By Odeisel. Additional Reporting by Kev Tripp
The streets of Philly are cold and there are many stories that go untold. Spade-O has been involved in many of them, both on and off the microphone. His rap lineage speaks for itself as a member of venerable supergroup Major Figgas and duo Dutch and Spade. Spade-O recently dropped his first project post-release with Spade-O Unchained. We caught up with him to talk new projects, old beefs and Philly streets.
Planet Ill: You’re home. When you were away were you afraid that time had passed you by? That maybe the market wasn’t checking for what you had to say?
Spade-O: Nah, I wasn’t afraid of that. I know there’s always going to be a market. Real people like they real stuff so I wasn’t concerned about that.
Planet Ill: You came home and you were embraced. I heard your mixtape with all the collabos on it and all the people showing you love. How does it feel for you to come back and for people to still want to be a part of your movement?
Spade-O: It’s humbling man; it’s real humbling that people still care; still are interested and checking, because you know there are people that have been out here all that time and people could care less about what they got to say, so definitely I’m thankful.
Planet Ill: What exactly is your situation right now? I see On Deck Entertainment. Who do you standing with and what’s your plans moving forward?
Space-O: On Deck E-N-T is my own company. I’m Co-CEO with a couple friends. Right now, I’m looking forward. If someone right comes and blows me away with an opportunity, I’ll listen, but until that time, I’m not sitting on my hands waiting. I’mma keep moving and keeping forward with Spade-O and the On Deck brand.
Planet Ill: Unchained is really your first solid body of work back in the game. Tell us about how that came to fruition and some of the behind the scenes stuff involved in getting that project together.
Spade-O: To be honest form day 1 that I got cut loose man, I hit the ground running; I just started running. I got probably over 100 records. I think the hardest part of Unchained was cutting it down to 15-16 joints. But I mean the whole process was organic to me. I was so socially awkward from being in prison so long that the only place I feel comfortable is in the studio making music. That’s the one thing that didn’t’ change.
Making Unchained was just surreal. I had, not the naysayers but my A&R’s saying, “It’s different now. Spade-O you gotta make different music; you gotta get the younger demographic. You gotta make this type of music, you gotta make that type of music.” The whole thing to me was if I do that, I’m turning my back on the people who almost supported me and been waiting on me all these years. If I come out and I give them something that they ain’t been waiting for, so I really stayed true to myself with the Unchained project. I didn’t really worry about what nobody said.
If I was going to fail then I’m going to fail being me.
Planet Ill: How do you feel about that? Even back in the day, rap had always been predicated on what’s next and what’s now. But you have something to say. How do you feel about rappers who rap for people who are outside of their age group; rapping for kids, but they’re 40…
Spade-O: I feel the same way you feel about it. It’s noticeable. At the end of the day as much as about money. As a man; as a human you should care to recognize who you see when you look in the mirror. That’s the sad thing that I see about Hip-Hop. Too many people, too willing to compromise themselves, chasing that dollar. And that’s sad.
Planet Ill: For those that don’t know your history you have a lot of lineage going back ten years with Major Figgas…
Spade-O: Yeah man, Dutch and Spade; it’s been a heck of a ride. It’s been a heck of a ride for me. You know Major Figgas man, Dutch, Spade man those are some of the best years of my life.
Planet Ill: You guys were on Undeas for a second, you had one of the first East Coast collabs with Ludacris, you had Styles P. For Dutch and Spade as a separate group, how did that fall outin terms of your ambition and getting into the game. What was different about the Dutch and Spade dynamic versus the overall Major Figgas team?
Spade-O: It really was no different. When we was making Dutch and Spade records or Major Figgas or whoever records, we always was a team; just going in and making music. We stayed making hot records so the whole process was organic and we was kids. So we went at it with a kid’s energy. We just made records, we made joints. It was good, man; it was good times.
Planet Ill: How do you feel about the moves that the other Major Figgas artists were making while you were away as far as Ab Livah being with the Re-Up Gang and the Clipse and writing for Dr. Dre, Gillie being with Cash Money and other movements while youw ere away?
Spade-O: At the end of the day they’re men, they got families. You gotta do what you gotta do man. At the end of the day. Whether it’s Livah or Gillie or whoever, they still pushing the Major Figgas brand. Like me, I’mma always be Spade-O from Major Figgas. No matter what I do. I was happy to just see people working.
Planet Ill: There was always some, I don’t want to say animosity because I don’t know how deep it went between Major Figgas and Rocafella. You had the Do It Again song and people felt there was some subliminal energy going back from Jay-Z to Major Figgas. There were rumors that you guys might sign to the Roc and to be honest, Major Figgas, the way that they were set up, was kind of like the blueprint for the whole State Property set up in terms of Philly dudes with different styles. Can you give us some background on that?
Spade-O: As far as the beef thing, that was what it was. I’m not really into the subliminal things. So I really tried to stay clear of a lot of the stuff. I’m more into the direct stuff. Yeah, we was originally suppose dot sign to Rocafella. As far as us being the blueprint for State Property, you know that is what that is. At the end of the day, it’s Spade-O Unchained. That’s what I’m concentrating on right now.
Planet Ill: So what is next for you? Your mixtape dropped and it’s hitting the streets and it got some buzz. What’s phase two?
Spade-O: I got an album locked and loaded ready to go. Memoirs of a Fallen Soldier. Right now I’m just prepping. In the next week or so I might drop a single off the album but right now I didn’t want to rush and interrupt the mixtape because right now it’s still fresh. It’s bee out for about ten days. I want to give it a chance to let it e a little bit by releasing a few more videos, a few more visuals and just keep it moving. But I’m ready. I’m ready to go. I made sure before I did anything that I planned and I was prepared. For not stage A but point B also. I’m ready to go.
Planet Ill: Just to go back to what you said about the Rocafella/Major Figgas dynamic, Philly has a lot of street stories and things that are kind of said and kind of known. Tommy Butter (R.I.P.) in that one year when he was really turning Philly upside down, he made the accusation that Young Chris took the stand on you on your case…
Spade-O: I’m not trying to denote, promote none of that/ That stuff is gone; it’s in the past. I’m doing Spade-O Unchained now and I’m moving forward. I’m not really dwelling on that stuff man because that puts me back in chains, and I ain’t doing that.
Planet Ill: I hear that. So you got an album coming out, you prepared for it; you laid your groundwork, what would you like to accomplish with it? Are you going to release it indie? Are you trying to get a situation at a major? How would you like for this project to be released to the world?
Spade-O: I mean I’m not really hunting down a major situation at the end of the day, if a major situation comes about, it would be a blessing though I’m not really hunting it down; if it comes , it comes. As of right now, I’m proceeding forward as if I was doing it on my own. At the end of the day everything I do, I’m trying to make me a landmark. I’m not trying to make music, I’m trying to make history.