featured interview

Maylay Sparks Worth the flask You can find him with a cheese steak on his plate in Philadelphia, but also in Scandinavia drinkin a Carlsberg, Mr Maylay Sparks aka RahMaylay aka The Rebel Rahsheed, is back with a new solo effort. 'Flaskworthy', another dedication to the real, just recently has been released digitally through his own Felix Records in collaboration with Soulspazm.

Wassup Maylay, how's life? You still living in Scandinavia?

Yeah, still here buying expensive ales! Just found it to be better to get things done and work with some of the best producers and DJ's. The fact that hip-hop is so strongly repped here was a plus to come out here.

But Philly is still your real home right?

Yes always will be first.

So with the Internet having so many opportunities, wouldn't it be easier to work (for instance with European producers) from Philly?

I find it better to be there in the flesh, but when I made the move to Europe like ten years ago, the Internet was not a big thing; vinyl was still the market, so shows and network were most important.

Do you feel like you can explore more musical challenges in Europe than in Philadelphia, how would you compare both cities?

For the most part we know that the hip-hop community in the States is almost non-existent wit the crunk and whateverthefuck they wanna call that crap, so yes, being here has its advantages these days. When first coming to Europe it was the experience which is why I brought over people like Last Emperor, Grand Agent, Louis Logic and many more to expose them to what was goin down and further there careers. People often think that these guys were out here before linkin up with me and the stories of ol' fashion hip-hop opportunities.

You recently released 'Flaskworthy', what's the title about?

'Flaskworthy' just is what the title stands for. Real drinkers and connoisseurs will only put the best of liquors in a flask, meaning that this is an aged quality product.

On it, you have linked up with Swedish producers Elite Fleet?

These guys remind me of myself when I first got into the game and we share the same desire to save this culture. They are from Sweden so they are my neighbours, and they have been workin with well-known artist such as Masta Ace, Med , Jeru and many more. But the fact that they have quality music is great.

How was it like to make another solo album after all the collaboration efforts?

This was a great personal task, to illustrate all that has happened in hip-hop over the years I've been in the game, and people who are on it just said they needed to be a part of project. It's just genuine music that had to be put out.

It's released in cooperation with Soulspazm, how did you decide to take it back to the US on a marketing level?

JJ and Jim have been known for their proficient work with their own labels and the opportunity had just finally come up for us to work together on this. I've know Jim for some time now: he is a Philly cat.

You too have started your new independent label...

The label is called Felix Records, it's the name of my youngest son. He is so innovative and special that I thought it would only be right for his face and name to represent the label. We will be doing all types of music to prolong musical quality and world music to bridge the gap between other cultures and hip-hop...no bullshit rap! This is not to say that my other children aren`t special either but they will have their own perspective titles and publishing companies once things are afloat.

Right now you're working on a collab with Phife and Ali Shaheed Mohammed of ATCQ, can you tell us something more about that?

First, this means that you are a great journalist to get that secret info, but Phife has been ill and recuperating so the actual project is in the air for the moment. It was presented to me by Ali and when and it ever happens it will be monumental.

Word is out you're also working on a new project with Baby Blak, the one who gave you your alias?

Yes, that's true and I'm excited to see it happen after so many years. My thoughts are to release the tracks with the never released Rahsheed & Ill Advised (of which Baby Black is also a member, ed.) LP!

Can we still find 'Legends In My Own Mind' somewhere?

I don't even have more than 1 copy! But maybe on Ebay or Amazon the label just disappeared when things went awry with City Connection/Virgin in Norway.

Talking about Norway, how do you remember staying with The White Shadow?

Yeah man, mad man, yo, we watched horror films in this lil' ski resort town with stopped lifts and no people around, spooky as fuck , but we drank mad brews and knocked the LP out in like 10 days!

Anymore collabs with him coming up?

Yes a lot that I'll keep under the hat but I'm workin on an EP project with Finland's best producer to me, Sakke Alto, with Dave Ghetto, IDE, Snipes and Mad Cune (my new group on the label), and Broady Boy Ace.

You've really worked with the whole of Europe, you even worked with people in Belgium (B9000 Records, ed.) that it is, how do you remember that?

Yes, that was great to have someone at the time who was doin’ great things to be interested in doin the 12" for me! Need that vinyl Lefto, Daan! Holla at me!

Having worked in some many countries with a lot of people do you feel like you get the recognition like you'd deserve?

No. But that is expected like with great artist such as Picasso, Rembrandt, Dexter Gordon and many more. I think it will come when I'm dead or out of the game. People recognize it then. Hopefully my children will be rich because the music will be worth something.

You being a vinyl man, how are you looking at the whole digital revolution within the music industry? Will vinyl continue to live on?

Vinyl never died just the love for the grooves and the collector's ideology. But those who buy it, never stopped and now they have all types of new phonograph players for the new buyers...it's coming back...as they say. CD's and downloads don't give you the same feeling, such as touch and connection, and once they are used you throw it out...

After more than ten years now, how do you look back on the whole Eastern Conference issue? Is there any difference between Rahsheed and Maylay Sparks?

Not at all. We changed the indie game for this new generation. I have nothing but love for Milo and Eon, we did make history together. Rahsheed has always been RahMaylay aka The Rebel Rahsheed and Maylay Sparks is just the title of the whole package now.

After the dozens of producers you worked with, are there anymore producers you wanna work with?

Yes, Diamond D and Large Professor. Also would love the opportunity to work wit Pete Rock, Show Biz & AG.

Please could you comment on the following:

Reef The Lost Cauze

Illest new comer in the game! Hands down.

Wildchild

Legendary, Lootpack.

Bobbito

One of the best in my error to host radio and bring hip-hop back to the forefront, and spark the biggest hip-hop revolution since Zulu Nation...definitely changed my life!

Dilated Peoples

All 4 elements of hip-hop in one !

Philly Cheese Steaks

My hometown favourite....can we open a shop in Belgium?

Carlsberg

Ya know 'probably the best beer in the world' I'll hit you up when I reach 100,000 soon.

What's the first rap album you bought?

Captain Rock - 'Calling Captain Rock'.

What was/were the last rap album(s) you've uploaded unto your iPod?

None of my children have iPods, I don't eather.

What was the last videogame you bought?

None I really hate those things...we played them too much when they first came out. I'm a pinball game type guy, shit you can touch the odds are better.

What was the last movie you caught?

'I Am Legend' and 'American Gangster'.

What's next for Maylay?

Continuing to preserve the culture for the younger generation who only see and hear bullshit on radio and have no idea what it is about, the creators, and those like myself who will die to keep it alive!

Shout-outs?

To you of course for the shine and support and all the real hip-hop heads in Belgium and the world!

Thanks Maylay!

 

POSTED 07|01|2008
conducted by cpf

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