Interview conducted by: DEREK PHIFER
Remember 1987? Well let me take you back for a second. Public Enemy had just released their debut album titled YO! Bum Rush The Jam, KRS One and Scott Larock released Criminal Minded on Boogie Down Productions, West Coast Hip-Hop was making it's way to the forefront of Hip-Hop, and the nation was introduced to a beautiful and talented young sista that went by the name of DJ Spinderella. Remember the way you felt when you heard your first Hip-Hop track? What about the way you feel every time you hear your all-time favorite song? It's similar to the feeling that you got right after your first kiss, or how you felt when you knew you were gonna get some for the first time. Simply put, it's pure excitement. Well that's the feeling that DJ Spinderella goes for every time she steps into the booth. Whether she's tearing up a party, or she's hosting her nationally syndicated show "The Back Spin," her goal is to give you that very same buzz every single time. Spin recently sat down with Rap Industry's Derek Phifer to talk about everything ranging from her Salt-N-Peppa days to the men in her love life. Sit-down with ya boy and take a look into heart of one of the best DJ's that Hip-Hop has ever spawned.
What made you want to focus on DJing instead of rapping?
Spin: Well I started out as a DJ. I wasnt rapping at all. I was a DJ first and foremost. It was more stuff that i picked up along the way. My dad would play music in my house from when I was a baby. That's all day, all night we would hear music really loud. All kinds of music, everything, so I grew up around it and I picked it up from my high school boyfriend, the feel or the art of DJing. He did a lot of the community and the high school parties and I would just help him carry records and stuff like that, I kind of just picked it up that way. So my main thing wasn't rapping at all, it was DJing.
Right, right. So on Nas' Where Are They Now track I remember hearing him say something about The Original Spinderella. Is that you?
Spin: Well anybody that knows Salt-N-Peppa knows that there was a Spinderella before me. On their first album, that's who they call The Original Spinderella. She calls herself The Original Spinderella. I came on board in '87, so he's referring to her.
You're doing a lot of things in the radio game right now from what I've been reading. Can you tell me a little about that?
Spin: Yeah, I have a show that I started a few years back called The Back Spin. It's like an ode to the Old School and for those that rep the era that basically jumped this whole culture off. We just really reflect on the Old School, especially the "Golden Era," which was my favorite time in Hip-Hop. So it's a 2-hour mix show about that and we just have a lot of fun with that and do a lot of tidbits and factoids and stuff with the music. I do that with my boy DJ Modav.
What artists get the most burn on that show then?
Spin: (Lets out a giggle) Well I love Tribe Called Quest, I love KRS One, I love Eric B. and Rakim, umm we have NWA, we show a lot of love for just artists of that era. Whoever was makin' noise at the time, but my favorite (interupts herself) of course my favorite, would have to be KRS One. I'm a little biased, but I will play him a lot. Then I give a lot of love to females in Hip--Hop as well.
Who's one rapper from the 80's or 90's that was ahead of their time and that you feel could step into the game right now and really tear it up?
Spin: I don't know. I really believe that if Kane (Big Daddy Kane) came back and gave us some more that we would definitely welcome him. I think he's out there performing and stuff, but I don't know about any material. Of course Rakim, we've been waiting on him forever to drop. All those cats would be welcomed back, as long as they don't do too much. As long as they just fit right in it you know? Because when you start tryin' to do this and start tryin' to do that instead of doing who you are, I think you'd have a problem with it, but I think there are a few of them from back then that would be very much welcome.
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Old School Hip-Hop?
Spin: What's the first thing that comes to mind? I would say probably the feeling. It's unexplainable. Only those who were there would probably be able to tell you, but the feeling it gave you. Young people were empowered by the music and that was because it was our own at the time and it just felt like really empowering. We had Public Enemy, we had EPMD, we had NWA, we had just a nice, nice variety at the time as well. It's kind of like the feeling, the music, the dances, it was just a lot of fun. Just the whole look, it was just perfect.
So going off of that, what do you think about the direction Hip-Hop has gone in since then?
Spin: Well of course it has grown out of control. You know, it's global, and I remember most of the rappers from the era will tell you the main question we used to always get asked was "how long is this gonna last? Besides this, how are you gonna survive it? What comes after rap?" you know, when it's all said and done. But you know, I've seen it grow, and just like anything, sometimes it grows out of proportion. It goes in like crazy directions, you know, from what we've seen of it, but it's still a great way to acquire economic growth for our community and to express ourselves. If we use it wisely it's a wonderful tool to help raise a culture.
Who, or what, inspires you to keep doing the DJ thing?
Spin: DJing itself is an art. It's knowing that it's what keeps the music going. The DJ is the cornerstone of it. That's what inspires me, because back in the days it was the Emcee who got the respect and the love. It seems like today that has shifted to the DJ and that is because the DJ makes the call. They're the goto person. In the business itself, people depend on the DJ's opinion. From the music standpoint, the DJ creates the energy of the party itself. A good DJ can call what's hot you know? The dynamic of a DJ seems to just continue to grow. Another aspect of a DJ is the production value that they bring to the game as well. They're not just sittin' right there just playin' music. There's other aspects to a DJ. It's a great career move and it makes you feel good. If a DJ's not feelin' well the party won't be good. If a DJ is up and about you gonna have something really crackin' and it's gonna be a great night.
What do you think about the still lacking presence of female DJs, or at least, the lack of press that they're getting?
Spin: The lack of press? I see a lot of DJs, female DJs, getting put on now. There's definitely a growth in female DJs. I know that it's a hot commodity. The best part of a female DJ is a DJ that really can hold her own you know? I see a lot of women who love it. I actually talked to one a couple of days ago. My conversation with her was real serious about it. It's a great line of work and it can produce a lot of jobs for you. You have to really, really love it. It's not just about being a hot commodity, it's being someone who loves the music. There's a lot of females out there who have the desire to want to DJ. That's a good open door, it's an open door. I'm not mad at it.
So let me ask you this...and keep in mind that I'm a big fan when I'm asking you this, but do you think that if you weren't as physically attractive as you are that you'd be where you are in your career right now?
Spin: (sounding surprised) If I wasn't what?
If you weren't as physically attractive as you are, do you think you'd be as far?
Nah forreal what's good?
Spin: (Laughing) Aww, that's so cute.
Huh? (my voice actually cracked here from trying not to laugh)
Spin: That was cute. I don't know, I mean...I think that's what's been fuckin' (interrupts herself) I mean I think that's probably what hinders me. You know, it's kind of intimidating for me as well, because when I go to parties, a lot of times I have to convince them to get it crackin, because they'll stand there and stare. So I don't know what that's all about, but it's intimidating to me. It intimidates me, but beyond that, if I can rock the party more so than anything, then people can forget who's DJing and forget what's up there. Most of the time they are really, really feeling the party and they walk out really happy. So that's my goal at a party, to get them away from the physical part of it. Well, not to get them away from it, because that's a separate element too, but more so to get them content with what they're hearing and enjoying themselves. But thank you for that. I have to say that's a really sidebar compliment. I'll take that.
(Laughing) I was just wondering because I've definitely heard from different people that say they don't really do anything. They just wear something short, or look a certain way and they get what they want you know? But you actually have some skills, so I was wondering how the combination was working for you.
Spin: Like I said, it is intimidating from my end, for the most part, my goal is to make you walk out and feel happy and good and really like, "YEAH, THAT WAS THE FUCKIN' BOMB!" you know? That's my goal. And if you think I'm cute and if you think I'm sexy or whatever, that's a bonus, but that's not the main for me.
Well going off of that, and I don't know how well you follow today's R&B, but I think that there's a severe lack of real talent as compared to back in the 80's or 90's. I'm not going to ask you to give out any names if you feel the same way, but do you think that the talent's sort of watered down compared to back then?
Spin: In R&B? It depends on the individual, because I don't like to judge what I see. I do feel there is some talent out there. I enjoy Ne-yo, I enjoy Usher, I enjoy some of the artists that are out now just as much as when I was in that era. We should take a look at the point that that was such a warm era to us. The 80's was such a warm era to us that in comparison to now, these cats of today are just really gettin' a shitty ass situation and I don't think they get to reflect their originality as much because of what they've been pushed to do. When you have artists that have that talent and that can write like an R. Kelly, he's whack in other areas (laughing), but he definitely is a genius when it comes to music. Ne-yo is another artist that I don't know that today's R&B is reflective of his work. So, I kind of like to appreciate the different eras and I think that's what we need to do to be able to appreciate; to consider what they bring to the table. Now there is some lackluster talent out there, of course, but I think the true, original, artists, like I love Raheem Devon, I love Dwele, I love artists that have their own vibe to them and don't do what everyone else does. That's really welcome to me and I'm sure the industry needs more of that. If artists can stick to what they want to put out, and not what everybody wants them to put out, I think we'll have some great fuckin' music out there.
I'm not sure where I heard it exactly, but is there, or was there ever at anytime, any beef between you and Salt-N-Peppa?
Spin: No, there's no beef. I don't know if there's any beef, you'd have to ask them. There's no beef from me.
Spin: Where'd you hear that?
I don't remember. I was talking to somebody about it and I was telling a lot of people that I had an interview with you and asking them what they wanted to know about you, you know? Personally, I know that I hadn't really heard anything out of you in a while, so I didn't know if anybody was feeling the same way. But umm...not throwing any names out there.
Spin: Okay, they said there was a little tension?
Yeah, I heard there was fallout between Salt and Peppa, you know, them two personally. I also didn't know the actual reasons behind why you guys stopped recording. I thought it was because you left or something like that.
Spin: Well you know, for the Salt and Peppa thing, I think they have their issues that they're ironing out. They have a new show coming out supposedly dealing with that and from my end I'm kind of like in the same boat of trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. I think a lot of it has to do with Salt really not feeling the whole Salt-N-Peppa thing and she made it known that she wanted to get into inspirational music, which is what she has done. She did this album and it's more Gospel oriented, and that's no problem, but it kind of left a lot of the fans and the people that been buyin' us up in the air and Pep would say the same thing. It kind of had her feeling abandoned. So I think that this show that they're doing right now is gonna address that. It's a reality show on VH1, it's gonna start at the top of '08, and it's gonna address those issues. Now me on the other hand, I'm kind of on the outside looking in as well. I'm trying to figure out, well, are you guys gonna get this shit together so that we can get out there and do what we need to do? It's an open door for us. I really don't know what the issues are, nor do I recall what the issues were. I could care less about any of that. I think it's a lot of business that we need to take a hold of and get back into it. So, hopefully they'll get it together. I'm just hoping it all works out, regardless.
Seeing as how you're a big time celebrity and everything, would you ever date regular type guys, or are you more into the athletes? I know that you had a child with Kenny Anderson back in the day.
Spin: (Laughing) The athletes, nah, that was a phase. I think, I think, I'm open if it's the right one for me. I'm dating here and there, but I'm not looking for nobody in particular. So, if you're the right one you can step to the plate. It's not like I'm looking for any athelete in particular.
Right, so what was that like going out with him (Kenny Anderson) while he was in the NBA? Did you have to deal with any aggressive groupies and all that?
Spin: Huh? I don't even remember that shit. (Laughing) Umm...It was cool, it was cool. I honestly can't recall. It's been a long time. Actually, what's interesting, I'm actually about to DJ his wedding. He's getting married this weekend. I'm gonna be DJing his wedding. I think that's a very exclusive, silly, tidbit, or whatever, but he's doing really well. He's really cool and everything's going well with him now. You know he lost his mother, which was a shock to his system and his family. For a while he was down, but now he's doing a lot better and he's getting married and he's on with his life now. As far as me, I don't really put...I don't know, I guess if you the right one then you can step to the plate. I'm not really looking for anything in particular though.
I know that you were picked to be the DJ for the Comedy Central Roast for Flava Flav. Did that go down already?
Spin: Yeah, it did. It airs on August 12th and It was funny as hell. It comes on August 12th and Katt Williams is hosting it. We had Snoop, Ice Cube, Jimmy Kimmel roasting him, so it is hilarious.
Do you put out mixtapes or do you strictly focus on radio and hosting events?
Spin: I don't do mixtapes. I never really got into the mixtape situation. I normally just do radio. I'm radio, I host events, I DJ the situations, and that's really what I do.
Is there one thing about your past that you'd change?
Spin: About my past? Umm...Nah, just growin' up. The typical growin' up stuff. I'm enjoying my life. I don't think I would change anything. I think God is good and I've been so blessed and I feel everything is moving in the right direction. I'm always growing, learning.
What's the website that we can checkout to stay current on everything you've got going on?
Spin: Me, my website is being worked on right now. It's called www.thebackspin.com. Yeah, that's gonna be all information regarding Spinderella and we've got a Salt-n-Peppa gallery up there, all the numerous updates on Salt-n-Peppa, and just my schedule of events. If you've never heard The Back Spin show itself, it's got that stuff.
Does that come on in New York?
Spin: It doesn't come on in New York. I do a mix in New York on WBLS (107.5FM). It's not The Back Spin, but it's a customized mix, like Old School R&B, Classic R&B mix. I really, really dig in. Stuff you were born to, that's what I play. Yeah, the stuff you was conceived from, that's what I play. Yeah, I love that shit. I do that and my show. You can catch my show The Back Spin online.
Go to www.myspace.com/thebackspin and look at the different radio station listings for the show. Some of the stations let you listen to the show on their website.