Lynne d Johnson



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11.28.01 01:01 AM

Bubba Sparxx - Dark Days, Bright Nights (Review)

Folks are going to be mad at me for this one I am sure. I was actually about to have a positive review of Bubba Sparxx's CD posted on Sonicnet, when the plug was pulled from the MTVi reviews department. Another one of my writing outlets has also recently closed — Artbyte. First the dot-com crash, and then 911. The economy is just so bad. Employers have been saying they are having a hard time choosing candidates for posts, b/c so many qualified folks have been laid off and they are all vying for the same gigs. It's unreal. Anyway, here's some of what would have appeard on Sonicnet about Bubba. We never finished reworking an ending, so there is no conclusion here. So in actuality, I guess you will never really know what I think about Sparxx and his CD. You'll only know how I describe the sound. Sorry! Yeah, like I care. :-)

Bubba Sparxx/Dark Days, Bright Nights/Beat Club/Interscope

Not long ago, a white, 24-year-old rapper named Bubba Sparxxx (born Warren Anderson Mathis) walked out of the backwoods of Georgia and onto the top 20. He had a little help getting there; his chart-storming single, "Ugly," was produced by the consistently white-hot Timbaland (Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Ludacris), and crafted from the same Middle Eastern-style elements as Elliott's chart-topping "Get Ur Freak On," another Timbaland-produced hit from earlier this year. But it's not as if Sparxxx came to hip-hop without the raw MC skills to make it work. He'd already made some commercial noise with a disc he released on his own before he was discovered by Timbaland, who's releasing Sparxxx's debut album, Dark Days, Bright Nights, on his Beat Club imprint.

Like most Southern rappers, Sparxxx lyrical content is homegrown — teeming with braggadocio about his rhyme skills, narratives of exploiting women, and a portrait of being poor in the rural south. Of course, the difference is that he's white — and though he's sure to be compared to Eminem, Sparxxx doesn't go in for Marshall Mathers' angst-filled and violent personas. As for his rhyme style, it's worlds away from Eminem's: Sparxxx raps in a slow Southern drawl that dexterously complements Dark Days heavy bass groove, synthesizer bounce, and frenetic beats.

On "Lovely," a Timbaland-created sonic fusion that sounds like a theme song from a Saturday morning action cartoon, Sparxxx lucidly articulates, "Just give me a minute/ I bet you everything will turn out lovely/ Just give me a minute/ I'm-a be a'right, just trust me." On "Bubba Talk," a complex, intricately layered production of low bass, tribal drum rhythms, and banjo strumming, Sparxx explains his slang and style: "You don't know me at all/ I say the same thing but slower than y'all." Organized Noize (Goodie Mob and Outkast) lend their production skills to "All the Same" and "Bubba Sparxxx," two slower, soulful tracks that enable Sparxxx to showcase a more gritty rhyme style.

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