Spanky slaves away

As I sat down to chat with B, a youngish, blond guy who is one quarter of the hip-hop group Slaves of Spanky, I had no idea what to expect. Besides their unusual moniker, I had never heard any of their music, and was slightly prejudiced about the skills of a Kingston-based hip-hop group (which is admittedly unfair).

However, B was all right. He was enthusiastic about his group and their efforts to increase awareness of Canadian hip-hop, a campaign that is truly worthy of support. With the high energy, albeit paltry, turnout of the crowd at last week’s Rascalz show, Canadian hip-hop can no doubt use the help. Slaves of Spanky are trying to give it all they can.

Buddies since high school, the four members of the band decided to go the hip-hop route because, as B informed me, “Writing rhymes was more entertaining.” B and Peet Ank handle the mic and write all the lyrics. The interestingly named Señor Tomato Paste (drums), Natmobile (bass), and DJ Sunny D make up the rest of the band. Yes, these guys play their own instruments, which is always cool. B stated that their influences are the Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill, and the force of the latter is evident when listening to their self-titled CD, produced independently and released in 1999. He also admitted that the musical intersets of the band run to the obscure, citing Ravi Shankar as one candidate.

Their entire repertoire, however, is teeming with ganja references, odes to the bong, and the pleasures of smoking weed. This is something B told me they are trying to get away from. The diversity of their musical taste will surely affect them as the band matures and creates a sound all their own.

Slaves of Spanky descends upon Elixir tonight and on October 5 they will be playing The Shot. Their show definitely sounds like an event rather than a concert. With promises of interactive games, including something called Walla Balla that involves basketball nets tied to waists, Slaves of Spanky want to create an atmosphere of “high entertainment.” Whether or not they succeed all depends on the support they get from the audience, so check them out.

Slaves of Spanky will perform at Elixir tonight and at The Shot on Oct. 5.

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