In 2012, we witnessed how a simple homemade YouTube video could turn an obscure young artist into a radio frequent, with a major record deal (a la Chief Keef). In 2013, I believe a few up and coming artist will continue to rise from being local wonders to gaining national attention; among them is a young, hungry artist from the "Low End" section of Chicago, named Spenzo. His early interest in the music industry could be accounted to the fact he was raised by a well known Chicago DJ. But as a 17 year-old high school student, Spenzo has drummed up his own buzz that is impressive for an artist his age.
So what’s all the buzz about? The hip-hop scene in Chicago is usually hit or miss. Varying factors contribute to the reception and popularity of an artist. Spenzo could very well end up being another “hometown hero” as he is a native of the city with ties that can be traced through the Chicago music circuit. In addition to his firmly planted roots, Spenzo has a unique music style that is noteworthy in comparison to his peers. Although he was raised in an area known for its gun violence, drug trafficking, and gang activity, Spenzo’s music doesn’t reflect or glorify that lifestyle. In 2012, a video was released via his YouTube channel for a track entitled “For My Set”; however, after only 24 hours the video was removed due to the response it generated. Spenzo was interviewed and expressed his disdain for the video carrying a negative image and being seen as a “hood anthem”. That situation alone sets Spenzo apart from many of his peers trying to break into the industry.
"...live above the influence. I never felt like I had to dumb myself down. I know I can do better than that...It’s just not me; I’ll never talk about shooting because that’s not me." - Spenzo
To many new artists, any publicity, rather it be negative or positive, is good publicity. Spenzo seems to know the difference; furthermore, he is not interested in just capitalizing on what’s hot right now. Spenz focuses more on making quality music for his fans and giving on his personality and feelings on ever track, that his generation can relate to and enjoy.
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Spenzo's most popular video "Powerful"
In this game longevity is bred by individuality, so it’s refreshing to see a new face with no intention of hoping on the “Drill Music” bandwagon. And with no desire to build his brand around what’s popular at this time, paired with his youthful energy and lyrical capabilities, Spenzo’s music has built up a huge fan-following and attention among many industry execs and artist in a short timeframe. With over 2 million views of his YouTube videos and respected artists, such as Lupe and Kendrick Lamar, speaking about his talent, multiple labels have shown interest in the Chicago artist as his music(talent and lyrical ability) continues to speak for itself.
Spenzo on MTV's Rap Fix
At my first glance, Spenzo seemed like the average high school rapper, just having fun making music. But the more I paid attention to his content and purpose, I realized that he does make a conscious effort to stand out amongst his peers and build his own brand. He represents the fun and authentic side of hip hop, which as of lately has been lost in the midst of dope dealing and gun slinging of most of today's rap music. In one of his most popular videos called “Go In freestyle”, you can’t deny this young man’s presence and raw talent.
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Spenzo "Go In Freestyle"
Paired with his most recent “Chi State of Mind” video, you can see a “true to themselves” MC that has a story to tell and wants to continue growing, while remaining versatile as an entertainer. Definitely one of my personal favorite artists on the come up, I hope to see big things from this young rapper in 2013.