Meet Alexander Spit—the Bay Area born, LA bred hip-hop artist who’s earned quite a loyal following over the years including the eyes and ears of The Hundreds and its Co-Owner, Bobby Hundreds. The Hundreds has supported Spit through various brand projects and live events over the last several years and have played a hand in shaping his quickly evolving career. CCS hit up Bobby to be a guest editor this month and he cordially obliged with an interview of Alexander Spit as only he could do it.
Interview By: Bobby Hundreds
You're the only Filipino I know that doesn't just hang out with a ton of other Pinoys. In fact, I never see you with any Pinoys at all. What's that all about?
[laughs] I don't even know. I can honestly say that I don't take tabs on the race of the people I surround myself with. I'm all about pride and identity but I strive to find that in something beyond my race. I have plenty of Filipino friends that I got hella love for. It just happens to be that the people I keep in my immediate social circle aren't Filipino. Both my parents are Filipino and I was raised with a lot of facets of Filipino culture. I ate Filipino food growing up but never learned the language (Tagalog) beyond my mother's bits of anger and discipline spoken in Tagalog. When I lived in San Francisco, a majority of my friends were Filipino but ever since I moved to Hollywood, that number in my social group decreased a bunch. I guess Filipinos hate Hollywood.
Photo: Roman Koval
Speaking of race, frankly speaking, do you think your career would've panned out any differently if you were black or white?
Definitely. The society we live in is extremely racist without even knowing it. I consider myself a well-educated and extremely cultured young man. I read a lot of books from a lot of satirical authors and I watch movies with a lot of left wing thinking. My music taste spreads everywhere and I have a good knowledge of most genres. I can rap hella ****in' good and I can write a song that'll make you look at your life. Society likes to look at people in contexts. If I were the same person I am now, but was a young Black male, my interests and achievements would probably be praised. Society expects a young Black male to be ignorant and uneducated. A young Filipino male is expected to be nothing but someone that hangs out with a bunch of other Filipinos and roots for Manny Pacquiao. If I were White and was cultured as I am now, people would consider my frame of thinking as a model for contemporary Bohemian life. With all that said... I take pride in being a Filipino rapper. It's not an aspect of who I am that I want to become a gimmick or disclaimer though. I want to be the BEST rapper in the game... Not the best FILIPINO rapper. I'm lucky enough to be in a position where I can potentially change people's thinking of a Filipino's place in society... More importantly any minority's place.
In hindsight, was the whole Odd Future and Kreayshawn explosion on Fairfax a good or bad thing for other local hip-hop? It definitely drew the spotlight, but it also absorbed it......
It is what it is. It's easy to forget that Hip-Hop is a genre that is a foundation for a plethora of sub genres. To think that Hip-Hop is summed up by any one crew of people would simply mean you don't know Hip Hop and all it has to offer. Musicians are usually a representation of a specific kind of person in this world. What Odd Future and Kreayshawn represent is not the same thing that I represent. What I represent is not the same thing that Lil Wayne represents. Mainstream culture tends to group certain artists together into a world of popularity and we forget that not everyone believes in those things sometimes. I'm proud to say at no point have I ever tried to capitalize on the successes of artists that have blown up off of Fairfax. Most of the folks that enjoy an Alexander Spit record know little to nothing about the Fairfax culture anyways.
Over the course that I've known you, your music has definitely gotten weirder and trippier. I think it's so ahead of the curve and so different, but that can also be construed as far over the kids' heads, or even alienating. How do you make that compromise, between sticking to your guns and creating music that you're proud of, and also creating something that's a little more palatable and commercial friendly?
It feels good to get love from listeners. It feels good to have a lot of people know who you are. It feels even better when you get that love for doing exactly what you believe in. I've gone several years worrying about what others think about my work and letting it influence my creative process. It didn't make my product any better or worse but it really did put me into a rut. It left me confused and extremely exhausted. You always hear tales of artists that go back to the mindset they first started creating with and it results in some of their best work. My story is no different. The music I make is a manifestation of me in my most authentic and honest state. I don't dance unless I want to dance. I don't eat unless I want to eat. I only write when I want to write. I'm just fortunate that it happens to be something "palatable" and "commercial friendly". But to be completely honest, if you listen to my music, you'll see it don't sound like anything else out. All that it means when people like it, is that kids are tired of hearing the same **** they've been hearing. The tides are shifting.
You're not just a rapper. You're a thorough designer, filmmaker, and storyteller. How do these areas of media play off of each other, or do they not? How important was it for this album to be packaged with a multimedia experience over just music? And is this the way of the future for all music/musicians?
These medias definitely play off of each other. Were fortunate enough to be living in an age where crafts have become readily available to us. Their application is merely limited to people who take the time to learn them. This doesn't apply to EVERYONE, but for me, as an artist, I refuse to disrespect the hard work that goes into my music with the release of a mediocre music video or a poorly designed shirt or a press photo taken on a Blackberry. For some artists that might be the aesthetic, but for anything Alexander Spit, I want folks to expect something tasteful, artistic and dangerous. My album "A Breathtaking Trip To That Otherside" was package with a multimedia experience to provide listeners and viewers with several forms of content to assist with interpreting the concepts and ideas of the album. On top of that, when growing up I always loved artists that provided a world and experience for their fans. The music and art I pay attention to is rarely background soundtrack ****, but literally the score and screenplay of my day to day living. It has to be ****in' good. I wouldn't say this is the future for music and musicians as much as saying this is how it's always been and how it always should be. I don't wanna hear anything about budget either. Everything involved in my projects is crafted solely by me or by someone in my immediate social circle. Take some time to dedicate yourself to your work.
So, because this is for CCS, I should probably ask something skate-related. First of all, did you grow up skating, and how influential was it in your life?
I grew up skating with my brother and a few close homies. We grew up with parents that worked late so it was our means of getting to and from school and pretty much anywhere we needed to get to. As a kid I loved to be outside so skating was perfect. I learned to ollie pretty quick. It took me a while to ollie while moving but once I did it all became hella fun. I practiced kick flips in my driveway after school the same way ballers practice their jump shot. I wasn't scared of eating **** back then but nowadays I'm ****in' terrified of it. I loved how loud skating was and how angry it made people. Rebellion has always been in my nature and skating was a pure manifestation of that. I skated daily until about High School and it was there I started to realize there was kids hella better than I was at skating and it pretty much discouraged all my efforts at it. At that point all my efforts were on music and drugs anyways.
Who were your favorite skateboarders?
Harold Hunter, Geoff Rowley, Chad Muska and Andrew Reynolds.
Why do all rappers wanna be skaters, and skaters wanna be rappers?
Cause they're both muh****in' dope as ****! They both tap into that rebellious energy. They both have cultures that praise craft, style and charisma. Skating and rap definitely can get a woman's attention. But with all that said... unless you are hella good at both like my homie Jay Ughh.—stick to one. Just because you can doesn't always mean you should.
There are so many parallels between our worlds, what did your time with us at The Hundreds teach you that could be applied towards your music career?
I don't even know where to start man... Early on we went to go see Micah Aza's group Crazy Mob play at a gallery in SF. We had time to kill so we hit up the Hemlock before the show. We talked music, business, etcetera. One of the main points I got out of that talk was the idea that it's important to stand for something. That through all the bullshit and through the entire process it's important to have a spine. Not even for the pleasure of others but more importantly for your own sake. My success in music is simply a result of persistence and consistency with the lifestyle I represent and stand for. We've seen a lot of brands and artists come and go. But it's safe to say the ones we love and respect are the ones that have maintained their integrity through the years.