In the world of hip-hop, Philadelphia has always been home to musical talent ranging from The Roots, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Dice Raw to Beanie Sigel and Freeway. Years ago, Rahsheed aka Maylay Sparks joined up with Baby Blak and formed the Philly crew, Ill Advised. Gaining critical acclaim but not much worldwide recognition, the group created quality hip-hop that both underground backpackers and hardcore street emcees could love. On Rapster Records, Baby Blak (of Ill Advised) released his solo album “Once You Go Blak”, but fans were wondering about and yearning for Maylay Sparks. In the past, Maylay has worked with Mr. Complex, C Rayz Walz, Louis Logic, The Roots, Last Emperor, Canibus, Masta Ace and more. He was even involved with Eastern Conference Records and B9000 Records for a while.
Just like another Philly emcee Grand Agent, Maylay Sparks moved to Europe. Many underground emcees and producers have moved to Europe and became very comfortable. Grand Agent and Fat Jon of Five Deez have made Germany their home. Maylay Sparks has found a new home in Copenhagen, Denmark. Finally in 2004, Maylay Sparks released his debut solo album “Graymatter” on Rapster and K7! Records. Omni, DJ White Shadow, DJ Noize, Chaos, Context, DJ Jazz, Rick Smoove, The Prunes and Maylay himself handle production. Guests include Malik B of The Roots, Crush, and Kid Swift. “Graymatter” is an intelligent, hard-hitting underground independent hip-hop album filled with hungry rhymes, truthful emcee skills, and vivid production. Musically, “Graymatter” is rich, jazzy, and respectful towards the art of hip-hop. “Robin Hoodz” has live bass by Mike Tyler and scratches by Kid Swift. “Konnichiwa” has an Asian flavor while “Black Sheep” is about pride of his area.
On a cool afternoon in March 2004, I had an overseas conversation with the Philly native. From Philly to Copenhagen, Maylay Sparks has been rocking mics and crowds while sparking his love for hip-hop.
MVRemix: What goes on?
Chilling. Smoking as usual.
MVRemix: Your solo album is called ‘Graymatter’. Tell us about it. Who is on it? Who produced it?
Maylay Sparks: Well, the title is ‘Graymatter’, a collective piece from myself, DJ Noize, DJ Jaz, The Prunes, Omni and DJ White Shadow from Norway. It just a paradigm of real hip hop!
MVRemix: What is the meaning behind the title ‘Graymatter’?
Maylay Sparks: Gray is my last name and since the project is so ill mentally, I called it that. It is just a play on words.
MVRemix: Why and how did you hook up with K7! & Rapster?
Maylay Sparks: DJ Typhoon and Peter from Blvd Connection linked me with Horst, the man behind k7!
MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on the title ‘Graymatter’
Maylay Sparks: Yes, ‘5034’. It’s just me.
MVRemix: What song took you the longest to do? Why? The shortest? Why?
Maylay Sparks: All were about the same. I just knock them out.
MVRemix: You recorded this in Copenhagen? Why? How was the recording process different than in the U.S.?
Maylay Sparks: A lot more weed for a lot less money.
MVRemix: Did you fully re-locate to Copenhagen? Why?
Maylay Sparks: Not totally but Copenhagen is special for many things, especially the arts.
MVRemix: How is Copenhagen different from Philadelphia?
Maylay Sparks: Very similar because of the people. Philly is laid back.
MVRemix: How did you meet and eventually form Ill Advised?
Maylay Sparks: We are from the same hood and have common friends so we united in 1995.