Interview by Bryant Bowens (@arete88)Chicago's youngest in charge, Spenzo, has been picking up a tremendous amount of press ever since the release of his viral hit “Go In," which reached 60k views on YouTube in less than a month. The buzz around the 16-year-old rhymesayer is growing so rapidly that multiple labels have lined up in his schoolyard to see what all the fuss is about. Spenzo gives FSD a glimpse into his life, and discusses the star treatment he receives at his high school, his legendary father, and thoughts on drill music. With his stock rising by the YouTube view, the question Ain’t U Spenzo will soon be long gone. Read up on the young gun below. FSD: First and foremost, we want to salute you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to rock with FSD. How have things been since the release of Ain’t U Spenzo? Spenzo: It’s been cool-- everybody has given me good feedback and constructive criticism.They're excited to hear the next project. FSD: Have labels been hitting you up as of late? Spenzo: Yeah, basically. More than one to be exact. I’m just going to wait it out, though. I can see myself getting better. I want to get to the point where they will give me my own label. I’m trying to find people who can help me build up Rich Crew. FSD: Recently, in an interview with the Red Eye, Chief Keef gave you major praise, even calling you a “Young Lupe.” Did that catch you by surprise? Spenzo: It caught me off guard. Me knowing Keef, I know he doesn’t really talk highly of other people. So when he said that, I respected him more. He didn’t have to bring me up. There’s people that have a bigger buzz than me that he shouted out, but didn’t go in-depth like he did with me. Shout out to him, we definitely have something coming. FSD: Who were your influences leading up to your own rap career? Spenzo: Just to keep it simple, when I was younger, my Dad was an influence. He’s a well-known DJ in the Low End--DJ Dion. He’s part of the legendary Juice Squad DJs. I went everywhere with him coming up when he was doing the DJ thing, so I definitely look up to him. He is sick and in the hospital as we speak. But other than my Dad, my influences were people who made sticky stuff -- music that stuck with me. So that’s what made me want to be different. My manager Script is always on me to switch up my flows, and that challenges me to be better. To be honest, some of these local rappers, I mess with them, but they are like what J.Cole said “less rhymes, more hooks” -- that’s just what it is. DGainz told me yesterday he started messing with me because I was different. That’s what I’m trying to do, come with some good flows, and some good lyrics. I don’t want to have the same content. [Click Below For Next Page]
FSD: No doubt, so who are three rappers you are listening to? Spenzo: You mean three growing up? Or now? FSD: Well, you still are growing up! [Laughs.] Spenzo: [Laughs.] I’m a big Drake head when he's rapping, when he's not emotional. When he's not talking about Maliah! I love Meek Mill, he just goes in. Also, somebody my manager used to try to put me on at first and I couldn’t stand was Kendrick Lamar. I really mess with them hard, because you have to listen to what they 're saying. They be going here and there with their flows. FSD: Sort of like you? I can definitely see your animation in the “Go In” video? Spenzo: Man I want to do so many more of those kinds of tracks. FSD: What is the “Go In” video at right now in views, 50k? Spenzo: Nah, it’s at 55k now! That’s cool, but I’m trying to reach higher than that. Right now, my era of music is not my style. The hood stuff is what’s in right now. So by me creeping up on them, and they take the time to listen to some bars, they will say "dang, I mess with Spenzo!" Like its crazy, I saw L.E.P. yesterday and I didn’t know they knew who I was, but they did. Moonie was just telling me to be humble. [Click Below For Next Page]
FSD: There is no denying that you are a YouTube favorite amongst the teens. With that being said, what’s your popularity status at your school? Spenzo: Right now, people watch me when I’m not looking. FSD: Is it an event when you release a new video? Spenzo: Oh yeah. When I release a video, I’m calm all day, and people pick with me like “Aw you think you're the shit since you dropped Go In?” [Laughs.] but they're all my friends. I don’t think I’m better than nobody. I literally love joking with everybody, whether they are popular or not. It’s good to do that. I have a lot of friends that tell me good job. A few people just handed me their CDs today to listen to them, and I be like "Oh My God!" I actually take the time out to listen to them when I can. It’s about staying humble and not being big headed, and knowing where I came from. To be honest with you, I grew up from nothing. I grew up on 47th out here. I didn’t have my real Dad around. My Dad that I brought up earlier is not my biological father, but he’s been around since I was three. But to me that’s my father, nobody can tell me different. I want people at my school to know that I act like a regular kid. It’s just hard when people are always in my face, and it’s hard for me to do my work. But the teachers do treat me different, though. FSD: How are the girls treating you these days? Spenzo: Sometimes I get DMs from girls like I want to… [Laughs.]. Let me stop [Laughs.]. Man, If I could, I would screen shot them. Even before I really started rapping, it was like oh he’s a cute guy but now it’s to the point like "Wow, he’s raw and cute—I want him." I go through slick stuff; I’ll be talking to a girl and her best friend would come around and grab me. I like it! Forget that-- I love it! [Laughs.] It’s to the point where a teacher will talk to me different than what she used to .I got like 200 detentions, and I told my principal I wanted to go to prom. The girl parents wanted to meet me and everything. You can’t go to the prom if you have more than 10 detentions. So I walked in the office one day, and told her how many detentions I had, and asked does that stop me from going to prom? She said “You just made the Red Eye, you good”. I was like "Oh My God that’s crazy." Everybody else just clowned that they couldn’t go to prom. It’s not even my senior year, and she let me go. FSD: Let’s get deeper with your teacher’s infatuation with you, how do you like the star treatment? Spenzo: I wouldn’t consider it star treatment, because they know that I represent positivity through my music, and with their support alone, it gives me even more drive to reach my dreams. I have the staff’s full support, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m honored to be attending King. That’s why I was able to go to prom. It didn’t go without a lecture from the principal, though; I still have to have my head in those books. [Laughs.] Shout out to all of my teachers. [Click Below For Next Page]
FSD: There were rumors circulating that DGainz was part of your management team, any truth to that? Spenzo: D Gainz plays a major roll with me. He’s not a manager, but by the way he deals with me—you would think so. He would shoot me an idea and I would go with it, because I trust him. FSD: You’ve recently released the video for your song “For My Set”, but you took it down less than 24 hours of its release. What was the reasoning of the removal? Spenzo: We are just going to work more with it. We are just going to bring more energy to it. It was nothing bad; I just didn’t want to have a negative image. First of all the song wasn’t meant to be a hood song, but people are going to take it how they take it.Lashae and I are going to work with it a little more. When we drop, they are going to be happy with the results. Shout out to Lashae, she’s on the come up. FSD: It goes with no debate that the new sound of Chicago is “Drill Hop”. Do you ever feel like you need to capitalize off the sound to take your career to another level? Spenzo: Hell no! FSD: Can you elaborate on that? Spenzo: Just like it was Crunk music, all of that stuff goes out of style. So I never felt like I had to say four words each line like—“Slap My Momma, Won’t be no drama” [Laughs.]. I guess it’s live above the influence. I never felt like I had to dumb myself down. I know I can do better than that. But for some people in the hood that’s all they know-- I can’t knock them. When they talk about drilling, they talking about everyday life and it’s true to them. It’s just not me; I’ll never talk about shooting because that’s not me. But to be honest I listen to all of the drill music more than I do my own music. FSD: So what’s next for you? Spenzo: A mixtape is definitely coming out real soon. It’s going to be a big progression from the previous tape. It’s crazy that the last song we put on Ain’t You Spenzo? was “Go In”. I don’t like that mixtape to be honest. [Laughs.] Producer-wise though, I have Chase N Dough, DGainz, Paris Beuller, J Boogie and Young Chop. Also Cannon, he made a crazy beat for me actually called “Go Crazy.” But feature wise, we might have Chance the Rapper and Chief Keef.