Fire Starter: Spiff TV
Carlos Suarez has an ear for the streets and an eye for the Internet. Better known to everyone on the hip-hop blogs as Rick Ross' directorial go-to guy, Spiff TV, the 26-year-old has made a name for himself with his vivid visuals for artists such as the Bawse and Waka Flocka Flame. What the world might not know yet: It was Spiff's keen audio scouting that unearthed the beats for two of Ricky Rozay's hottest records right now.
" 'MC Hammer,' I did two verses," Ross explained to us a couple of weeks ago. "One night, we was riding around the city, and Spiff played me the beat. I just start writing to it, and Spiff took his BlackBerry and started writing down the rhymes. I actually wrote the two verses and the chorus riding around in the whip."
"I'm a director/A&R," said Spiff, who also manages producer Lex Luger (Ross' "MC Hammer" and "Blowin' Money Fast [B.M.F.]" and Waka's "Hard in the Paint"). "If you check that Albert Anastasia album, it's 'A&R by Spiff TV.' I got him [the beat for] 'B.M.F.,' and I got him 'MC Hammer.' I actually gave him 'MC Hammer' when we left the 'Super High' video shoot. Like 2 in the morning. I had the laptop opened up, playing the beat. He just started freestyling. I said, 'Hold up.' I whipped the BlackBerry out and started writing down everything he was saying. The next week, he calls me like, 'Spiff, e-mail me.' Sent him the lyrics. Hit! Same thing with 'B.M.F.' "
Spiff is directing the upcoming videos from Albert Anastasia for "MC Hammer" and "Sweet Life" with John Legend. A couple of weeks ago, he helmed a teaser for "B.M.F." Spiff directed all the freestyle videos Ross has done the past couple of years, as well as videos from Deeper Than Rap, such as "Mafia Music" and "Valley of Death." The Orlando native has caught the attention of other MCs as well; he directed Waka Flocka's "O Let's Do It" remix video as well.
"I'm from Orlando," Spiff began to tell of how he hooked up with the leader of the Carol City Cartel. "I used to work as A&R for DJ Nasty. Nasty Beat Makers from Orlando. That's [DJ] Khaled's people and brother. So [Ross] put me on a couple of years ago. We just been building. Right now, we working. A lot of stuff going on. Ross manages me as a video director. He's been doing a lot for me as far as networking, getting me a lot of gigs."
Spiff's biggest goal right now is to start directing films. He says getting the opportunity to shadow director F. Gary Gray on the set of the "Super High" video was an invaluable experience.
"I got to watch him shoot a video. It was amazing. He shoots videos like they're movies. He's picking two movies coming up. He doesn't know which one. But either one he picks, I'm flying to where it is, and I'm going to be his water boy that day and watch everything he does."