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The thought of a white boy from the backwoods of Georgia making a rap album is as mind-boggling as that of a black kid from Harlem belting out country tunes. But Bubba Sparxxx will break down the stereotypical barriers and leave you wondering why it's taken so long for a talented white rapper to emerge from the south. He describes his overall style as "southern hip-hop, with an emphasis on hip-hop, and a rock 'n' roll edge."
Bubba Sparxxx was born Warren Anderson Mathis in LaGrange, Georgia, 65 miles southwest of Atlanta. The youngest of Jimmy and June Mathis' five children, he was the only child who wasn't from a previous marriage. June, a grocery store cashier, called her youngest child "Andy." Father Jimmy also worked at a grocery store, first as a meat cutter and later as a manager; he also worked as a school bus driver and had a stint driving a Lance Potato Chip truck. "He was kind of a jack-of-all-trades," Sparxxx said.
Music wasn't a big part of Sparxxx's life until 1988. "I didn't have much access to it because I grew up so far out into the country," he said. "We didn't have cable TV. I grew up on a dirt road about 15 minutes north of LaGrange. It was extremely rural. My closest neighbor was between a half mile and a mile away. My closest neighbor was a black kid and that was actually my first exposure to rap.
His cousin was sending him mix tapes from New
York." The first rap song Bubba Sparxxx ever heard was a track by
Crew. While he later heard music by Run-DMC and the Fat Boys, Sparxxx
was especially intrigued by West Coast rappers N.W.A,
Too $hort and Eazy-E.
"I think maybe it was just because of the rebellious attitude, and
I also like the beats," Sparxxx said. "I think that was Dr.
Dre's first stint as a producer and an emphasis was placed on the beats more
than ever before." While
Too $hort's music turned Bubba Sparxxx into
a rap fan, it was the Atlanta group
OutKast that inspired Sparxxx to
become an active participant in hip-hop.
After signing Bubba Sparxxx, Iovine inked a deal with Timbaland that made the producer's Beat Club imprint a subsidiary of Interscope. Iovine got Timbaland to listen to Sparxxx's music. "Timbaland checked it out and he just went apeshit," said Sparxxx, who was equally impressed with Timbaland. "It was the most unbelievable experience of my whole life," Sparxxx said of working with the acclaimed producer. "After working with him for two weeks, I rediscovered myself. I mean, he is the best, hands down. No question about it."
Bubba Sparxxx, meanwhile, is ready for the
promotional tours and record release parties that await him. He's hoping
to make his mark and might even bring out his group of rockers, rappers
and genre crossovers, The Stonewall, which he calls "a traveling
gaggle of musicians, a circus of music."
Hit songs include --
Bubba Sparxxx may be available for your next special event.