After almost literally blowing off the roof of the Biz 3 tent this summer at the Pitchfork Media Festival, Spank Rock returns to Chicago this week for another Baltimore booty assault. While the trio consisting of Naeem Juwan (aka MC Spank Rock), Alex Epton (aka Armani XXXchange) and Chris “Rockswell” Devlin proudly wear their B-more heritage on their sleeves, the group was actually formed after both Juwan and Epton had moved out of their beloved hometown. Juwan had departed to Philadelphia to try to forge a rap career, while Epton ended up in New York, eventually landing a gig as an assistant for the production duo DFA. By chance, a mutual friend of both Epton and Juwan invited them both to an art exhibition in Baltimore and introduced the two to each other thinking they might hit it off musically. Sure enough, this friend, Chris Devlin, was right, and the rest, as they say, is history.
After an immense amount of buzz from the initial singles (particularly the underground club smash, “Put That Pussy On Me”), the world was formally introduced to Spank Rock in April with the release of its debut full-length, “YoYoYoYoYo.” Featuring Juwan’s trademark raunchy lyrics and Epton’s bootylicious bass lines, “YoYoYoYoYo” was a critical smash and removed any doubt that Spank Rock would merely end up as a novelty one-hit-wonder act. In fact, Juwan likes to describe the record as “the rap version of Prince’s ‘1999’ album.” While one great record does not put a group on the level of the great purple one, Juwan’s bravado may not be that far off. Major labels have started to take notice of the B-more party fiends, and a bidding war is sure to follow. In addition to embarking on a European tour next month, Spank Rock will also be supporting Beck for a few dates this month on his current North American tour. It’s only a matter of time before Spank Rock explodes out of the underground—don’t miss this opportunity to catch them while you still can inside the quaint confines of The Empty Bottle. (Brad Knutson)
Spank Rock performs, along with DJ sets from Devlin & Darko (Spank Rock) and the Pase Rock, at the Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773)276-3600, on October 11 at 9:30 pm. $14.