than 25 years in the game, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth in the epic action-adventure 'Spectac Returns', a soaring new chapter in the saga of one of the world's most beloved super rap heroes. Although not really 'new', it was already finished a few years ago but never got released- the album, with production by 9th Wonder and Khrysis a.o., brings the Edutainer back under your most-deserved attention.

Wassup Spectac?

Lots! Just finished filming my third video which is the first from the 'Spectac Returns' project. Still enjoying the accolades and positive reviews from the 'Almost Famous' project with Amiri.

'Spectac Returns' finally releases. Relieved?

Absolutely, it's been a long time coming. But honestly it's more excitement and anticipation than relief. Domination Recordings was excited about the album and had expressed an interest quite some time ago. Needless to say, when I saw that we would be releasing it they came to mind as the first label to approach.

It was originally titled 'Starring as Superman for a Day, Clark Kent for Life'. Why did it get switched?

The change in title was only due to suggestions by the record manufacturer regarding copyrights, Superman's still pretty popular you know (laughs)! All and all it's still the same album in its entirely.

What's the meaning of the phone booth on the cover; that you disappear in it and come back like Superman?

Yeah, of course it's a reference to Clark Kent transforming to Superman in the phone booth. Keep in mind over here in the States phone booths are a thing of the past and something you rarely see nowadays. I think it gives a nice flavor to the album cover by letting people know that what they'll hear, musically, is just as rare.

I also saw a reference to He-Man in your 'Mass Effect' video, to what extent are you inspired by the 'hero culture'?

Every rapper at the core is an alter ego (laughs)! There's no rapper that performs outside of his or her hero persona. Hip-hop culture has always boasted its share of hero and villains.

So are you a comic book adept too?

Of course! Even in my college days I spent money on comics when the homeboys were spending theirs on weed and liquor. Like the music comic books were a positive form of escapism.

Tell us more about your mind- and timeframe during the creation of this album.

When I was working on this project I was a high school assistant principal. A suit and tie administrator by day but still rocking the mic - hence the original name for the album.

It is said that, as a teacher, you used comparisons between hip-hop and Renaissance artists as tools to help your students better understand historical figures. Could you gives us an example?

Sure thing. When I was teaching at the middle school I actually designed a curriculum for art history for that age group. I quickly discovered that it was not going to be easy teaching young students, who wanted to draw, about the history of art. One of my favorite things to do was take a popular hip-hop artist and do a cross-comparison with a Renaissance artist. Perfect example: Raphael Sanzio (the painter, ed.) and Tupac Shakur. Both men lived an extravagant lifestyle, buying the latest clothing designs -for their period- and indulging in all the latest fashions. They both especially liked the nightlife and unfortunately died at a very young age. For children in any generation the best methods for teaching them is connecting their studies to things that are relevant to them.

Ever performed in the school where you taught?

Yes I did! I tried to maintain a balance and would like to think that I did a good job doing so. In my line of work it was important to maintain professionalism, besides I didn't want the 'rapping' principal to become a novelty.

Are there any rap courses in your school?

(laughs) Not yet, but one never knows. Actually my current is education training so I don't get the one on one student/teacher time I was used to having as a school administrator.

Have you read a lot of hip-hop books that could as well be used for educational purposes, books that contain a more theoretical content, like 'Book Of Rhymes', 'Check The Technique',...?

Over the last several years I've been doing work with this education program/workshop called Flocabulary. I was introduced to them by 9th Wonder and went on to record several CD's with them that speak directly to using hip-hop music to teach the youth. I've seen a lot of similar programs out there but there's is by far one of the most effective to-date (with research to support it- www.flocabulary.com).

Are there any other teachers you know off that use the same (hip-hop) techniques?

Nah! (laughs) For right now it's just me but if any other educators are open to learning new strategies for reaching the youth through hip-hop let's talk!

What rapper is popular now in high school?

Serious... take your pick... Lil Wayne, T-Pain, what's that Superman kid name, yellin out he got his swagger on? From the Eddy Cane song on 'Almost Famous'?

Euhm. Slick Boy Ziggy? Euh.so what musicians did you look up to while being in high school?

Tracy Chapman, Bob Marley, the Motown sound but I'm sure we're talking hip-hop right! (laughs) I was loving Big Daddy Kane, Tribe, De-La-Soul, Latifah, Shante, MC Shan... and I can keep on...

Did you discover any rap talents amongst your students?

Yeah my son Strict and his producer Nix, who happens to have produced the last track on the Spectac Returns project titled 'Your Eyes'. They make a great team and they both love the art-- and that's half the battle.

So your son raps too.

He's a rare breed- definitely self-motivated and extremely gifted writer. While his music may not have that deep underground appeal I truly feel like once he's heard by the masses we'll have a next contender for the throne - King...! Us together again on a track; I'm pretty sure that'll happen. Look for him on the road with me when I come out to Belgium!

You're from South Carolina, but you had the chance to move to the Big Apple. Do you often think of how your life would look like when you would've went to NY?

All the time! I can really get deep on this one but I'll just say this; we often think we know what lies ahead for us but the truth is we don't. I believe that a higher power moves us all and we just somehow think it's our doing. I'm personally thankful he moved me down a path of education and teaching the youth-- no regrets!

'Looks Like Another Job for Spectac' is a twist on Big Daddy Kane's 'Looks Like A Job For' album title right?

You know it actually hit me about two-three weeks ago that his album was similarly titled. Being a huge fan, as stated earlier, I'm sure that slogan was dancing in my subconscious when I decided on the title of the album.

Kane is also on the album. How did you hook up?

My man JD, a longtime friend, actually connected me with Kane. I also used to run into him all the time at a local jazz club in the Carolinas that we both frequented. We actually had a great time recording the single... I mean being in the lab with a legend like Kane- priceless.

What album would you suggest people who want to get to know your work?

The 'Spectac Returns' is the most recent release and it's the project that I'm focused on at this minute. Amiri and I will be back in the lab for a 2011 release tentatively titled 'Our Time'. Just keep supporting and I'll keep the heat coming!

There was an article of Almost Famous on iTunes Front page in Belgium so you were really famous right?

(laughs) Hey, is that a joke? I guess it's everybody's dream to be famous on their home turf but I'll take it how I can get it (laughs)!

What rappers are you listening to these days?

(laughs) Ready for this? Plies and Rick Ross (long story), shhhhhhhhhhh! When I'm ready to hear what I best identify with, I just throw on the Pete Rock and CL and 'Reminisce'.

What's the first rap album you bought?

Run DMC '? Run DMC

What's next for Spectac?

2010, pushing the new album 'Spectac Returns: Looks Like Another Job for Spectac' and 2011 rocking with Amiri on the 'Almost Famous' follow-up CD.

Shout-outs?

God, family, friends and fans!

Thanks!

 

POSTED 09|12|2010
conducted by cpf

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