Today we premiere the new EP from Realio Sparkzwell. Listen below, then keep scrolling for an interview with the man himself.
The new EP is a tribute to, and uses samples from, the group The Main Ingredient. What is it about their music that made you want to dedicate a whole project to them?
I love soul music and love digging in the crates and The Main Ingredient’s music always has a lot of feeling and strings that I feel in tune with. Soul music touches me, soothes me, and also inspires me. I had the sample for Purple Grimace for a while and always wanted to use it. I also had the Questions sample. Originally I was working on looking for samples for my Bloody Luciano album which has a mob theme. I came across more ill samples I had from The Main Ingredient and I was thinking I can’t and shouldn’t use more than one Main Ingredient sample for my album, but maybe I can bang out an EP dedicated to them, using their music as source material.
I was instantly sparked on the idea and executive-produced and wrote the project in just a few days. I’m also proud of this body of work because I recorded it in one session, within a few hours, and I feel it came out flawless…with all due respect. I didn’t want any features on it either. Feel me for me, ya dig.
The Main Ingredient is very much in the same vein as the minimalist, modern gangster rap style mastered by Roc Marciano and Ka, and everyone they’ve inspired since: Meyhem Lauren, Westside Gunn, Conway, and to a lesser extent, Action Bronson. Who inspires you?
I think all those emcees are official and I would say I’m inspired by them. I respect what they do for sure and would like to work with them as well. In these modern times I feel they are definitely some of the ones holding the torch for the culture. I would guess to say that I’m probably inspired by some of the same artists that these artists were inspired by.
I’m heavily inspired by legends like Wu-Tang, Eric B & Rakim, Nas, Kool G Rap, Big L, Boot Camp Clik, Gang Starr, EPMD, Redman, D.I.T.C., etc. I used to go by iRealz and this is not the first time that I’ve released music with a more stripped down aesthetic. I think if we go back to the ’90s we can see the RZA, Q-Tip, Alchemist, and others helping to father that style, as far as minimalist beats are concerned.
You’re now recording as Realio Sparkzwell, but you’ve also in the passed gone by the names REALZ and iRealz. Is there significance in the name changes? Do they allow you to explore different parts of your personality, or create different characters on wax?
Yes sir, that is definitely a part of it. I am growing and developing as a person and as an artist. I have been through a lot in life and I want to express my colorful experiences and drop jewels. I’m also better lyrically. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for years, it’s always been an a/k/a. IRealz derives from Ireality. On the eastside of Syracuse, NY, in the projects we shorten everything down. My righteous attribute Ireality became iRealz as a nickname. Everyone called me that for years so it just became my default emcee name.
My homie Bourne Grimey used to call me Realio Sparkz all the time though. He’s doing ten in the Feds right now. He was one of my business and rhyme partners. We created a movement in Syracuse, NY, called LAMA. Our close friend and group member Allen Ross was murdered, our homie Pesc was also shot in a robbery (he survived and is alive), and Goon and Alley Grown have been constantly in and out of prison forever. So I been doing this dolo and feel a lot of pressure. For the past three years I’ve made a lot of changes to my life and I’m striving to be successful for all my peoples who can’t do it.
This was all our dream. So I took on Realio Sparkzwell officially in 2015 and put out a song called Quartz Crystal Rap with a YouTube video single to introduce the idea to people. Now that I am out of “the life” I can rhyme more vividly about it, telling stories, and drawing from experiences and drop jewels at the same time with messages. I never felt comfortable about rhyming about certain things before ‘cause I didn’t’ want to bring that attention to myself to incriminate myself or my people.
You recently became part of the Gold Chain Military/Poison Ring Regime extended family of artists. What does that represent to you, and where do you see it will take you?
That came from a simple conversation with Killa Kali. He had heard my leak Ravenous off this project. He asked me if I wanted to be down with the movement, GCM/PRR. I told him that I respect them and would be honored. Real simple. It’s just honor among swordsmen. Sharp swordsmen recognize other sharp swordsmen. We honor the blade if it’s sharp, ya dig? Same way I became affiliated with my brothers Cannibal Ox (Vast Aire & Vordul Mega). I’m also a part of the Iron Galaxy Clik (IGC) and Crimson Godz crew, and have been recording and touring with my bros for years. I’m also on their critically acclaimed sophomore album, The Blade of the Ronin. To me, it just increases affiliation from coast to coast, which I feel is important. So yeah, just honor among swordsmen, we are all kings in our own right.
There are two full-length projects on the way, The Top Emblem and Bloody Luciano. Tell us what we can expect.
I’ll put it like this. The Main Ingredient is the fresh, crisp, healthy salad before the main courses that are underway. The Main Ingredient also makes for a good winter release. It fits that holiday vibe perfect. So, The Top Emblem is like the spicy chicken parm with baked ziti and fresh garlic knots. The Top Emblem represents top shelf premium quality. I will be spitting pure heroin for the fiends. There’s also an EP that follows The Top Emblem, Loosies Out the Bundy, which will be the dessert – basically a collection of looses that didn’t quite make their way onto The Top Emblem.
Bloody Luciano will follow up with the same kind of vibe. It’s mob themed, street music with jewels and messages from someone whose been there and seen it all. I’ve also got a lot more in store! Many more albums, I been working hard, but just digest this info for now. Peace.