Naeem Juwan works with producer Alex Epton on Spank Rock, creating a brand of music almost all its own, straddling genres. It's cool, it's pop, it's electronic, it's hip hop.
As part of the Check Yo' Ponytail National Tour, along with Big Freedia, Pictureplane, the Death Set, and IHEARTCOMIX's Franki Chan, Spank Rock will bring dancing feet and talent to Grand Central this Saturday night.
The follow up to his 2006 debut album YoYoYoYoYo, Juwan worked with some big names in party music on his second release Everything Is Boring and Everyone is a F*cking Liar, like Diplo, Boys Noize, Crystal Castles, and Pharrell. "It was pretty cool," he said of these collaborations, "I think the best thing about it is just being able to work with a bunch of different people who eventually became real friends of mine and have been really supportive."
He also employed close friend Santigold to sing on "Car Song," the newest album's arguably, most radio friendly song. "We like to work on music a lot together," he noted, "It's like family."
A Baltimore native, Juwan now lives in Philadelphia. He first got into music listening to his grandmother and mother playing music all day around the house. Banned Books and POPO are some are his favorite bands coming out of his adopted hometown these days. He also listens to an eclectic mix that includes indie rockers Beach House and classic pop The Cars.
DJ Spank Rock isn't all fun times and nightclubs. Cornell West was mentioned as a lyric in one of his songs, and Juwan is a fan. West is active in the Occupy Wall Street movement, which the musician admitted is "pretty powerful." When in high school at a youth leadership conference, he got the opportunity to hear the professor and philosopher speak. "It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. It really helped me change my perspective on a lot of things in the world."
He took an active role in the 2004 elections working with the League of Pissed Of Voters. His experiences then left him less gung-ho on getting involved in politics himself, but, he says, "I love to see people motivated, trying to change the environment and the way that we live."
Spank Rock's sound isn't too politics heavy, but rather, the perfect music for a sweaty dance night on a cool November night in Miami.
Catch the show Saturday, Nov. 5 at Grand Central (697 N. Miami Ave, Miami).