Saying Bubba Sparxxx is from the South is like saying the plus-size rapper hasn't missed many meals.
But while white gravy and sweet tea might be running through his veins, Sparxxx doesn't want you to get the wrong impression about what lies below the Mason-Dixon line. And considering that his second album is named after "Deliverance," the 1972 movie that did as much for Southern tourism as "Jaws" did for beachfront property on Amity Island in New York, the big guy has his work cut out for him.
For those not up on great '70s cinema, "Deliverance" stars Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty as three businessmen lost in the Georgia backwoods who become ensnared in a test-of-wills tribulation. And just because he borrowed the name for the follow-up to 2001's Dark Days, Bright Nights, due this fall, doesn't mean Sparxxx will be dueling banjos or, worse yet, squealing like a pig.
"When you hear the name Deliverance, you're going to think of the movie … but I would like people to think a little less on those lines, as far as the white-trash factor goes, and look at it more as what the actual word 'deliverance' means. Look at what the characters have gone through. Jon Voight's character went through so many things and rose to the challenge time after time and saved the life of Burt Reynolds' character. And Ned Beatty's character got raped, but in the end, he became the complete man he was supposed to be.
"So the album and the song 'Deliverance' are about me just really being a country boy who was totally clueless as to making it in the business. And when I was thrown into that environment, I rose to the occasion just like Jon Voight's character, and at the end of the day, I was the complete artist I feel I am today."
If he's done nothing else to shake his bumpkin stereotype, Sparxxx has certainly mastered the business-savvy skill of making friends in high places. "Hootnanny," one of Deliverance's 16 tracks, features Justin Timberlake, who returned the favor after Sparxxx lent some rhymes to Timberlake's "Right for Me" (see "Dirty South Pop: Timberlake Teams Up With Bubba Sparxxx").
"Anybody that hates on Justin is just a hater," Sparxxx said. "You really can't just hate on the kid. He's a great person. He works hard and he has a great personality. What can you say about that kid? Big shout out to Justin, he's a real great dude.
"We just went in the studio," he said of the collaboration. "Like, he sold 87 trillion records and I sold like, what, six, seven-hundred thousand? We just traded real to real. You do a verse on my album; I do a verse on yours. He came up with the hook and I came through with my most lethal verses. It's dope song."
Besides Timbaland, his new LP also boasts collaborations with newcomers Kiley Dean (see "Kiley Dean: The Next Aaliyah?") and Big Rube and Sleepy Brown of Outkast fame.
Sparxxx also said he recorded a track called "Red Light, Green Light" with Snoop Dogg for the next Limp Bizkit album (see "Snoop Dogg, Bubba Sparxxx May Appear On Limp Bizkit Album").
But of all the partnerships Sparxxx has forged, none is more fluid than his relationship with Timbaland, who produced most of Deliverance and Dark Days.
"When it came time to go back into the studio," Sparxxx recalled, "we had that bond. He understood what my vision for Bubba Sparxxx was and I understood what his vision for Bubba Sparxxx was, and we worked to mesh the two together in the most wonderful kind of way ... We have this unique chemistry — that Bubba and Timbaland chemistry. Like, when you hear that Missy and Timbaland chemistry, you know that's them. Or when you hear, God rest her soul, Aaliyah, you know that's Timbaland and Aaliyah. Now we have that Bubba and Timbaland chemistry and I'm real happy."
Sparxxx will strut his Southern stuff for four dates of MTV's You Hear It First Tour with Common, Anthony Hamilton and Jin beginning July 27 in New York (see "Common, Bubba, Kenna On Inaugural You Hear It First Tour").
Deliverance track list, according to Interscope Records:
- "Not Yet Free (Intro)"
- "Jimmy Mathis"
- "Comin' Round"
- "She Tried"
- "Warrant (Interlude)"
- "Take a Load Off"
- "My Tone"
- "New South"
- "Like It or Not"
- "Back in the Mudd"
- "We Da Sh--"