Photo Credit: Anthony Mandler
Of all the rappers representing the South, few have such deep roots in it as Bubba Sparxxx. The youngest son of two blue-collar workers, Sparxxx (born Warren Anderson Mathis) grew up in LaGrange, GA, just over an hour south of Atlanta. His ties to hip hop music began in the gangsta rap revolution of 1988, when he was exposed to West Coast rap giants like NWA, Too $hort, and Eazy-E. At age 15, Sparxxx began writing rhymes. However, between playing high school football and working, he had little time to pursue his passion.
Sparxxx says he didn·t really take rapping seriously in high school, because there wasn’t really an outlet for it in LaGrange. However, with such a limited supply of hip hop in his hometown, Sparxxx craved more of it. In late 1996, Sparxxx’s demo tape managed to catch the ear of a So So Def producer. After an unsuccessful stint in the rap group One Card Shi, Sparxxx decided to take a year off from rapping.
In early 1999, Sparxxx began recording once again, this time pressing a 12-song version of Dark Days, Bright Nights. Jimmy Iovine, an executive at Interscope records liked Sparxxx·s music and flew him in to discuss a record deal. A total of 11 record companies courted Sparxxx, but he felt that Interscope was his best choice.
Iovine paired Sparxxx with super-producer Timbaland, who went on to produce six tracks for Dark Days, Bright Nights. Timbaland’s tracks on Bubba’s album mesh East and South hip-hop flavor to produce a refreshing sound. Overall, Sparxxx’s album shows the potential of a new MC from the Deep South. Sparxxx’s rhyming abilities are well-highlighted throughout the album, and his talent shows nothing but promise for Athens’ newest star.
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