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Meet West Michigan Hip-Hop Artist Spiveyson

Spiveyson
Spiveyson

Meet rising West Michigan artist Spiveyson. This Kalamazoo native isn't just making waves; he's creating a sound that's hard to ignore. With a style that reflects the streets he's from and a flow smoother than butter on a hot skillet, Spiveyson is on a mission to redefine what it means to spit real bars in the game. So grab your headphones and get ready to vibe with one of the Midwest’s finest as we take you on a journey through the mind and music of Spiveyson!


What's up Spiveyson. We appreciate you interviewing with us. How are you? Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in music.


Whats going on! I appreciate y’all having me! I’m busy but good! The last few months have been hectic gearing up for my latest project, but me and my team have been working hard! I’m repping Kalamazoo, Michigan, a small college town on the west side of the state. Music has always been a passion of mine since I was a child. My father was in a rap group in college, so I have distinct memories of being in his Cadillac as he introduced me to artists like Biggie, Tupac, Nas, KRS One, Public Enemy and so on and so forth. My mother was not a fan of rap music, so I remember having to strictly listen to R&B around her or try to find R&B songs with rap features to try to sneak in a loophole. I started writing music in high school at Battle Creek Central High School mainly just cafeteria rap cyphers, sick freestyles that made us laugh as kids. It wasn’t until I went to college was where I started to take my music seriously after being encouraged by my friends. When they saw my old writings they wanted me to take the leap so I took it never expecting to actually gain traction or any level of success. Then next thing you know I linked up with a fraternity DJ. Shout out to my boy Kyle! He helped me get my music into the right ears and that puts me where I am today!


Coming from West Michigan, what inspired you to pursue a career in music?


At first my inspiration wasn't as deeply rooted because of family issues. I lost my love for music in high school and didn’t think I’d ever find it again. After encouragement from my friends Kenny and Eric I started to think about it. They were both college basketball athletes and it seemed like everyone was getting b*tches but me. [LAUGHS] So at first it was all an attention grab, the thing that really motivated me was the other local groups and rappers at the time in Kalamazoo. Hip-Hop will always be a competitive sport in my opinion, so when other guys are flexing on you and deep down you know you can do this better. That motivation can wake you up out of any writers block. Once I realized I can really become a staple and a leader for my side of the state, it sort of came to me like a calling. Everyone knows the Detroit rap scene. All we listen to down here is Sada Baby, Damedot, Peezy and Skilla Baby. My goal is to show some awareness to the amazing talent that lies on the other side of the state from Kalamazoo to Nile’s. The artists here are different talented and dope and I want the whole world to see it!


How do you feel your music contributes to bringing hip hop back to its roots?


I feel like I’m  an artist who makes his lyrics the focal point of his art and not too many artists do in the mainstream industry. But in the Michigan rap scene, no matter how good the song sounds if your not talking your shit we are not gonna hear you so growing up here I was raised that a rap song should sound a certain way and be conveyed a certain way. The beauty about hip hop is that most people say it changes,  however it EVOLVES. There are so many different ways and approaches to hip-hop and I love experimenting with them all, however I feel like true rap skill is shown when you can evolve in the way hip-hop does but not remove the things that made hip-hop so great in the first place, which is what I strive to do.


Can you share some insights into your creative process when crafting lyrics?


I talk about this a lot when I say that my songs come from real life experiences, and they truly do. Some songs are from one experience, some are from a shared experience through different perspectives, and some are from several experiences tethered together. I take these concepts and try to make something relatable with it. Jogging has helped a lot as well. Your mind and your body are one, so if you're physically in the right place, mentally, all the thoughts flow and vice versa. 


What message or emotions do you aim to convey through your music?  


That’s the beauty of music. I feel like … music gives me the gift to convey ALL of my emotions through my music. I’ve been told sometimes my music is all over the place,and so is my life. Human emotion is such a wide spectrum and it moves up and down like a roller coaster. One day it could be “f*ck these b*tches. Let’s get money”. Next day it could be “Man I miss this b*tch and I'm broke” and that’s just how life hits everybody. So I try to convey a wide range of feelings and emotions in my music to represent what we as people go through in our day to day lives.


How important is it for you to maintain a balance between clever wordplay and meaningful content in your songs


That is the most important thing to me in my music honestly, and I think it was because I was just raised in a different style of rap music like how I touched on earlier. I love production and I love melodies but I want people to know me for what I say and I want people to know that I actually take time with my craft and try to make it as authentic and creative as possible.


Could you discuss any challenges you've faced as an independent artist in the music industry?


Self doubt is one of the issues I’ve struggled with recently and I discuss a lot of that in my new album Spiveyson Uncensored. My 2023 tour is what really made these issues prevalent. Touring is the definition of play hard but work HARD. A lot of work goes into giving different people a great experience with music and if you don’t have the right mental state or the right people around you’ll crash and burn, and I did on the inside. I started to let negative opinions of myself get to me. Lots of people in my circle have switched up and burned me and it makes you really question the impact you're making. At the end of the day, the only thing that helps is not only reassurance but really strengthen your grip with the people you know have your back. No one will know you're hurting if you don’t reach out your hand.  You don’t always have to have 100 people in the room with you. The ten people that truly got you will make everything worth it. I’m still struggling with this like we all are, but I’m trying to be better like we all are. 


Who are some of your musical influences, and how have they shaped your style?


In the 8th grade my friend Jackie Hampton introduced me to conscious rap for the first time. He played me Ill Mind of Hopsin 5 and I bought a composition book the next day. I shaped my whole personality around Hopsin at the time as I was growing into who I am now, that’s what lead me to Kendrick Lamar my favorite rapper of all time. He showed me that rap still can be fun energetic and carry a message which something I try to emulate. As hip-hop changed more, I went from bitter to understanding the Detroit rap scene will always have a hold on me from Sada Baby to Drego n Beno, Damedot  and Big Sean ALOT. Nothing beats and aggressive Michigan flow and we don’t give a f*ck here at all we will take it there! 

Spiveyson
Spiveyson

Hip hop has always had some intense moments between peers. What are your thoughts on the recent beef / rap battle between Drake and Kendrick Lamar?


I’ve been on the phone arguing with my brother about this everyday for the past few weeks so I’m glad you brought this up. Kendrick “The Boogeyman” Lamar is the best to touch a mic. And I like a lot of the Drake songs and I like the idea of Drake. I think this is the best rap battle in history with two of the best to do it, but if your asking me who won, Kendrick was always gonna win.


Now that we are in the digital age, collaborating with others is easier than it’s ever been. How do you approach collaborations with other artists, and what do you look for in potential collaborators? 


I love finding artists on Instagram. My algorithm is set to find nothing but live mic performances. I try to follow every artist I like and write a song that would compliment both of our styles. I learned this from my homie SUMMIE in Grand Rapids (if your from West Michigan you can always get a verse out of me). Finding something to compliment two musicians isn’t always easy. That’s why I prefer to go the studio with artists instead of emailing verses. I like to travel. If I gotta drive or fly to your studio and leave with hit I’ll be more than happy.


Can you tell us about your upcoming projects and what fans can expect from your future releases?


My new  project Spiveyson Uncensored is my first full length album that’s releasing May 17th and I can’t wait for you guys to hear it. It’s packed with hard hitters and the best talent in West Michigan. After that I’m taking the show on the road with the I’m Not Okay Tour. We have shows confirmed in Kentucky, Ohio, Nevada, Georgia,  California and my first big show back home in Michigan too! 


In what ways do you incorporate themes of unity and togetherness into your music


I remember when I was coming up, the local rap groups shitted on me a lot because I didn’t operate like them. They promoted a glamorous lifestyle full of money sex and drugs to college kids in a college town. We were in college watching these dudes drive around in Chargers, spending money all over the place and they made it known that we could never be like them. I never wanted that spread in my music, granted it’s nothing wrong with popping your shit. Lord knows what I’m gonna do when I come up , but that’s not what defines me. There’s a quote that says “Art creates a profound connection between the artist and the audience and through that connection both can heal” and that couldn’t describe me better. I go through things too. I get sad, angry, selfish, I make mistakes and I hurt people. I’m not okay but in admitting that I can untie myself with people going through the same thing in hopes  that we can get through it together.


How do you connect with your listeners on a personal level through your songs?


I try my best to be active on social media as much as I can for my fans sake. The music can connect me with people but nothing beats a personal connection. My DMs are always open and I love to have conversations with my people. If you’re a fan of mine, you’re a friend of mine and I try to keep my door open for you  all.

Spiveyson
Spiveyson

What do you hope listeners take away from your music?


I hope that listeners can know they're not alone in what they go through. I hope that listeners can learn more about the west side of the state and I also hope listeners can hear some of the things I went through and take a different route or gain knowledge of the roads our decisions take and I hope they also have a blast.


How do you see your role in the West Michigan rap scene, and how do you contribute to its growth and recognition?


I want to usher in the west Michigan era. We love Detroit and I think it’s awesome that cities like Flint and Grand Blanc are getting the recognition they deserve, but West Michigan has a lot of talent and we’re knocking on the door and if they need someone to kick that b*tch in... I can do that too.


Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring artists looking to make an impact in the hip hop industry?


Be authentic. Be confident in who you are. Have a great support system and be yourself. Hip-hop is all inclusive there’s so many different forms of it and it’s welcome to all, but you gotta come as you are, because we don’t allow fakes. As long as you're true to yourself and your beliefs, your impact will be bigger than you know! 




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