My favorite part of the ‘net is the interaction. Honestly, if I didn’t know so many people in cyberspace, I probably wouldn’t spend so much time in it. Or, on it. But, since I do, & have for years, I have the pleasure rubbing shoulders with musicians & rappers & artisans that I would’ve never encountered in the
MarQ Spekt is a Hip Hop artist from Philadelphia, & we’ve frequented the same innerspace Hip Hop scene for some years. Between drops on HipHopDX & keeping it real on Twitter, I’ve watched Spekt’s movement grow. So much so that this Thursday, he’s off to start a tour, but we’ll get to that later.
For the record, MarQ isn’t the run-of-the-mill young rap dude trying to hustle his way to an easy come up. It’s quite the opposite. Spekt is bringing the lost lyrical elements of rap music’s heralded hey days back to the forefront of the present. Everything isn’t all swag & gun charges, if you smell my cologne.
Before MarQ hit the road for his tour, I caught up with him for a minute to pick his brain.
Tony Grands: Give the readers & your fans a brief background on you & what/who/where you represent.
MarQ Spekt: My name is Marcus Respekt, Big Broady, MarQ Spekt. I’m just a kid from the East Coast who moved out, traveled and tasted the globe. I stay flavorful. Write rhymes & ideas & rack up sky miles.
Born in West Phila[delphia]. I represent myself. My clique is the School of Sharks. I was that kid who grew up walking to the corner store, buying BBQ potato chips, Quarter waters, & battling on the Donkey Kong games. Grounded, but looking from an aerial view.
TG: Who are you listening to these days?
MS: Beats!!! [&] The project I’m working on, “Persona Non Grata.” Other than that, a mix of different things. Lotta Brazilian jazz, Prodigy HNIC2, The Styles P Vs. Lloyd Banks mixtape my dude DJ OP just put out, this NWL project my dudes Deacon & Sheisty put out, lotta School of Sharks… Just trying to stay inspired, knawmean!? I am copping that KA “Grief Pedigree” album & I’ll probably download Freck Billionaire’s mixtape. Music is my life G, so I’m constantly surrounded by music. I’m watching Soul Train and listening to beats as we build right now.
TG: RIP Don Cornelius. & pardon this horrible segue, but do you think Hip Hop is dead?
MS: Hell No. Hip Hop culture is still alive and well to me, but that’s because we are this Culture. No matter what, the culture is thriving and is a part of everyday life. Everywhere. It’s inescapable. I do feel like the essence has gone from it’s core but it definitely still exists. By essence leaving the core I mean that it has aged. It’s spread & changed. Change is inevitable. There are aspects of change you’re going to love & there are aspects you’re going to hate.
TG: Hip Hop is definitely changing. Still, it seems like a lot of people want “the 90’s” – or The Golden Era – to make a come back. I don’t think that feeling can be recreated ever again, personally. What’s the biggest difference between then & now?
MS: Wow, yeah. I mean it was a pure era. We were all younger. It was really, really flourishing in it’s essence. More classic records were made during the 90’s than any other era thus far. People always go back to the 90’s with their comparisons because that’s the gold standard. The 90’s will never exist again. The corporations wouldn’t want that either artistically. Feed the people some applesauce instead of letting them eat an apple. They found a way to synthesize it and get more for less artistically. There are some folks maintaining, but this isn’t how I imagined the future of Hip Hop where it’s either dumbed down lyrics or some real tender singing microwave shit. They gotta stop tampering with these people’s brain waves man. Especially them 40 plus year old dudes trying to relate to the 16 & 17 year olds. It’s like they ain’t teaching. They going through a mid-life crisis & they just agreeing with some fuckery.
TG: Speaking of “crisis,” what’s your take on all the violence in & around the music recently. It’s almost commonplace to open Google News & read about a couple of “rappers” getting killed a day? What’s that all about?
MS: Violence has existed long before & will exist long after. People are rappers. Rappers are people. Shit happens with people, man. I think the technology is just easier to get a hold of now. It’s easier to know what’s going on & broadcast things. Kodak folded because everyone has a camera & everyone is using their cameras to broadcast the life. In life, people get hurt. A lot of kids are rappers… Shit, there are more rappers than fans these days! So yeah, violence is unfortunately just a part of life, fam.
TG: The ‘net has given the common fan a platform, to do everything from compliment to complain. Do you think this accessibility hinders or helps the creative processes of an artist? Is social media a distraction?
MS: It can be a distraction if you let it but at the same time I think it’s a good thing. I’ve been blessed to have had a voice on different angles of the web. From speaking on content to actually being a part of the content. It’s been helping me build & it can be a nice stream of passive income. Shouts to Bandcamp! Shouts to Ebay, Shouts to Craigslist! Salutes to Paypal. You know what I mean. Outside of just running your mouth, if you’re enterprising enough you can make a nice lil piece of change. You can write and make some change. You can connect with people worldwide. It’s a wonderful thing. I look at it from the hustle aspect because your voice can get you money & different perks. That should keep you driven and on point to succeed not only as an artist but to get you paid for the energy & effort you put into your art.
TG: As far as the art goes, what’s your oldest, fondest Hip Hop memory? & your least memorable moment?
MS: Wow…. Probably have too many. Oldest though, I remember sitting on my stoop as a lil kid maybe like 5yrs old & it being night time & we had a lil radio playing music & the lil neighborhood kids were with me just vibing, sitting on the stoop listening to the music. Years later I remember when “Glaciers of Ice” from “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx” came out & I had went to a house party with my man Art. They had a open mic & I remember I got on that shit & was just freestyling, flowing & there was this group & we went back & forth & the crowd was just getting live. Some people ain’t even know it was us spitting live. They thought it was part of the records. Met a couple lil chicks, burned out & swerved. Great Night! Least memorable was in like 1993. I was again at a house party & this crab dude was rhyming on the mic, aiming at me & some other people. I ain’t have no rhymes ready in my head to rip him. I think that memory is one that always drove me to be prepared. I was a kid, but still I felt like I should have been ready to go in.
TG: Do you think the East Coast/West Coast rivalry would’ve escalated if the instigators had access to tools like twitter & facebook back then? Or do you think cooler heads would’ve been able to calm the situation before we lost two of the greatest MC’s?
MS: Good question, but who knows. The world is different because of that beef. Very hard to say. I’m glad we didn’t have this then though because folks got a chance to live really, really purely & having to really show & prove to get the real credit. There was a verbal internet & your name had to have respect & merit to even travel & ring bells like that. Pac and Big on the internets?! Naw I can’t see it!
TG: What advice would you give any up & coming MC/rappers?
MS: Stay focused. Stay hungry. Channel your aggression. Realize that this shit is hard work. It may seem easy & may come easy to some because of connections & so forth, but to really take a foothold & get broad respect it takes work & putting your money where your mouth is. Every action having an equal & opposite reaction is real science. It takes time so be prepared to put work in. Everything counts. No opportunity is too small when you’re trying to succeed. Anything moving you forward is a positive. People who are not moving will hate on your feet moving & go out of their way to ignore you. If you get to the point where they can’t ignore you they’ll try to destroy you, slander you, & disrespect you, & they don’t even really know you. Even in this digital world try to keep your mouth tight as possible & never discuss your business.
Spekt on Tour:
2/16 FT. Collins, CO
2/17 Denver, CO
2/18 New Orleans, LA
3/2 Lexington, KY
3/16 Austin. TX
3/23 St Louis,MO
3/29 Atlanta, GA
California sometime in April…