Par yvan Durraive, le 4 Août 2014
Sparrow The Movement
MC Fla-Fla (Jamar Giddins) with Dre Sparrow, DJ and Producer (Andre McKnight), constitutes Sparrow the Movement. They work closely with the label SIX2SIX Records from Baltimore (USA). They define themselves as a DJ and Rapper collective set on creating Hip-Hop music that is fresh, innovative and pure. They Sparrow sound, in which they call the God sound, is music untainted by the normality and redundance of mainstream rap music.
Fla-Fla, born in Brooklyn, NY and Dre, born in Baltimore, MD, came to know each other in 1993 from a mutual friend whom was a childhood friend of Fla-Fla and a fraternity brother of Dre’s in college. Dre’s parents brought him a SP-1200 for Christmas, Fla-Fla was signed to a major label that folded which his group to disband, and the rest is history. The link up with SIX2SIX was just as organic as our music. The roster is filled with MC’s that have been rapping together since they were kids. And now they have come together to help each other get to that next level.
Six2Six Records (Baltimore) meeting SWC-RECORDS for the first time after two years of collaboration. At Geneva Airport on September the 19th ready for the SWC Night. From left to right: DJ Cutt, DRE, EAGLE (SWC-RECORDS), M.I., JPowell, ROME, SUPREME and FLA FLA.
Yvan : Hi Fla, how do you feel today ?
Jamar : I am well. I’ve been out of school for the summer and I’ve been able to concentrate on all of the ideas I have in my head and putting them on paper. I’ll be back in the studio real heavy before school begins again. My wife and daughter are well. I can not complain of a thing. Who would listen anyway? (laughs)
You rap since the very end of the 80’s. What class can you possibly take now ?
(Laughs) Okay you got jokes. But you know, sometimes life intervenes. I had a daughter that needed to be taken care of and somehow holding a job and getting my degree became my focus. School was my primary focus but it came to a point where the demands of my job became so intense that I had to choose. So I left school. When SIX2SIX contacted me in 2010 it was clear that it was time to stop hiding, stop being afraid, and to be my true and authentic self. I am an artist. And I am only being me when I am creating. So that was when the SIX2SIX shift began. And I’ve always wanted to teach young people, so I went back to school to finish my degree.
So now that you have more time for the studio, it implies new materials coming soon ?
New material is coming out of SIX2SIX all the time! (laughs..). And now that we’ve created S.W.SIX, in collaboration with SWC-Records from Switzerland, we’ve reached a high level of dropping. New single, new album (Jacob’s Theology – ndlr album which is now out on cd and vinyl record), tour in europe,… there are a few things on the horizon.
How would you describe the label S.W.SIX ?
What about the future ?
We have been doing news songs with SWC and we plan on dropping a S.W.SIX album in 2016 in which the whole Global Platoon (Set Rule, ROME, Constant Deviants and myself) and the whole SWC (Eagle, EXP, L’Affaire and Monosickhop&DJ Impact) MC’s are dropping verses. I have recorded several Sparrow songs also for a future album called «Golgotha». (Thinking).
We work on instinct. We don’t need nor do we have to drop anything, and we still have plenty coming out. That’s why some projects take a long time to get out. We’ll drop the projects when we feel it’s the right time to do so. We focuse our energy on doing live shows, here in north america and in Europe. SIX2SIX has been to Europe two times already; September 2013 and February 2014, unfortunately without me on this last trip for personal reasons.
I’ve found a music vid of you the other day. It’s actually of a music group called The Runaway Slaves from 1992. What do you remember of that experience ?
It was an awesome experience. We were able to go on a promotional tour and open up for artists such as Scarface, Black Moon, and Brand Nubian. It was a great introduction into the music business. We were in magazines and being interviewed by major magazines. It was crazy.
It was actually before I met Dre. (thinking).
Savage Records, the label I was signed with, was distributed through BMI, and we ended up being label mates of David Bowie and legendary Hip-Hop artist Just-Ice. We released a single entitled «Booty Mission» in 1992 and recorded a full album. The label unfortunately folded before the album was released.
And so that’s about when you met Dre too?
Yes. When we were recording the Runaway Slaves album I was told by a friend of mine that Dre would probably have some beats I would be interested in. The beats Dre presented were so crazy that he wound up with three songs on the album.
The first contract we signed together as Sparrow the Movement was in 1994. Our mutual friend was the creator of the label Da Hill Record with which we recorded a single entitled «Inheritance b/w The Chase». Sparrow never released an album because the label wanted it so much while doing no promotion at all of our single. We were dropped from the label as a result. Da Hill Records then rushed out an album from another group and then folded.
Musically, the production you rap on are really complexe. How do you work ?
I listen to a track, and the first word I hear in my head I move on that; and I do not second guess it. The tracks inspire me and give me the vision; then I write.
How would you describe Sparrow the Movement ?
Sparrow is about making pure and authentic Hip-Hop music that will uplift, empower, and enlighten others ; and at the same time make wack MC’s want to quit rapping. (Laughs) We are inspired by our beliefs which call for a level of excellence. It also calls for us to be set apart or different. We are called to be salt (flavor) to the earth. And that’s what we do.
The first album Sparrow the Movement ever released called « Physics » in 2013, pressed on vinyl under SIX2SIX Records, is a perfect exemple of that spirit, and the public could feel it since it got sold out very quickly. It was a real success for us, I cannot thank the people enough but by touring everywhere I can. All we wanted to do is make the best record we could possibly make.
«For me, our music is a reflection of the elders. For me, we have to be. We can’t just move on and discard all those that moved hip-hop to this point.»
I could see that you album, sold 59 dollars from SIX2SIX Records in 2013 and sold out since then, is sold by private sellers from 100 euros to 199 euros. How do you feel about that trend ?
It SUCKS! Only because the same people that were complaining to SIX2SIX about the price of the Physics album were only concerned with their own profit margins. They would rather SIX2SIX sold it for $20 so that they could sell it for $200. It turned into some big deal for nothing. They are tripling their profits on my music. They are true vultures. They can say what they want, their actions expose them as vultures. If you aren’t going to send me any of YOUR profits from the resale of MY music then don’t say ANYTHING about SIX2SIX business. And that’s all I have to say to the vultures. Thanks to all whom have supported Sparrow and thought enough to listen to what I have to say on records. There are many that brought the record because they genuinely wanted to hear me and they weren’t just buying it to resell it. I appreciate them tremendously.
For you, does the modern music reflects some of the vibes of the music of our eldest ?
Modern? I don’t know what that means. We use instruments from the late 80’s to sample unique artists from the 20’s until now. They played on musical instruments dated sometimes from thousands years ago. For me, our music is a reflection of the elders. For me, we have to be. We can’t just move on and discard all those that moved hip-hop to this point. That is why my live show is a celebration of the elders.
Would you say that this energy flowing back and forth is directly linked to the vinyl records ? Even though the sales are going back to positive, they still stay at a very low rate compared to cd’s, is that somethin difficult to deal with ?
It has been so for 10 years now, I could see it decline. I was working in a vinyl record store in 92’ and we were selling plenty everyday. But I saw that my records were sold 50 times their selling price (less that 10$ back in 96’) 15 years later in 2007 – without getting a dime on those transactions. That’s about when we started to go back to the studio with the whole SIX2SIX crew. Maybe I need to thank those people ! (laughs). (Thinking).
Vinyl record is so much linked to the creation of the modern music and the good preservation of the history of sound that it will never disappear. We’ll maybe change the material as we did before with the wax back in the 30’s, but the idea of having a physical support shall always be necessary. As we do with the compressors in big studios or film in photography, the concrete wins over the superficial. So no I wouldn’t say that it’s a problem, because we sell. Of course we could sell more. We can always sell more, but what we want in SIX2SIX is to please the customer and feel that he answers back.
«Vinyl record is so much linked to the creation of the modern music and the good preservation of the whole history of sound that it will never disappear.»
Rap and family, rap and religion, rap and love.. What can you say to those reluctant to the mix ?
As long as you have a family that supports you in all you do and a wife that supports you in all you do, which I have, and you stay true to your self and your belief systems it all becomes one. I don’t have to separate my family and rap or my wife and rap. They are all apart of me doing what I need to be successful ; from a cousin that styles my photo shoots to a wife that manages my day to day to do list. It all works together for the good. And as far as my beliefs, I talk about real things in a way that is not contrary to what I believe. I stay true to hip-hop and to Christ and I make God sound. It’s great.
All the answers were taken by force, corruption,
spying and torture. SWC and SIX2SIX for S.W:SIX.
Questions asked and translated by yvan Durraive for Dirtybet ENT.
Photos by Durraive Production
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