Chicago’s Vic Spencer is a man on a mission. With several critically acclaimed projects under his belt, it doesn’t look like Vic is trying to slow down anytime soon. On this particular warm December day in Chicago, I had the opportunity to catch up with the self proclaimed “Rapping Bastard” to see what goes into being the city’s “Most Hated”…
Born and raised in Chicago?
Vic Spencer: Yessuh! Born and raised…
Tell me about growing up in Chicago….
Vic Spencer: It’s a beautiful thing man, you get to see everything know what I’m sayin’? You get to see the glamour, you get to see the gutter. You can incorporate yourself as an individual and find yourself in a city like Chicago. It ain’t all bad for me, but it’s a place where everything happens for me you know what I mean? If any other person is from another city it’s just like what they would describe it as. Just seeing the ends and outs of the city and being apart of it you know what I mean? Yea man, Chicago is a gumbo…a pot of gumbo.
When did you decide to pick up the pen and you knew that this is what you were going to pursue?
Vic Spencer: Ah, man.. I wanna say yo when I first heard Redman’s “Tonight’s the night“, like ’95 ,’94 you know what I mean? Started penning records and doin’ stuff on tape. But then professionally I started when I was 17, started going to the studio doin’ my thing. Man, in the 90’s man… ’98,’99.
Who were some of the guys that influenced you coming up whether it was from Chicago or Hip-Hop in general?
Vic Spencer: Ah man, cats from Chicago.. cats like E.C. ILLA, cats like Juice, cats like Twista, The Snyperz. I listen to a lot man, I listen to Richie Rich, back in the 90’s Ant Banks you know what I’m sayin’? I listen to a lot of West Coast,Yukmouth. I listen to a lot of East Coast. Redman, Heltah Skeltah, Boogie Monsters, you know what I’m sayin? Yessuh! A lot of Chicago legends like E.C.ILLA , like he was one of the main guys that I kinda grew up listening to. Listened to a lot of Boogie Monsters,Redman….
(I start singing a part of the Boogie Monster’s,” Recognized the thresholds of negative stress”)
Vic Spencer: Man! That’s my joint still to this day! I remember when I saw that on The Box , like I wanna pair of headphones,wanna pair of Nikes,you know what I’m saying? Like those were the joints that kinda got me into like wanting to do it myself. Like I enjoyed Nas and Hov back then like those guys didn’t influence me to spit. Like I got me a fresh pair of Timbs and I got me a triple fat goose and I’m fin to play Hov in the big headphones like contrast it out. So like I listen to a lot, I listen to Green Day, I listen to Smashing Pumpkins. A lot of different stuff all around.
Vic Spencer: I’m more like a rapping comedian. But like a serious rapping comedian. Like a rapper but a lot of jokes. Somebody might end up crying, somebody might get in they feels about it. Like I’m more that, you know one of those guys that’s funny but “Serious”! You know what I’m saying? You gonna feel something, you know what I mean? So I’m one of those kind of aggressive, political prisoner type of rapper you know what I’m sayin? Say what I want… I think cats like Redman,Eminem, Sean Price, Tyler the Creator, like those guys came in the game with like the “I don’t care attitude” you know what I’m sayin’? Like sayin’ whatever they wanted, however they wanted you know what I’m saying? It wasn’t censored, but now music is like you gotta censor it so I kinda like wanna go back to it being uncensored. Say what you like so I think I’m described as one of those guys that like border on the offensive, you know what I mean?
While we were off camera we were talkin’ and I think it’s important to show both sides of your life. Besides Hip-Hop, you said also you do work with the community and what type of work is that?
Vic Spencer: I’m a youth advocate. I work for this program called the “Youth Advocate Program” and they got me stationed in different Highschools working with the young at risk children, our young people that could fall victim to the streets. It’s my job to kinda like guide them into something they’ve never been exposed to, but they like to do it. They like to keep me inclined with the young musicians of the city, and since they know that I’m a rapper they kinda like paired me with these kids that’s into music. We go to the studio and we go play ball, like we do what they like to do know what I’m sayin’? And it’s looked at as we took them from being on that block that they normally stand on for a certain amount of hours and they live to see another day. And we do that all year, I’ve been doin’ this line of work for 15 years and I been working at this particular job for 6 years man, so you know shoutout to the “Youth Advocate Program” man, for looking out for young people man enhancing opportunities for ’em.
Salute to you for that…
Vic Spencer: Yessir,yessir…
Vic Spencer: I think musically I have progressed because I always looked at the “Walk Away Music” as a pedestal. Like it was so much force reckoned with “The Cost of Victory” and it’s like I always challenged myself like, ” how can I be better than “The Walk Away Music“? “How can I beat that”? Like I know that that’s like one of those top, you know it was a lot of pressure on me you know what I’m sayin? Because when it was recieved like a lot of people were like,”Yo!”.Like a lot of people that like my music now started with “Walk Away Music“. And I just think why is it so important to top that album? Like, because it’s kinda like my first baby. So I’m like,”how can I beat that”? “How can I top that?” I don’t know, you know what I’m sayin? So I always had that in the back of my mind,I think that’s what makes me better and that will be something that’s like a official challenge to myself. It’s a profession,it’s a business but it’s also like man,how I got to step it up. I got to step up my business game, I got to step it up a notch and I always go in thinking like that you know? How can I beat the “Walk Away Music”? So I think that myself,that drive and consistency I think that explains the progression of it.
People may not of known that you had a relationship with the late great Sean Price. So how did that come about and how did you guys keep in touch? Did anything come about of your meeting with him?photo by: Vic Spencer
Vic Spencer: Yea man we met on Twitter and it was funny because I was always a huge fan number one. I am highly inspired by the late Sean Price, like everything lyrically and the wittiness of my bars man it all comes from listening to heavy Sean Price. But I had reached out to him when I seen him tweet one day like,” no one tweets their music”.”I don’t want to hear that shit”!”I don’t want to hear it don’t send me your music don’t do it”! And I just bit the bullet man I just sent him a joint called “Kiss my ass from Spain” from a project that I did and man he loved that shit. He followed me back (on Twitter) and told me he was going to call me man, gave him my number and he called me right when he was going to the studio.He was like,”son man it took me a while to call you because I was inspired by your work like I’ve been listening to your work for like the past two or three hours man and I just been going crazy man. I’m on my way to the studio right now because you inspired me”. And I was like whoa! I was like this is a legend. I was speechless man I couldn’t believe it but then after that we just started talking in the inboxes. He was like,” yo I want to get you down like I’ve been listening to your work with my friends”. Like man he was really fucking with the shit. Man, he was like let’s do it and I was like let’s do it so after he made it official to be a part of the Ruckdown,I flew out to New York and we got some work in, you know what I’m saying? We got some unreleased joints that ain’t out,we did some joints that’s out. I think its three joints out with me and Sean Price right now. Man we got so much work in, we got at least seven or eight joints I believe. I think it’s seven or eight joints but yeah man I went out there and he embraced me man like I was a part of his family and I came to his crib we played like five minutes, I mean like five hours of Vic Spencer. I think he played “Deadstock” off “The Cost of Victory” 8 times straight. Sean Price putting something on repeat?! Here’s a guy that don’t like nobody, you know what I’m saying ?I’m sitting in his kitchen like,”yo this is crazy man!” On the inside I was so geeked, but on the outside I was confident I couldn’t believe I’m at this level of lyricism as a legend that loves my work man so that says a lot man. Sean Price opened his arms to me man, we got to the studio man just imagine Sean Price standing over you and you come out the studio after spitting a cold ass verse he sitting there with a high-five his hands way up to the damn ceiling and you gotta jump up to get the high-five. That’s the type of dude he was. Dude was a real comedian man, like in real life he was a real comedian like man I was glad I had the time I had with him like we talked on the phone like every day like actually two days before he passed he, just like when he called me he would always call me with like a 16 (bars). Like right off the head “yo rappin'”that’s the first thing he said “yo rappin'”! He might hit me up on on Alejandro or PF Cuttin (phone). PF Cuttin what’s good? He might have hit me on PF Cuttin’s line because Sean Price didn’t have a cell phone, he did not believe in no cell phones. So he hit me up on PF Cuttin line like “yo rappin'” “rappin” then he would spit the craziest bars known to man and then he plays the song,you know what I’m saying ? I’m like yo you recorded that, man? Send that on over! I got so many unreleased Sean Price records man its crazy man, like you know what I’m saying? But that was that one night he died on a Saturday I talked to him on that Wednesday night. Saturday morning I found out he passed. Wednesday night he was like man, I’m glad that you out here spitting because I thought I was the only one on that ignorant shit like that, you know what I’m saying? He was always like the one that would say you can Rap over anything, you don’t have to just rap over the Sean Price liking you know what I’m saying ? This was always his metaphor, “you’re one of those Euro cars and I’m a old school that niggas just show up on the block that post up on in front of but you can make moves you don’t have to get a tune-up every three months, you know what I’m saying you can cruise you can do it”. He was like one of those guys he wanted me to rap over them trap beats.
Is that right?
Vic Spencer: Man, Sean Price was huge advocate of “Vic man you can rap over anything , like man you get you some Young Chop beats”. That’s what he said. “Man you should get some Young Chop beats”. Sean Price told me that yo, like get some Young Chop beats?! Like are you out of your mind man!( laughs) But man he was so cool man so funny. Man he was cool as hell so shoutout out to his wife man, Bern P., Rim, shoutout to Illah Ghee, shoutout the whole Ruckdown. Alejandro, what’s poppin’? Man, like man that’s the squad man. So I’m still Ruckdown man I think that’s what’s gonna be my next solo project, you know what I’m saying? Its going to be under the Ruckdown imprint you know what I’m saying? We might do it with A-Villa so we might put A-Villa album under it.
I’m glad you brought that name up,that was my next question. That’s the man that put me on to you and I know you guys have done some music in the past. What have you worked on in the past and what do you have coming up for the future?
Vic Spencer: We worked on a couple joints for his first album,”Carry on Tradition”. You know what I’m saying ? That joint is fire, fuego if you haven’t heard that go cop that. But uhm, we start working on a joint called, “Church Movie” and it was like a promo single to promote the album. He was like I want you on it, you know what I’m saying? And initially one of my producers that’s all over the “St. Gregory” album, Dr. Mindbender he’s the guy that said you need to work with A-Villa. He got that same, you know what I’m saying aggression that you were looking for,you know I’m saying? So I’m like, “oh aight, cool imma check him out”. So that’s how our relationship started like you know I’m saying like friends of friends thought that we could work together and then we linked up, it was unbelievable. We clicked and that’s like family now so and we just start putting out records. I’m on maybe a couple records on “Carry on Tradition”. I think I’m on a hook of a joint with Elzhi, know what I’m saying Knowledge (Kidz in the Hall) and Mickey Halstead. That was a good look, you know what I’m sayin’? So I feel good about that and you know we just kept a relationship strong you know what I mean? A-Villa be puttting me onto a lot of cats….
He put me onto you and many more this year, he’s got a great ear.
Vic Spencer: Yeah, he definitely be spreading the Vic Spencer name so I salute to A-Villa man love, man love bless bless…..
Vic Spencer: “St. Gregory” was like an ode to my high school. I believe that sonically the “St. Gregory” is like all of the music mixed that I listened to during the big headphone season back in the 90’s you know what I’m sayin’? Like with the triple fat goose and the Timbs, you know what I’m saying? I think the “St. Gregory “reminds me of that culture of the hip-hop game and uhm I want to take it back to really what music means to me and people can get their own perception of “St. Gregory“. It was set up for everybody to have their own perception and it’s not a wrong answer when you listen to “St. Gregory” it’s like man, you know what I’m saying? Its like whatever your interpretation was it was like you were right bro, you know what I’m saying? So it’s one of those feels man. I think “St. Gregory ” is like some of my best work man, like I really believe that like 100% me, I didn’t experiment with nothing like I knew what I wanted to rap over I have stories like “Going fishing“on there that’s something that I like. Doom influenced that like you know what I mean? Everything was influenced by like legends before me because that’s what I listened to in high school.
Vic Spencer: Ooh wee…”The Ghost of Living” man, it’s crazy how me and (producer) Big Ghost linked up. Man, Big Ghost is one of the biggest critics of our time. You know he started from the 2DopeBoyz section you know? Body-bagging hella rappers and he made a name for hiself but nobody knew that he was this producer. I sho didn’t know until he came out with the “Griselda Ghost” with Conway and Westside Gunn. I was like ,”yo I need to jump on some of these beats”. Like these beats are dumb stupid…. I reached out to him he happened to like my music already so it was like God given, you know what I’m saying? He started sending the beats through, the quick turnaround is what impressed him and the fact that he really enjoyed the music like man not only is you doing these joints quick I really enjoy these records man so let’s go ahead and drop a quick strike album. That’s no problem man I can do that at the snap of a finger so I just started recording the joints. So like during the “St. Gregory” recording sessions, I would record a Big Ghost joint and man we came out with 10 joints and it was crazy man. So salute and love to the Big Ghost man, you know what I mean?
So, you were one of the artist on my radar this year. Who was on your radar for 2016?
Vic Spencer: Man, who is on my radar for 2016? I would say Anderson Paak. I listened to a lot of Anderson Paak. this year. Who else man? On the rapping side … Westside Gunn and Conway. Man, like other than that I listen to a lot of old shit and my friends Chris Crack, M.C. Tree. I listen to a blend of what I do and the trap music from Chicago but that’s just like a dope blend but man that’s the type of music I’m listening to. But Westside Gunn and Conway…. and when I’m not listening to myself I’m listening to old Mary J Blige, old Eric Roberson or old ass Eric Rico man, like I’m listening to a lot of genres of music but that’s what I’m listening to now the newer guys that came out this year Westside Gunn and Conway yes…
Where can producers send you music at?
Vic Spencer: Bookvicspencer@gmail.com. Send music through, I’ll be listening. I’ll respond if it’s good or not. Sometimes when I’m working with the producers that want to send me some work it’s usually because they listen to a lot of the work and they send me something that they believe is official and a lot of the joints be like that coming from a lot of artists and producers that I don’t know.But weeding through the music I found brotherhood through the music and I found a good experience listening to artists, I mean listening to producers that way. Do you know what I’m saying, because I might get a whole load of beats through the email and won’t like any of them but I enjoy the experience you know what I’m saying? So I tell the producer to keep sending them… yeah man send it my way.I’d love to bodybag some work if it’s that dope, I’m on it! I’m gonna send it to you the next day too….
What’s your opinion on the state of hip-hop at the moment?
Vic Spencer: The state of hip-hop seems a bit promising you know what I mean? Its given a lot of different artist that have spread their wings independently to give some insight to actually have rappers actually out here doing the rapping. So, I feel a lot of has been inspired that’s by artist that’s doing it they’re making moves, they’re doing it independently. A lot of people are looking at it like I can do it too.I think it’s promising in that sense and I also think that hard-core hip-hop is promising too you know what I’m saying ? When you see cats like Westside Gunn and Conway making noise the way they do and now they fin to start touring and now it’s about to be a real eye-opener to the rest of the planet. I think that is promising you know what I’m saying. The hip-hop industry has to be a balance, you know what I’m saying? You get some of my kind of music and then you get some of Chance the Rapper’s music and you get a little Chief Kief’s music, you know what I’m saying? Like all of that, it needs to be a balance you know what I mean?So I think that it’s promising ,you know what I mean? So stay tuned ….a rapper like me gonna have to make it a balance my own self you know what I’m saying ,make it a balance you know what I mean?
So what does 2017 hold for Vic Spencer?
Vic Spencer: 2017 man starts off with a new album,” Chris Spencer” with my brother Chris Crack, you know I’m saying? He probably like one of the dopest emcees from Chicago, like he got that spit, he got that flame, he got that range and I think that anybody I do I album with is significant man not because I believe that they’re my brother but it’s also because I’m a huge fan of their work. So Chris Crack, be on the lookout for the “Chris Spencer “album first quarter. Me and A-Villa may sit down and put out the “Villa-fied & Victimized” album, me and A-Villas album you know what I’m saying? We might put that out this year you know what I’m saying? But until then Vic Spencer is working, going on tour man we gonna be out here this year at these events. We gonna let people know that Vic Spencer is here to stay and man 2016 was good, 2017’s going to be even greater.photo by: Vic Spencer
I appreciate you for taking time out of your busy day to come check in with me….
Vic Spencer: I appreciate you man for having me, making me a stop man while you were in the city.
No doubt. Can you tell the people where they can find you social media wise?
Vic Spencer: Twitter.com: Vic Spencer Instagram: Vic Spencer Snapchat:King of living….get at me man, Soundcloud Vic Spencer as well and then if you want to support Vic Spencer you can go to Vic Spencer.band camp.com , you know I’m saying? I appreciate everybody man rockin’ with Vic Spencer this year man, its going to be a good one….
How many blondes does it take to change a pamper?