It’s not often that I spy Portland streets in the background of my daily Youtube music video sessions. But a few weeks ago, I came across “Flunkeez Anthem,” a hyphy beat with flows by a fresh looking MC dressed in Supreme and local brand Poorboys, riding in the back of a convertible through industrial SE. The artist, with gold fronts and two crisp white Styrofoam cups, was Spoon, formerly known as T. Soprano. When something this dope gets this close to home, we usually have to get in touch, and Anthony, AKA Spoon, was kind enough to stop by our crib and tell us about his new mixtape, new name and the relatively new Portland hip-hop culture.
Born in NE Portland, Spoon started rapping from a young age. His Oakland-born brother forced him to rap with him, battling and freestyling, until eventually Anthony began to get the edge. He got a Too Short tape from an older family member, and took it to school, where kids knew LA records, but hadn’t heard anything from the Bay yet. With inspirations ranging from Ice Cube to Scarface to classic RnB and Snoop Dogg, Spoon doesn’t like to put a box around his sound. His childhood home was around the street from Portland’s most loved OG, Cool Nutz, who has served as a valuable friend and mentor throughout Anthony’s career.
In addition to the cups, his mixtape, “Class is in Session,” is just about ready for mixing and mastering, with a release to follow soon after. A majority of the production comes from local hip-hop don Stewart Villain, and he hopes to have it done in the next few months. As T. Soprano, he released mixtapes Round 1 (2007), Round 2 (2009) and Respect Before Success (2010), but took some time off to get ready for this new project. He changed his rap moniker to Spoon, his childhood neighborhood nickname, given to him by his grandma. Also currently pursuing a business degree, it’s clear that he has a vision beyond the music. “A lot of people get a little shine and go crazy,” something Spoon hopes to avoid.
Even before the dope music, I was drawn to Spoon’s style and clothing, which combine Northwest pieces and vintage Trailblazers gear with an exceptional collection of high-end streetwear fits from Been Trill and Supreme. Throughout his “Flunkeez” video and Instagram profile, a certain double-stacked cup continues to show up sporting a “Portland Drankerz” logo. With a habit passed down from a homie from Houston, Spoon wanted a way to “put his city on his cup,” and hopes to release more as the movement grows. Last week, we interviewed Brent from local brand, The Poorboys, who are featured in Flunkeez Anthem and have been riding with Spoon from the start. “If I go hard enough, even if I’m not the one to make it, I wanna be the one to open the door for this city,” states Spoon, clearly laying out his mission to elevate his hometown in any way he can. His devotion to his family, friends and city is obvious in both conversation and in each verse he releases.