Updated: May 1, 2021
Before Spike Rebel left Chicago behind to pursue his dreams in New York City, he was told to give it all up.
"'You won't survive,'" he recalls them saying. "They said 'you can't make it unless you go to New York.' So I left. I had to do it."
Pressure begets diamonds. Spike went on to produce for Common, work with Ms. Lauryn Hill (right when she left the roots and went solo), and has curated his life's work around "real instruments" rather than digital immitations.
"That's why they bring me in," he explains. "No one plays real instruments anymore. They need someone who can play guitar, then go pick up a bass, and then get on the drums. You don't see that anymore, so they call me."
His phone must be ringing off the hook, considering how right he is. Trap and drill influences have now dominated the music climate, a sound based primarily around sampled loops. Traditional guitar and bass lines have been filled in by the the one-size-fits-every-song synthesizer. Digital is just how they do it.
Not Spike. He has a real musical background from his college education. Spike has a degree in music business and jazz performance. This is knowledge he has been sharing to enrich his artist colleagues.
"I became something like a consultant," he says. "But then you actually learn about people's problems, and it turns into healing."
This is directly in alignment with his self-embarked mission to "entertain, inspire, and educate through the arts." His career is a tree that bears fruit for the whole community.
Spike thinks that's exactly what Chicago needs. "If you look at any other city like Atlanta, they have a community," he tells us. "The hip hop scene, even the dance scene. Especially the dance scene. If you ask Chicago DJs who started house, they can't even tell you and house started here in Chicago... I want to bring back that dance community."
He is doing it! You will find Spike frequently in Forest Park doing live painting and street performing. Go and feel the soul that Spike is bringing back to Chicago.
The Interviewer Lapizul..