On Big Dada
Naeem Juwan, better known as MC Spank Rock, MC Super Disco Spank Ro' or just Spank Rock, grew up alongside two brothers and five sisters in a West Baltimore row house. Naeem began rapping in the 8th Grade, getting advice and ample criticism from a big sister who was a little more deep into the hip hop thing than he was. Through her, he was eventually introduced to Shaun J Period (the producer for Mos Def's groundbreaking "Universal Magnetic" EP), Mos Def and Last Emperor. Naeem, "moved to Philly, got wrapped up in the thriving 'Neo Soul' scene, started listening to punk, dropped out of college, partied like the world was ending and got rid of all of my hip hop cds."
He was introduced by old school friend Chris Devlin aka Chris Rockswell to Alex Epton. Epton had known Devlin in Baltimore before moving to Boston to the New England Conservatory of Music where he "failed out" before moving on to New York, where he ended up joining pop-punk-electro outfit Zero Zero. After Alex had helped out engineering at sessions that Naeem was working on with Steve McReady, the MC began to go and visit the producer in Brooklyn. When Juwan heard Epton's own music, he knew he had to put something on top of it. The resulting album sounds like "the rap version of Prince's 1999 album," according to Juwan, or, more self-deprecatingly, from Epton, like "American kids ripping off European kids ripping off American hip hop." "Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo" was released on Big Dada in 2006 to instant acclaim and notoriety. After the release of the album, Juwan and Epton split, Naeem signing to Downtown Records and Alex concentrating on his own production work as XXXChange. Epton has produced for and remixed a number of high profile acts including The Kills, Kele Orekeke, Björk, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Thom Yorke and TV on the Radio, as well as starting the band Win Win (along with Chris Devlin). Meanwhile, Juwan released the "Abngers & cash" EP with Benny Blanco, recorded and toured with Mark Ronson and, in 2011, released a second Spank Rock album, "Everything Is Boring And Everyone Is A Fucking Liar."