We know Ed Sheeran is a huge hip-hop fan. But what we didn't know until yesterday was that one his all-time favorites is by a certain early '00s country rapper who just happens to be gearing up for a big comeback this month.
Bubba Sparxxx Deliverance is still one of the best albums I own— Ed Sheeran (@edsheeran) June 13, 2014
Ed's not alone. The New York Times recently called Sparxxx's 2003 Deliverance "one of the most inventive hip-hop albums of the 2000s," saying it wouldn't sound out of place if it was released today.
Well, Ed's praise didn't go unnoticed. Sparxxx told MTV News on Friday (June 13) that a bunch of friends sent him Sheeran's tweet shortly after it went up, and an Internet friendship was born.
"I was definitely blown away; it was an awesome thing," Sparxxx said of the Sheeran love. Shortly after Bubba read the tweet, the odd couple started following each other and then direct messaging. "He's a super cool guy. I've heard 'A Team' and 'Lego House' and I knew he was a super-talented guy... and I definitely knew how bad-ass he was."
Bubba said he told Ed how much he appreciated the public shout-out, and then Sheeran mentioned that he'll be on tour soon and that they should hang out when he gets to Nashville. "He's a huge hip-hop fan, that's obvious," Sparxxx said when asked if it was possible a collabo could be in their future.
While Sparxxx appreciates, and is humbled by, the fact that a decade later people still hit him up every day to say how much they loved Deliverance, he's excited about the upcoming release of his new album, Made On McCosh Mill Rd. He's been on the country-rap thing for a minute, but his new one comes just as the crossover is hitting a peak thanks to acts like Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean embracing beats and rhymes. "At the end of the day, I'm just glad it's happening because for me it's always been about the exchange between cultures," said Sparxxx, best known for hits including "Ms. New Booty," "Ugly" and "Lovely."
Sparxxx said rather than being a country artist who raps, he's always considered himself a rapper who happens to be from the country. (He had a close association with Timbaland early in his career when he was on Tim's Beat Club label.) And McCosh, named after LaGrange, Georgia, road he grew up on, is another seamless mix of hip-hop and traditional country instruments like banjo and fiddle. The title track's video was shot on the farm Sparxxx grew up and it features Danny Boone of Georgia rock/hip-hop band Rehab.
"It's a return to home, period," Sparxxx said. "Sonically, in terms of the instrumentation, imagery... this is seed sprouting [that's] part of the planting I did a long time ago." Sparxxx has brought along a number of similarly minded acts he hopes to bring into the spotlight on the album, including country singer JJ Lawhorn on "Past is Practice," rural rappers Redneck Souljers on "Pay Attention" and the other two MC's in his long-running side project I4NI on "Prolly Right."