Spose red sweater

The Next Great White Rapper Hails From Wells, Maine

Ryan "Spose" Peters. Though you may not be familiar with his name, you're probably familiar with his current hit, "I'm Awesome"—a self-produced, self-deprecating rap song from his 2009 mixtape, We Smoked It All, that debuted at No. 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart last week and moved more than 33,000 digital downloads to land in the Top 30 on the iTunes Top Songs list. Unfortunately, that's probably just about all you know about the 24-year-old rapper from Wells, Maine—because despite the fact that he recently inked a deal with Universal Republic, Spose has taken the path less traveled when it comes to making his mark. His presence on rap blogs is essentially non-existent, he still lives in Maine, and, outside of a few local press clippings, he's gotten almost no national media attention. So VIBE.com caught up with Spose by phone (where the rapper was kicking it in the parking lot outside of a Taco Bell in his hometown, no less) to find out more about the man behind one of the fastest-growing songs in the country.

 

VIBE: You're at an interesting place in your career right now. You're a rapper with a huge hit song on your hands, but it feel likes a lot of people out there still have no idea who you really are. So let me start by asking this: Who the hell is Spose?
Spose: [Laughs] I've been a full-fledged independent artist since 2006. I've been grinding and doing live shows. I probably did 100 of them per year in Maine the last two years. But I have to be honest: To think a year ago that my song would be Top 30 on iTunes would have been bewildering. I didn’t plan for this. I mean, two months ago, I was delivering pizza and I had just gone back to college to get my English degree at Suffolk University in Boston.

How did you actually start rapping seriously in Maine? It definitely doesn't seem like the ideal place to launch a hip-hop career.
I was in a band in eighth grade in 2000 and they kicked me out because I was too bossy. So I had this dude from my hometown named DJ Food Stamp, who is now the house DJ for UndergroundHipHop.com, who kind of mentored me. He turned me on to a lot of stuff like Dilated People, Jurassic 5, early OutKast, and Jay-Z. I started trying to rhyme myself and I sucked. But I spent all of high school rhyming everyday and by the time I graduated, I had really found my voice as an MC.

Did you have a studio available to you during high school? 
Nope. [Laughs] I recorded most of it right at my mom's house. I had a computer and a Radio Shack mic. It wasn't until my junior year of high school that I ended up recording my first song at a legit studio. I caught the bug and started working on my debut album, Preposterously Dank, which I released in 2007. And then I started touring.

Let's talk about "I'm Awesome." The first thing people recognize is the beat—the xylophone, the accordion, the drums. It's a strange combination. How did you come up with it?
I recorded that in my basement. I did the drums on an MPC and played the keyboard to incorporate the other sounds. I actually borrowed the keyboard from my grandfather. [Laughs] And I ended up only using intentionally corny instruments. It's a pan flute, an xylophone and an accordion. It doesn't get any cheesier than that.

The subject matter is pretty out there, too. The song is called "I'm Awesome" but you're basically making fun of yourself throughout the course of it. Outside of just being a white rapper, it's one of the things that's helped fuel comparisons to Eminem and Asher Roth.
Conceptually, the track was an experiment to see how far I could take it. Though it might not sound like it, the record was a well-thought-out idea on my behalf. It was intentional for me to self-deprecate myself and throw myself under the bus to see how far I could take it, but at the same time, I still wanted it to come across as entertaining and captivating.

How did it end up getting played on the local radio station? 
It's funny. We don't have a rap station in Maine. There used to be one when I was growing up but it disappeared shortly after my first album dropped. So the first time I heard it was actually on a local show called Spinout on 94.3 WCYY, which is the rock station I grew up listening to. They'd never played a rap record, so I didn't even think there was a chance to be on a local show. But once they played it, people started calling in and reacting to it.

Did you think it would become as big as it has become?
Honestly, that cosign was as good as I thought I would do. My hope was that I could use that radio play in my bio and maybe get some shows in New Hampshire or even Boston and push myself as an independent musician, step-by-step. I never thought I was going to climb the ladder to the top, escalator-style, you know? [Laughs]

CLICK NEXT TO READ HOW SPOSE'S LIFE CHANGED SINCE SIGNING WITH UNIVERSAL

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YNW Melly's "Murder On Mind" Number 1 On Apple Music Amid Murder Charges

YNW Melly's career may finally be taking off as his song "Murder On My Mind" has hit number one on Apple Music. However, the 19-year-old, real name Jamell Demons, won't be enjoying the fruits of his labor as a judge denied him bond after being charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

According to a tweet from  Chart Data, Melly's 2017 track has earned prime real estate on Apple Music, with some believing the song is a confessional providing clues to the murder he and Cortlen Henry are accused of. Unfortunately, the song was released prior to the double homicide.

[email protected]'s "Murder On My Mind" has reached #1 on US Apple Music.

— chart data (@chartdata) February 16, 2019

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Demons, and Henry reportedly staged the murder of Anthony Williams and Christopher Thomas Jr to appear like a drive-by shooting. Williams and Thomas were friends of Demons and lived as roommates in Broward County.

Williams and Thomas suffered multiple gunshot wounds and were pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Demons took to Instagram and denied the accusations before turning himself over to police.

“To all my fans and supporters no I did not get locked up in Washington, but I am turning myself in today I want you guys to know I love you and appreciate every single one of y’all,” he wrote. “A couple months ago I lost my two brothers by violence and now the system want to find justice.

“Unfortunately a lot of rumors and lies are being said but no worries god is with me and my brother @ynw.bortlen and we want y’all to remember it’s a ynw Family I love you @ynwsakchaser1 and @ynwjuvy #freeus.”

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Premiere: Mass Appeal's 070 Phi Teaches Smart Street Politics In 'Good Contracts' Music Video

In the Llama-directed music video for his song "Good Contracts," New Jersey rapper 070 Phi tells a harrowing street tale of violence, kidnapping and betrayal.

“The concept behind 'Good Contracts' is keeping yourself out of a vulnerable position where somebody can take advantage of you. In the video, one of the characters involved himself with a woman that he met outside and brought her to where he makes his money," 070 Phi told VIBE. "His relationship with her was like a bad contract because all she wants to do is take advantage of him and rob him for his money. Metaphorically speaking my character is a good lawyer that helps him out of his situation.”

Musically, 070 Phi uses witty autotuned rhymes to share his sense of impending doom in the face of block enemies and corrupt cops, and how he plans to keep his integrity in all scenarios. "Good Contracts" is the second visual from his EP Outside, which is available on all streaming platforms through Mass Appeal Records.

Phi's Hudson County, New Jersey-rooted 070 Collective has been making waves for the past year and change. Phi formed the crew with Shake, Ralph River, Treee Safari, Behard, Bhee, Malick, Hack, and production group The Kompetition. Since then, Phi and Shake have both have found success: Phi as a signee of Mass Appeal Records, and appearing on the label's Starting 5: Vol. 1 compilation, and Shake as a signee of Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music, appearing on songs "Ghost Town" and "Violent Crimes" from West's album Ye, as well as appearing on Pusha T's Daytona and Nas' Nasir.

Fans can see 070 Phi perform on the Starting 5 tour with Mass Appeal labelmates Fashawn, Stro, Ezri, and Cantrell. See tour dates below, and RSVP for free online.

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Drake, Cardi B, Bruno Mars, And More Friday Releases You Need To Hear

February is off to an epic start. Cardi B and Bruno Mars hopped back in the studio to deliver another banger; Drake re-released his breakout mixtape for streaming platforms; and that's just the half of it.

Check out the latest Friday music releases below.

Drake – So Far Gone

Drake's breakout mixtape, So Far Gone is finally available to stream. The project was originally released in 2009, but never made it to streaming platforms until now.

Drake and fans recently celebrated the mixtape's 10-year anniversary on Feb. 13. The OVO frontrunner shared a heartfelt post on Instagram, thanking Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, and more artists who contributed to the project and his career throughout the years.

The 18-track album includes the hit singles, "Successful," "Best I Ever Had," and "Houstatlantavegas." Stream So Far Gone below.

India.Arie – Worthy

India.Arie is back with a new project. Her new project, Worthy, features 16 tracks. The singer previously released "That Magic" ahead of the album's debut. It's currently at the top of the Urban A/C radio chart.

Worthy is India.Arie's first full-length album in five years. In support of the new project, the songstress announced a tour. It will begin on Apr. 30, in Jacksonville, and run through major cities, including Detroit, Boston, Atlanta, and New York.

Listen to Worthy below.

Cardi B, Bruno Mars – "Please Me"

Cardi B and Bruno Mars are back with another banger. The two released their latest collaboration, entitled "Please Me."

The Bronx native teased the new track on Instagram. The song is their second collaboration since 2016's "Finesse (Remix)."  The colorful music video gained viral attention for paying homage to In Living Color.

Listen to Cardi B and Bruno Mars' new track below.

Offset – "Red Room"

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"Red Room" is the first music release from Offset's upcoming album, which is slated to drop on Feb. 22. Of the album, Offset previously told Billboard: "I'm talking about relevant situations that have occurred over the last 18 or 24 months, like me being in the crash, my kids, my family time and me being married... There's different parts of my life. The ups and downs of being in music, the feeling of people doubting me and being the underdog to becoming the big dog."

Watch the video for "Red Room" below.

Salaam Remi Ft. Amy Winehouse & Nas – "Find My Love"

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The song was reportedly record during a studio session prior to Winehouse's death in 2011. "Working with friends is the best part of being a creator,” Remi shared in a statement. "With Nas and Amy being two of my closest creative partners over the years, this organically feels like the first song from my Do It for the Culture 2 collection of songs."

Listen to "Find My Love" below.

Lil Kim – "Go Awff"

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Saweetie – "Mood"

Saweetie is keeping the Valentines day spirit alive with "Mood."

The new single is a cute return for the self-proclaimed "Icy" girl, with a two-minute track where the emcee reminisces on the fun of a high-profile relationship. "When we step out it's some paparazzi sh*t," she raps over the verse.

Listening to the track, it's possible that the 25-year-old is talking about her relationship with Migos rapper, Quavo. Though the song does not make mention of his name, the record feels as though it draws on the personal experience of a good time with a significant other.

Listen to Sweetie's "Mood" below.

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Listen to the "Ice Me Out (Remix)" below.

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