A few months back, Karmaloop TV spotted a rising star in the Chicago hip hop circuit. Spenzo, an 18-year-old from the South Side with a striking rhyme-style, began his ascent with an endorsement from his compatriots, LEP Bogus Boys. Seeing the kid’s skill, we linked up with Spenzo with plans to create a series of music videos, release his mixtape In Spenzo We Trust, and collaborate with him on a limited edition T-shirt design, which turned into the distinct Paper Kings tee.
In our second video with the young talent, Spenzo he laments love gone bad in slow motion, punctuating the ensuing disaster with heartfelt testimonials. In the second verse, he describes the pain of never truly having known his father. Ruminating on such moments of clarity has become Spenzo’s signature, following our recent video for “Heaven Can Wait” in which he basks in his youth and trepidatiously looks ahead at the harsh future he faces as a young black man from Chicago’s South Side.
Breaking from the trend we’ve come to expect from Chicago rappers, Spenzo is a breath of fresh air–an introspective voice arising out of the senseless mayhem that plagues his hometown. Working closely with Spenzo and his affiliates, Karmaloop TV got a chance to spend time with him in his element. Below, we interview Spenzo about setting of his upbringing, asking him to share stories from his life that affect his outlook.
My earliest memory of that corner where McCoys Furtniture is? The studio that’s located right there on the block. My big homie brought me there. He got LEP Bogus Boys, then he got me. LEP was recording there with various people, like A$AP to Kanye West, all in that studio. Anyhow, I first got around that neighborhood and I start seeing the people around there, ’cause there’s a barber shop right there. There’s houses, residences, kids. I’m not from that area but thats where I began to record at.
I started getting familiar and once I seen a fight happen. It was over nothing, they just boxing. That’s how they get down. It’s probably just over some argument. It’s kids out there, you know? It’s probably just over something petty.
They ended up letting some shots off. It was crazy. Right there. A lot of stuff happens on that block on the daily so it becomes normal, you know. It’s not like motherfuckers over there are rich and just balling out. It’s people starving. You see kids running out there in the middle of the street. I seen a kid almost get whacked and the motherfucker was like, “Get your kid!” It was just a baby just running past and the mom wasn’t watching or really focusing on the baby and the car almost hit it, but somebody grabbed it. It’s fucked up. But thats just how it goes. It’s the hood, man.
That’s me holding destiny, my aunty’s latest child, a little toddler–A bad little girl man. You can tell, you know, you see the villain smirk right there. And that’s my homeboy T right there next to me. I got a big family, we all stick together. My auntie got like five or six kids over there, probably 7 if you include the people she brought in just because she’s a welcoming woman. My mom even adopted three kids it was like nine of us in the house.
But no matter how big the family is, no matter what goes on, we all just stick together, ride together. Some of the adopted kids were kids in my family who didn’t have anyone to take care of them. You just have to take them because you dont want them to go into foster care or nothing like that.
73rd and Halsted
I’d always hit up this store at 73rd and Halsted when I was in the studio, y’know, for the usual shit. Tic Tacs, pack of Halls if my voice starts tweaking, some Fiji water. One day out the week I might go grab some chips with cheese, some nachos but other then that I’m straight back in the studio, back in the booth. I might grab a turkey sandwich or eating bologna or some shit. (laughs) Bologna was the meat. So yea, it went from bologna to turkey and then I just started eating steak.