My 1st Interview was Spragga Benz 4/5/08

It’s was real early Sunday morning and when most folks have either been asleep for some hours, or maybe waking up to go to church, I was amongst the many at Shatto Ballroom in Los Angeles, CA.  The semi-packed venue was home to Spragga Benz’s “Pon Di Willy” music video shoot that night.  Although he started his performance stating that he would not be performing any of his older tunes, the crowd’s energy must’ve gave him no choice.  After Spragga performed four of his new tunes, he kept the early morning crowd pleased with hits like; “Tings A Gwan” and “Wi Nuh Like” to name a few.  Special guests’ Legendary Shinehead and Red Square’s female artist Bambi were amongst those he shared his stage with.  And if all that wasn’t enough, the interview that followed the much enjoyed night reminded me why and how this extremely humble man has been and remains at the top of the of his game! 

 Carib Press:  Greetings from the Carib Press family.  So I know this question is a little tired, but where did the name Spragga come from?

 Spragga Benz:  Spragga!  Well, Spragga come from mi little figure, you know?  Skinny!  It used to be Spaghetti.  So me change up the spig and added tha sprag and it became Spragga.

 CP:  You started off as a Selectah for La Benz.  Tell me what happened back in 1992 during your dubplate session with Buju Banton?

 Spragga Benz:  Yeah well, it was a Sunday evening.  We pick him up and carry him pon the sound to do some dubplates.  But when he got there he was sayin he only want give us two songs, he don’t want to give me 4 songs and me must do the other two me self if I want four so I tell him dat I’m not a DJ, but since you mek it look so easy, I’ll do it.  Yeah and I jus start saying some freestyle and him say, “Serious ting, you know?  Sound good still, you know?”

 CP:  So a star was born?

 Spragga Benz:  Yeah! So him start give me some pointer on what to do, how to write that song and you know, I just took it from there.

 CP: So after that it was like a “dominoe effect” and all the sounds were asking you for dubplates, who was the first sound that you recorded a dubplate for? 

 Spragg Benz:  The first dubplate was call, “Love Mi Gun” for La Benz cause it our sound, you know?  So nobody didn’t know that we are the dj until I did the second dub that is “Jack It Up” and then from there we a run it!  That’s when me added up to the forefront because “Love Mi Gun” was popular but people didn’t know who it was and we didn’t really want em to know cause it was just fun at the moment, you know?  Wasn’t really a serious thing.  But the popularity from “Jack It UP” made it official.

 CP:  During that time it was pretty much the rude bwoy era of dancehall.  You were coming out with artist like Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Terror Fabolous and you were just a Selectah turned DJ, so how was it sharing a stage with all these legends?

 Spragga Benz:  The cream of the crop.  Well, it was awesome, you know?  Because I really didn’t get the training same way.  Cause most of the guys them been doin’ it since they were younger, you know?  Until dem beefen up and gradually became popular.  But my thing, me just kill a sound spontaneously over night.  I wasn’t really fully prepared.  So the first show I went to was Reggae Sunsplash and it was kind of intimidatin’ in that way to go up there and see 30,000 people in front of you the first time you are on stage and you are expected to move this 30,000 people when at that time I only had four songs, you know?  So I just did what I did, you know?  Didn’t let it intimidate me cause the big artist was there. 

 CP: Moving to current affairs, whats new with your Red Square Crew?

 Spragga Benz:  Red Square is always developin’ new artist.  We always workin’ with Sugar Slick and Bad Greg Hines, you know?  That’s part of the crew.  Assassin, see Assassin develop inna him own now.  So him good, you know?  Bambi, she new and we never did really have a girl inna the whole circle, you know?  Yeah, we kinda try to develop her into a tuff new artist. 

 CP:  And what about yourself, what is current with Spragga Benz?

 Spragga Benz:  I’m recording an album right now.  One more album with Stephen Marley.  We done about 15 or 16 track now so…but we still writin’ and doin’ more songs together.

 CP:  So he’s producing or he’s on the tracks also? 

 Spragga Benz:  Yeah, he’s producin’ the whole album.  We haven’t done the collaboration track just yet cause he’s into the producing thing, you know?  But the thing so far…BAD!  We doin the album with MBIG and it’s called “The Prototype,” which I did 4 of the songs them tonight.  When that ready, I have the next album with Salaam Remi.  We gonna do that one on itunes first; itunes release soon.  So I have a lot of musical works comin’.

 CP:  What about some acting ?  I know you played a role in “Brooklyn Babylon” and starred in “Shottas.”

 Spragga Benz:  Well, I just got a script about two months ago and me work on that.  And couple more things, you know?  (hesitation in his voice)

 CP:  Can’t say too much?

 Spragga Benz:  Nah, not yet.  Couple things in the works. 

 CP:  So you enjoy acting?

 Spragga Benz:  Well, depends.  I only did it twice and if I am with people I’m comfortable with, yeah it can be fun.

 CP:  How was it as a Rasta to play a rude boy, top shotta in the movie “Shottas”?

 Spragga Benz:  It’s like uh, Rasta are real revolutionary people and if we have a cause it nah gwan to be wasted energy like that.  Undirected, you know?  If you are a Rude Boy, you have a definite object that you want to tackle, you know? 

 CP:   Your never heard talking negative about other artists or artists talking negative about you?  So how do you stay out of the negativity when the dancehall is known, and can be, heavy in that?

 Spragga Benz:  No time for that.  No time for that!  We don’t need that.  The dancehall don’t even need that.  Competition is always good.  And people like the energy of the competition, but when they take it too personal, I’m not with that.  And because I know that I’m the type of person that easily take things personal, I try not to disrespect anybody!  Kharma, you know?  What go up, come down!  I don’t diss them, them don’t diss me!  And if they do diss me, I try not to follow it and just leave it as an artist that tryin’ to make a living at my expense. That’s no problem, you know?

 CP:  In the “Africa Unite” dvd there is a glimpse of you with the Marley’s.  How was that trip to Ethiopia?  Was it a spiritual journey?

 Spragga Benz:  Whoooa!  Yeah mon, that was an eye openin’, whole life, experience.  Tourin’ His Majesty’s palace and actually goin’ into His Majesty’s bedroom and seein’ how the whole thing set up, you know?  His desk set up by his bed to show you H.I.M not a man of play!  Eye openin’ and on the ball.  The whole thing a serious thing mon…yeah mon!  We were playin’ in Mesecal Square and to date that’s still my biggest audience, about 300,000 people…as far as your eyes can see, each direction except up and down.  All different kinds of people, you know?

 CP:  Is there anything else you’d like to say?

 Spragga Benz:  Yeah mon, just more life and give thanks to all of the fans that support me, you know?  Hopefully I can continue to please dem! 

 CP:  I am sure you will.  Blessed Love!

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