Armed with little more than his father’s extensive record collection of jazz, soul, psychedelic rock, folk, comedy and a Kurzweil 2000 keyboard - Black Spade’s music is a melting pot of sounds hailing from St. Louis by way of New York, Detroit, LA, and everywhere that hip-hop has carved a distinctive and influential sound for itself.
Writing and producing all his music along with MC’ng, Spade’s one man team approach is full of burbling synths, and off-kilter drums while his voice slides smoothly over choruses coated in multi-tracked vocals and skipping roughshod drums. Attributing his distinctive sound to his home of St. Louis, Black Spade explains “We get a piece of everything by being in the middle.” However, he feels no harmonious connection to where St. Louis pop acts like Nelly, Chingy, etc. have taken hip-hop lately. Spade’s style is not like the norm. This undercurrent shows through all his music and can be heard in songs like “Evil Love,” where the keyboard hits less than a second after you expect it to. It’s subtle, but these little things are what make Black Spade’s music so compelling.
Despite his strong ties to hip-hop, Spade’s taste in music walks across genres. He listens to Prince and Dilla, alongside Bloc Party and Radiohead while using all these sounds as a blueprint for his future, one that sits under the guiding light of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew era electronic sax skronk. Then there’s his rapping - Spade’s cadence flutters up and down like Pharoahe Monch, but stays introspective like Common. Before you know it, he’ll switch to singing and suddenly his songs become less like hip hop experimentation and more like fully fleshed sketches.