The “selective blogger” is back…
More than a few folk have been anticipating Vic Spencer’s Walk Away Music, made available for the ears of the public today. 12 songs. No features. 12 different producers. All recorded while Spencer was without of the benefit of a motor vehicle. Fresh. Before I get into my review, here’s a little question and answer with Mr. Spencer:
Nigel Watson: It’s about time we got Walk Away Music! What do you expect your fans’ reception to be?
Vic Spencer: I want the fans to stop walking towards the negativity in rap. Just simply laugh and walk away.
NM: Why were there no features on this project? Do you think it helped or hurt your effort?
VS: There weren’t any features because I want people to know me as a solo artist, stripped down for who I am and who I knew. I had 30 records with plenty of artists and i felt like I got over flooded by the features. So now you get me. In the flesh.
NW: I’m partial to “Michigan Ave. Bully” because of the production. Which track did you enjoy recording the most?
VS: I enjoyed recording ALL of ‘em. I worked the producers out of them beats. I challenged them to create a dope sound. But the joint I really enjoyed recording was “Dip-Off Blessings”.
NW: The gritty and blunt lyrics are indeed present on Walk Away Music. What is your message for those who might find your persona a little…intimidating?
VS: I want people to stop taking me so serious. I’m a funny dude. I’m very confident in what I do. I just dont like a lot of shit and I’m very vocal about it. Nobody does that. I’m an entertainer. I want to be better than these fuckfaces out here so I’m gonna come off intimidating. But even the intimated got ears. Once they use them, they can understand Vic Spencer.
NW: What’s next for Vic Spencer?
VS: I’m flooding the world with 2 more projects. ANTIeRTHANG with Fat Boi Wiz and the Spence Ethic EP with French producer IKAZ due out 10/1/12. It’s done. I’m focused on 2013 right now. I’m going back to work.
1. “Michigan Ave. Bully” (Prod. by Big Budd)
Vic Spencer kicks off Walk Away Music with his own version of an ode to one of the world’s most well-renowned strips to shop. “Ill ass sneaks on my feet, just got off the Grand Red Line stop…,” Spencer raps before he gets into the song. Big Budd certainly graced Spencer with a dope beat for this one, as chops of something soulful perfectly complement Spencer’s grimy claim of “I don’t shop where everybody go at all/The Water Tower downtown, that son of a bitch is still a mall”.
2. “Ill Description” (Prod. by Tony Baines)
Admittedly, this sounds a bit campy, especially for Spencer, but it doesn’t sound half bad. The ODB bit in the background works fairly well and once again, Spencer’s humorous bars prevail on a track that seems rather scatterbrained: “I go ham on Twitter because I love turkey”. Don’t try to understand it.
3. “Respect Ya Elders” (Prod. by D2DaE)
Anyone who has listened to a Vic Spencer project in its entirety knows that while the rapper isn’t an enemy of the youth, he is certainly no enabler. On this song, he addresses young rappers (could also be applied to young people, period) who are going about finding success in the wrong ways. “Oh you think I’m just an elderly man?” raps Spencer before warning that beatings will be administered to those who are deserving.
4. “Tube Socks” (Prod. by O Bonjour)
This beat is perfectly maniacal, accompanied by smooth snippets of a saxophone that stopped me from completely flipping out upon first hearing it. I won’t go into the theme of this track. Instead, I will give kudos to Spencer for doing something that I’m sure no other rapper has ever done: Make a Rex Chapman reference.
5. “Midway Dagger” (Prod. by Doc Da Mindbenda)
Spencer laments over his lack of a vehicle even though Doc gave him “the green light” within the first few seconds of this track. Vintage Spencer makes an appearance on “Midway Dagger”; ranting, raving and eviscerating anyone who dares obstruct his path to prominence. “Niggas’ll make a list, and forget about Victor”. This is the type of emotional vulnerability I like to hear from rappers and not that emo ass trash that more than a few “hot artists” are guilty of nowadays.
6. “Earlobe” (Prod. by THEMpeople)
THEMpeople samples the Isley Brothers’ “Hello, It’s Me” for this one and both the sound of the song and cadence of Spencer’s flow are the antithesis of what he usually brings to the musical table. “I have sex with the beat lately/Me and her be goin’ crazy” raps Spencer over harmonious production.
7. “Green Presidential Suite” (Prod. by DC)
Chances are, if you’ve ever been around Vic Spencer for more than a few ticks, you’ve probably smoked Marie Josephine with him. The first time I ever met the guy, I left our encounter fully baked. Loud is his poison of choice and the reggae-tinged “Green Presidential Suite” highlights his love affair with the sticky stuff, along with some of his more memorable sessions and how they came to be. The dude with the “Englewood membership” unabashedly broadcasts over nearly 3 minutes just how he rocks with MJ.
8. “2 Liters of Salt” (Prod. by Nasim Williams)
The boy grows into a man, decides to leave the rats alone and puts a ring on the finger of the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Maybe this theme reeks of some Hollywood fairy tale shit, but it is indeed true in Spencer’s case. “salty” has been a part of Chicago slang since I can remember, and Vic takes the time to not only make mention of his fiancée, but take not-so-subtle shots at the jealous women who weren’t worthy to sit atop the throne in his proverbial kingdom.
9. “Dip-Off Blessings” (Prod. by Nez and Rio)
Nez and Rio are two of my favorite producers, period. So I was definitely excited to learn that they would be lending production to this project. Sometimes their style overshadows the actual song-sort of like N.E.R.D.-but the soothing sound took a back seat to Spencer’s brash proclamations of essentially “blessing” another man’s house before dipping out with some of his goods. “Minor league fitted in your hallway/Foamposites in your living room/White tee in your fucking bathroom/Headphones and Nudie jeans chillin’ in yo’ back room”. Sorry, fella, but your spot has been blessed.
10. “Amphebean” (Prod. by Rashid Hadee)
Dope. That is all.
11. “Think Twice” (Prod. by Thelonious Martin)
I am a huge Donald Byrd & The Blackbyrds fan. “Steppin’ Into Tomorrow” is my favorite song, with “Think Twice” coming in a very close second. So how did you think I felt when I initially heard this beat? Exactly. Thelonious Martin and Spencer team up on this one as this seems to be a track specifically for the trekking headphone-lovers.
12. “Ski Mask” (Prod. by Illiad)
Walk Away Music concludes with what could be construed as an outro. Maybe it’s just me, but Spencer’s flow seems to be a bit more meticulous than it is on other tracks found on WAM. Once again, Spencer vents about the trife and their tendency to rough up what would be an otherwise smooth journey. And like that, Vic Spencer decides to walk away.
The concept behind this project is most intriguing; no features and different production for each track make it relatively unique. Vic Spencer didn’t run the risk of being outgunned on his own track and the different sounds ensure that the listener won’t find Walk Away Music boring, at least. I’m a fan of Spencer because he tells it like it is, in his own way. He is not KRS-One, nor is he Immortal Technique. However, he doesn’t try to be, and doesn’t seem to want to be, either. For this listener, that is just fine. Now let’s all hope Spencer’s next project is just as impressive as Walk Away Music.
Download: Walk Away Music, Vic Spencer