"Two emcees: one from Chicago’s gritty East Side and the other, from Birmingham, UK. I became a fan of Chicago’s Vic Spencer around 2015, soon after his The Cost of Victory album dropped. I heard his unique voice, delivery, and wit and I knew this guy was special. In 2016, his album The Ghost of Living, produced by one of my all-time favorite producers, BIG GHOST, dropped and was Vic’s best album yet and one of my Top 5 favorite albums of 2016. I became a casual fan of the UK’s SonnyJim a few years ago, soon after his How to Tame Lions? (2014) album dropped, but it was his Mud In My Malbec album that made me a big fan of the emcee-producer and was also, one of my Top 5 favorite albums of 2016. Now, two years later, the two artists—who both put out two of the best albums of 2016—decided to collaborate on an album titled Spencer FOR HIGHER, based off a Mystery TV series from the 1980's called Spenser: For Hire. Maybe it was fate that these two talented artists separated by thousands of miles of ocean came together to make a possible classic album... or maybe not, but after hearing this album, all I can say is, it was a match made in Hip-Hop Heaven."
- Penned By: Nick Gauder (@fadeawaybarber)
I. @SharpCheddar856: How was Spencer FOR HIGHER inspired by 1985-88 Mystery TV series Spenser: For Hire?
@VicSpencer: Back in the day watching the show, as a shorty I thought that it was cool that a guy with my last name was hired to kill. Sort of like my Rap career.
II. SC: How did you and SonnyJim first meet and ultimately, decide to record Spencer FOR HIGHER together?
VS: It was a Tweet that set this collaboration up. Someone spoke it to existence. We never met, just emails.
III. SC: Spencer FOR HIGHER's tracks were all recorded separately and sent via email, then?
IV. SC: When did you learn SonnyJim would be rapping "alongside" you on a few of Spencer FOR HIGHER's tracks?
VS: After the production was made after he sent beats and I got all the ones that I wanted to use, he picked three that he'd like to rap on and it was a wrap.
V. SC: Awesome! Spencer FOR HIGHER really has a nice, well-rounded sound reminiscent of rapper-producer albums like Champion Sound, MADVILLAINY, Blue Chips 1-2, etc. What were some of your greatest sources of personal inspiration and influence, while recording Spencer FOR HIGHER?
VS: Me and my homies smoking; that's all it took. I mean, literally, once, I got all the beats in April 2017, it was just me and my homies mobbing to the studio together.
VI. SC: Wow, so this whole Spencer FOR HIGHER project was produced, written, mixed, mastered, and released in less than a year!? Damn, that's amazing, Vic!
VS: I work like that. It took less that a year to complete my last album, The Ghost of Living with BIG GHOST. Once I A&R the beat process, the rest is history.
VII. SC: Speaking of BIG GHOST—How did he get involved to remix "SauceMANIA" co-starring Chris Crack?
VS: BIG GHOST was in the back seat of this project. I asked him to sequence it, before we start putting in samples from the show. Then, I said, "it’s only right, as one of my spirit animals of freedom of speech, that he’d be involved in-the-flesh. House Shoes, Ironside Hex, and BIG GHOST are my spirit animals. They speak their minds and I love that.
VIII. SC: "...this Spencer for Higher, though. I really wish [Sean] P could hear this sh*t in-the-flesh. We’d be on the phone right now laughing at the name of the songs. He’d be like, "how the f**k you get [Ironside] Hex on a song called "Hex Hawkings??'" And he’d scream at "Nia Long's Weed Stash;"' what do you think Sean Price would think of Spencer FOR HIGHER?
VS: He’d be calling every morning about who he’s played it for and cracking jokes on some of the bars hahaha. He was hilarious like that. He always praised me on record turn-arounds and picking beats. He’d be dissecting this album like crazy.
IX. SC: I recall you releasing a similarly-named IKAZ-produced project called Spence Ethic in 2012. How has your overall sound, lyrical approach, style, etc. grown since Spence Ethic?
VS: It’s my most commercial album. Yeah, that’s cool. But Spence Ethic is commercially cool. It had artists on there like Lance Skiiiwalker—his name was "Johnny Rocket," before the TDE ordeal—and it helped me get an audience in France, but that’s about it. It was Sean P's second best album of mine. His first was Rapping Bastard in 2014. But now? That sh*t's trash.
X. SC: I know you and Sean Price appeared together a number of times on ILLA Ghee-assisted "Jungle Gym" from The Cost of Victory and "Metal Beard" from Sean's posthumous Stevie Wonder-inspired album, Songs In The Key of Price... but how did you two initially meet?
VS: Another Twitter meet. I spammed one of my songs to him from Spence Ethic and he happened to like it and the rest was history.
XI. SC: What's the story behind "Primal Rage" co-starring Quelle Chris? How were you able to get Quelle Chris involved? In my opinion, it's one of the most flawless, natural-sounding and fun listens on Spencer FOR HIGHER!
VS: Me and Quelle [Chris] have been fans of each other work for quite some time, now. He’s in the field of realness. So, I always wanted to work with him; we started our work journey with the St. Gregory album. He produced the "Gone Fishin' [Pt. 1-3]" trilogy from that album. He has that strong Rap voice, such as myself. I believe in working with people that works as hard as me. Me and Quelle are one in the same.
XII. SC: Dope, man! Now, how much of an influence did Spenser: For Hire have on the overall sound, theme, and making-of Spencer FOR HIGHER?
VS: My career has been [through] some wars, so it’s just me coming for the kill to reign supreme on those who counted me out. They wanted Spenser dead on the show. Critics call me "old" and [say] I should "fall over and croak in a Rap game full of young boys." I’m still here. I’m [gonna] kill the game and get high, while doing so.
XIII. SC: Hell yes! I have to admit, I've heard a handful of your projects over the years and Spencer FOR HIGHER is by far my favorite! How did you and SonnyJim decide to ultimately, link up with Daupe! for Spencer FOR HIGHER's release? It will be released this upcoming Monday, Jan. 15th on limited edition vinyl and cassette, correct?
VS: Daupe! did some previous work for us, individually, so it was only right. They [were] hooked on the idea, prior to it being done.
XIV. SC: Now, with Spencer FOR HIGHER's release soon-impending, what else do you currently have planned for release throughout 2018?
VS: I got a few albums to select from. I’m just [gonna] be ready to drop 'em, when it’s time. New Chris Spencer album and working on my solo album, which I’m like, 50 songs into it.
XV. SC: Wow, a 50-song solo album!? Can't wait to hear your future releases!
VS: Nah, not 50 songs. I just recorded that number to choose from. Gonna be like 14 songs.
XVI. SC: Thank you for your time and willingness to answer my questions, Vic! Record and tape collectors can pick up copies of Vic Spencer & SonnyJim's Spencer FOR HIGHER, when it goes on sale at Daupe!'s Bandcamp this upcoming
Monday, January 15th at 4pm "LONDON TIME."