Before Headlining Pop That Tomorrow, Spank Rock Asks That We All Get Ready To Get Raw.
Two years removed from the release of his second album, Everything is Boring and Everyone Is A Fucking Liar, Naeem Juwan, better known as Spank Rock, has been quietly making a ton of new music.
In fact, all week long, and in advance of headlining tomorrow night's debut of our Pop That monthly at It'll Do, Juwan's been doing just that — making music — and doing so right here in Dallas with our friend DJ Shuttle, who'll also be on the decks on Friday.
And when we ourselves caught up with Juwan earlier this week, the Baltimore native, who's been a pioneer of sorts in merging his top-notch alternative rap skills with Baltimore club stylings and various other house genres into downright basement party anthems, he let us in on what he's been up to with Spank Rock for the past couple years — and, considering the progressions he made in the five years between his debut YoYoYoYoYo and the aforementioned sophomore LP, it's safe to say Spank Rock will shake things up a bit.
It's also safe to say that we're looking forward to his set at It'll Do, where Juwan says he'll be debuting some of his new material.
Check out our conversation with Juwan in full below.
What's going in your world these days, musically?
Just recording lots of new songs.
For any particular project?
No project. Just making tons of songs.
Where are you right now, creatively, in your music? You've always been a little more progressive than some others.
I think, this time, it's a step behind just because I'm taking it easy and having fun.
What do you have planned for the Pop That show on Friday?
I hope it feels really organic. I want it to feel like an old school party, y'know? I hope it comes across as just a raw party where I'm just like being the emcee for the night and it's not like a “show” show. I just wanna mill around and go on the dance floor with a microphone and really get loose with the people. I hope it feels like the '80s or early '90s, 'cause there's no other time like the early '80s when punk and rap and disco and post-punk and new wave were all kinda ramming into each other. That's exciting. That's when people were there just because they needed to express themselves and take a load off — not just standing around and taking pictures.
Is that how you see most events now? Just people showing up to take pictures?
Yeah. Sometimes it's hard to find a real vibe in a party and people are a bit self-conscious or not really living in the moment.
What are your intentions with the music you're making?
I don't really have any strong goals right now. On my last album, I felt like I had this angst and frustration. I thought I really knew what I wanted when I was done, and now I want to kinda have more of a relaxed, confident way of expressing myself where it's not very angsty. Like, I know what's good. I know that the things I wanna say or rap about have a place of importance in the time that we're in right now. The real goal right now is to make the music easy and make it feel good.
You said “the time that we're in right now.” What kind of time do you think we're in?
We're going through the same stuff as always, but it's just a more heightened sense of capitalism and a faster pace of being consumers. We're at a time where a lot of people forget to take the time to pay attention to what's real, how they actually feel, appreciating necessities and simplicity in life.
Are these things you've had to take a step back and look at for yourself?
I took some time to step back and reflect and pick up new habits. I'm reading more — I always hated reading but I made it my New Year's resolution. I've recently started meditating, but, more importantly, just being really thankful of my friends and my family and everything that I've been given my entire life.
So you're making new music, but you don't really have any set-in-place intentions for a new album, right?
I want to get better at making full albums. I want to make an album that you can listen to from beginning to end in a comfortable, easy sort of way — something like Marvin Gaye's What's Going On or Prince's Purple Rain or Sign of the Times or Controversy. Basically, I'm just making a bunch of music right now to make songs to buy me some time to figure out how to make the more complete, well-rounded album. Like a classic album.
Is this going to be a different Spank Rock that people are used to?
Not necessarily. I haven't really started working on the album so I can't really [say]. No, I don't know. The songs I'm making now should just immediately fall right into place with what people expect from me, if people expect the same thing from me.
Anything else you want to share or say before we wrap this up?
Yeah, can I give a shout out?