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Bubba coming with The Charm

12 February 2006 No Comment

“As in ‘third time is the charm,’” Bubba Sparxxx explains the significance of the title of his newest album THE CHARM, due on fellow southern rapper Big Boi’s new imprint with Virgin Records, Purple Ribbon Records. But also as in “platinum plaque,” a “charm” the deserving southern-bred MC has yet to take home after his first two critically-acclaimed albums on Timbaland’s Beat Club Records (Interscope). Born Warren Anderson Mathis in the small mill town of LaGrange, Georgia, Bubba Sparxxx burst onto the scene in 2001 wearing overalls and driving a tractor in the video for “Ugly,” the Timbaland-produced frenetic hit single from Bubba’s gold-selling debut Dark Days, Bright Nights.

“It really hurt me when people took that video as a total goof though,” says Bubba about the crossover hit. “I was like, wait a minute you think that where I come from is just all hee-hawed out and that’s it’s just a big joke. What I’m going to do on this second album is to delve so deep into this shit that I’m gonna make you understand exactly what it is that I come from and where it is that I come from. By the time this album is over you’re gonna know that my life is not a fucking joke!”

Bubba’s sophomore album, Deliverance, was just that: a highly introspective look at life in rural America that cut to the heart of who Bubba Sparxxx is. Produced by Timbaland, the album married country and hip-hop perfectly, with pounding beats and heavy bass supporting fiddles, harmonicas, and plenty of twang. Critics in and out of hip-hop lauded the album as a major milestone in hip-hop, calling it everything from daring to ingenious, and crowning Bubba as one of the South’s greatest lyricists. 

But while the LP scored big with hip-hop’s cultural elite, it failed to reach its full commercial potential due to turmoil at Interscope that prevented the label from fully marketing the album. To add insult to injury, shortly after the release of the album, Beat Club and Timbaland’s relationship with Interscope dissolved and suddenly Bubba was without a label. 

Enter fellow well-respected southern MC, OutKast’s Big Boi, and his brand new label, Purple Ribbon Records (distributed through Virgin Records). 

“I bumped into Big over in London and he just asked what was up with ‘Deliverance,’” Bubba recounts. “He said, ‘Man, they dropped the ball on your project! What happened?’ So we kinda got into everything and he started telling me what he had going on with the Purple Ribbon situation.”

Joining Big Boi on his new label was something of a dream for Bubba Sparxxx, who grew up poor in the rural south and saw no way out of a dead-end life until he turned to hip-hop. He credits Big Boi and OutKast as one of the reasons he started rapping. So, joining Purple Ribbon is akin to a homecoming. Bubba says, “I’m just thankful that somebody I grew up idolizing has got that kind of faith in me.”

Big Boi certainly has shown faith – he inked the deal for Bubba Sparxxx to join the family himself and even lends his production to the album. With production by Organized Noise (the producers responsible for much of OutKast’s signature sound), Timbaland (Bubba’s partner in crime for the first two innovative albums), Mr. DJ, Basement Beats, the Heatmakers and Big Boi, The Charm is Bubba’s most ambitious outing to date. 

“I’m ready to get out there and work. I feel like I can win on a big level,” Bubba says about the album. And by blending the funky commercial sound of Dark Days, Bright Nights with the occasional deep introspection that made Deliverance a critical success, and adding in a team poised to fully promote this important release, The Charm is destined to be the hit Bubba has always envisioned. 

For the funky side of The Charm one need look no further than the Timbaland-produced “HEY,” an amped-up tune built around a sparse marching band beat complete with horns and chants to punctuate the spirited rhythm. On the song, Bubba takes stock in his life and celebrates the blessings that life has bestowed upon him.

Another surefire hit is “Ms New Booty,” featuring the Ying Yang Twins. The up-tempo, bass heavy, club-friendly track produced by Mr. Collipark (“Wait (The Whisper Song)”) is a certified strip club anthem that will be the favorite joint of all new booty dancers throughout the nation. 

Bubba also delivers his more introspective, impressively lyrical side on “As the Rim Spin” and “The Other Side (ft. Petey Pablo),” where Bubba contemplates how far he has come and lets all haters know that it doesn’t matter whether they’re with him or against him, because he’s beyond their reach. 

With hit songs, impressive lyrical content, a new understanding of the business, and the excitement of a new label behind him, three might just be Bubba Sparxxx’s lucky number. It might just be The Charm.

The Bubba Sparxxx “Ms. New Booty”

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