Interview with Jeff Spec...

CRDS: Jeff, please give CRDS readers a brief history on your background, what is your first Hip Hip memory, how were you introduced to Hip Hop?.

Jeff Spec- I think the first hip hop record I ever heard was Licensed To Ill.. The concept of rhyming blew my mind. I was just like "WTF is this??!?"


CRDS: What was the one record that influenced you the most to be an MC?

Jeff Spec- The first record that really spoke to me, and made me decide to rap, was Special Ed's "I Got It Made"... It was a wrap for me at that point.


CRDS: What are your top 5 albums of 2010 so far?

Jeff Spec- It's always tough to pick, but if I had to make a list, I'd say Broken Bells' self-titled album, Erykah Badu's "New Amerykah PT II", The Black Keys' "Brothers", The Roots' "How I Got Over", and Slum Village's "Villa Manifesto" EP.

CRDS: Does Moka Only live in a studio and if so does he ever leave it haha?

Jeff Spec- HA! Yessir, we all basically have home studios, and it's tough to leave. There's a lot of inspiration in the world, so you know, you step outside for a few minutes and then you have something else to write about.


CRDS: You have toured with and supported many notable Hip Hop artists, are there any shows that
stand out for you in particular Jeff?

Jeff Spec- It would be nearly impossible to single out the best ones, because just being on stage at all is like my first love, along with the actual creative aspect of music. Touring with cats like The Beatnuts, Raekwon, Aceyalone... those are special moments. Especially when someone you've grown up listening to gives you the nod, it's always a good feeling.
CRDS: Jeff, you have released close to solo 10 albums, which one is the album you are most proud of?

Jeff Spec- Actually, I'm sitting at 17 or 18 albums right now, and maybe 3 or 4 of those are not solo... I'd have to say that Sneakerboxxx is definitely my best work to date. I'll always be most proud of the newest record, because I never release anything that I feel isn't better than the last thing!

CRDS: Wow :O

Jeff Spec-Please list some Canadian Hip Hop artists that you feel never got their due, are you a fan of
mcenroe and the Peanuts and Corn crew?


Jeff Spec
- McEnroe is the homey, he's a great dude and has developed a great business model for an indie record label, way before that was present in hip hop. Some Canadian artists who could reach way farther than they have are Saukrates, Shad, D Sisive, e.d.g.e., Jay Kin, Moka Only, and like a thousand more... We have such a huge amount of talent here, I only hope that the recognition thing comes with time! I know we're not ready to sit back and leave it to fate though.
CRDS: In 2002 you released the dope "Dark City" album on esteemed label Day By Day, how did that come about?

Jeff Spec- First of all, thanks for saying so! DJ Fisher was running Day By Day at the time, and he knew about me through Moka, so we started talking, and it just came about naturally. That album made some noise for me and was a good look in general. These days, DJ is running Domination Records and still doing his thing!

CRDS: Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Madlib, Large Professor or Marley Marl (you can only choose one)

Jeff Spec- Can I choose J Dilla so I don't need to make the toughest decision of life?? If not I'm gonna go with DJ Premier. And honorable mention to Pete Rock for being the greatest remixer of all time.

CRDS: haha yes you can Jeff :)

CRDS: What don't like you about Hip Hop today, what aspects of the Old School do you miss the most?

Jeff Spec- I think it's really wack that you can brag about destroying your own community and get over. If you glorify selling crack and living off the miseries of others, you're a sucker, straight up. There's always room for reality rap, but you have to have a message or it's pointless. As far as the old school, I miss the fact that you had to be original at one point... Like, if you came out biting Rakim in '88, you would have been called out, and you'd be over. Nowadays, everyone sounds like everyone and it's almost celebrated. It gets harder to avoid, because there are certain parameters to rhyming and you know, the longer it's around, the more there is that's already been done... But let's try to make something new, right?

CRDS: I could not agree more, well said Jeff.
CRDS:How big is the Hip Hop scene in Vancouver, is it more mainstream than underground?

Jeff Spec- Vancouver has had a thriving hip hop scene for around 20 years now, with some pioneers even setting it off before that. I remember hearing guys like EQ (a group made up of The Incredible Ease, Quaze, and Kilo Cee) on the radio in Detroit when I'd visit my dad back in like '91... As far as the mainstream/underground thing, we have both extremes and everything in between. Vancouver is definitely one of the top 5 largest cities on the west coast of North America, so we're pretty dialled in!

CRDS: What are the future plans for Jeff Spec and The City Planners etc?

Jeff Spec- First and foremost, thank you for saying City Planners... That's still the family, before everything! We're all doing our individual projects, and really staying busy and trying to be productive as possible. Ishkan is even back at it, and Moka and I have been sort of carrying that torch for the years in between. Sichuan and Sweet G are in their respective labs, and we'll always be fam and stay collaborating. I myself have been keeping the City Planner family album in mind, and we all get hyped when the subject gets raised, so that should go down soon.

As for myself, I'm working on a new record called "Outside Things" - that's Jeff Spec as Clarence Coolweather... Moka's producing that whole joint, and we'll see a global release in the new year. I have another album on the go too, which is still just taking shape... But that's coming in the second half of 2011. Meanwhile, I'm keeping the videos coming and hitting the internet with tons of random singles. Staying busy!!

CRDS: No doubt, nice work Jeff...anything you would like to add?

Jeff Spec-
Yessir ... big thanks to Cold Rock Da Spot for supporting my music - Blogging is the new wave of indie media, and I don't take any of the love and support for granted. Without y'all we couldn't do this the way it's being done at all, so thank you!! 

CRDS: No problem at all, peace Jeff and crew :)
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