On a warm April day in Brooklyn, I met with Tableek of Maspyke in the garden of a local bar. He was soon due to take his kids to an Anime festival at the Brooklyn Museum.
Once described as “One of the most important groups in hip hop right now”, by Mos Def , Maspyke (Roddy Rod, Tableek and Hanif Jamiyl) have released various 12”, EP’s and albums through independent labels and Tableek has featured on so many projects he can’t keep up with them. Even if Maspyke seems to be treading water right now, individually movements are being made. Lets have a look…
Lady Jay UK: Wassup!?
Tableek: What it is, waddup, waddup UK, peace.
Lady Jay UK: So you off to a video shoot this week, is that right?
Tableek: Headed out to Pittsburgh on Thursday, we shooting a video for the rough track, I’m dealing with this kid named Whiz, Vienna and my man Daru out of Pittsburgh. So that’s why I’m going out to his lil' home town, bout ta chop it up out there.
Lady Jay UK: Tell me some more about the track.
Tableek: Rough is a collaboration between… actually it was originally just a track that I did with Daru, and what happened was, I was doing a couple records with this cat Whiz out of Vienna and he told me, I wanted to get something on there that I was involved with a little bit more directly, so I told him I deal with this cat Daru. So I let him check it, he was real amped about it. He did like a lil' extra programmin’ on the beat, and we just kinda put it together.
The 12” came out early last month.
Lady Jay UK: You did a track last year with a UK dude…
Tableek: My man Kista. Dope graffiti artist, dope beat maker, definitely.
Lady Jay UK: How did that come about?
Tableek: He knows a guy named Digga, Digga used to come out to Brooklyn and hang out with my man PR Dean and myself, like over the last 4/5 years. He would come and just like camp out for like a week or two. We would just be like, him all over the place and; did a couple records with him. And so through Digga, Kista got a hold of me and we did that record – the Talk With God joint and the Evolution joint.
He got another record that’s about to come out. I got a joint on there, called ‘Stupid Motherfuckers’ that’s the next joint. He got another dude on there called Some, from Atlanta. That shit be coming out like sometime like the summer I guess.
Lady Jay UK: That’s an interesting title, do you wanna explain?
Tableek: Well, you know I did the Talk With God joint with him and we did the Evolution, and I was looking to do something that wasn’t expected from a dude like me. I thought about a lot of stupid mother fuckers that I know, and I decided to dedicate a song to all of them in the world.
Maybe y’all know some stupid mother fuckers, you can have them listen to the record.
Lady Jay UK: Send it in the post to ‘em.. What’s happenin’ with Maspyke?
Tableek: Everybody’s working, Roddy Rod got record out, that’s extremely dope. Called Blunt Park Sessions, Hanif got a joint out that’s kinda wild called Crushed Grapes, everyone just working on lil' joints and keep it movin’ like that.
We supposed to be doin’ something with DJ Mitsou from Jazzy Sport soon, that’ll be the next Maspyke thing comin’ out.
Lady Jay UK: So You all just working on your own stuff at the moment?
Tableek: Pretty much… we waiting for someone to say, hey! Here’s a whole bunch of money y’all do another Maspyke record. Soon as someone come out here an hit us up, it’s ready! But, you know, we just waitin’.
Lady Jay UK: And what about you Tableek, what’s happenin’ with you?
Tableek: I got a few joint comin’ out. I got a record comin out with Gareth. A lot of stuff that I did, I just don’t remember… I’ll be lookin’ at something, or someone will send me an email, and be like, ‘I like that track you did’, and I go: 'Which One?’ and I’ll have to look it up, and find, oh! It’s out! So then, I’ll go ask them to send me a copy and shit.
I got an EP with this cat Juso, the Stupid Motherfuckers joint, and Ordinary Fellow, which is another 12” that came out. I’m workin’ on a real album; got my man S dot X on it, Mos Def has helped me put it together, got my man Amir Sulimen on it, tryna get my man Planet Asia. So that’s really the big thing that I’m working on, but because people hittin’ me up with little side stuff… I try not to do it, but usually if I’m doin’ it it’s because something about either them or the beat that I really like – so I do the extra stuff; which slows down the progress what I’m tryna do with my record, but, whatever.
Lady Jay UK: How long have you been working on your current album?
Tableek: Almost a year, I’m not in a rush. Things is kinda crazy with the music business right now, thing’s is not how it used to be when we first started doin’ records you know. In order to come out, you really gotta think about the plan, make sure you get the record to the people that need to hear it.
Lady Jay UK: What do you think’s important then in terms of longevity?
Tableek: Just keep puttin’ out music, I think that’s really the main thing that had kept us afloat, always tryna put out more music. I wish there was a magic bullet, a magic lil' thing I could tell people, but at the end of the day if you gonna be a rapper you need to be rappin. If you gonna be a DJ you need to be DJ’in…
I was on the road for a great deal of time, until somethin’ happened with my son, so I needed to slow down a little bit, 'cos I’d be gone for like three months at a time, so I needed to chill that out a little. So that’s when I got into doing a lot of the studio stuff that I been completing since September.
Lady Jay UK: How do you end up working with people?
Tableek: I definitely appreciate all those Myspacers out there, cos that definitely helps. I try to stay as current to what’s going on as possible. I’m not one of them dude that be like: ‘I don’t listen to hip hop’, nah, I love it so I still listen to shit all the time.
I listen to stuff that I like, I definitely check out all the new cats. I used to listen to the new stuff so I can call people up and be like yo, lets go on tour, so then we would just go on tour and you know, chop it up but, now I’m tryna get some work done.
I listen to stuff that I like to just make sure that my stuff is stayin’ current with what’s out there you know.
Lady Jay UK: Who’s your favourite artist?
Tableek: I like Tableek. I like Roddy Rod, and Hanif Jamiyl; nah I like a lot of the cats out there, I like the Lo Budget Crew, definitely Asia, S dot X, Brand Nubians still doing they thing, Tanya Morgan, Percee P, Verbal Cannon, Akrobatic, just cats that still working and doing it, you know.
Lady Jay UK: Vinyl’s obviously struggling at the moment, as a format. You’ve been very adamant that you will continue to put vinyl out. I was wonderin’ why that was.
Tableek: Cos, I’m hard headed. And I guess I’m crazy, but I think that with the vinyl, the people I want to have hear certain joints, are able to go through that whole process. Cos it is a process that as a group we’ve gone through a few times already.
I think there’s still people that wanna receive that music, like that. I just sent a new joint to my man Revolution in Cali amd he’s a dude that still rocks vinyl. A lot of dudes went over to the Serato in the end. If I was a DJ, I probably would do the same thing. I’d save myself the back pain and get myself the Serato and the laptop, but I know there’s a lot of cats out there that still appreciate the vinyl.
As long as people are still pressing it, I know in the states a lot of pressing plants don’t even fuck with it no more.
Lady Jay UK: There will be a lot of people grateful (for the vinyl).
Tableek: Yea I hope so, so cop it! Word up.
Lady Jay UK: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Tableek: Wow, I guess just receiving the love from the people, people keep us going and hit us up and keep that thing moving. Other people keep us inspired, keep me inspired to wanna keep makin’ music.
Life itself keeps me inspired.
When I meet people that I used to look up to, and they know about my group or they know records that we’ve done and they be like: ‘Yo I love what y’all did here’. Definitely one time we was recording at D & D, that was an experience. We had a record that was playin’ on Hot 97 before they got really extra commercial, like when they first came out, and we was like wow we on Hot 97.
Touring with S dot X , Percee P and just building with them.
I used to work with Rodney C in the Bronx, and I used to pick his brain like continuously. People don’t know they was the first group to do a lot of stuff, the first group on Saturday night live. Little Rodney C and Double Trouble and Funky Four Plus One More… Straight up he got sick of me , cos I was always in his head like: ‘What was it like bein’ on Wild Style, tell me 'bout this, tell me 'bout that’. He be like aight and we get to it, but…
He’s a good dude and there’s a lotta cats that I met that I really appreciated their time that I used to listen to when I was younger. Most of them are cool, some of them are assholes, but it’s all good.
Lady Jay UK: What’s your vision?
Tableek: Hopefully to keep makin’ this music. Make good music and just not stop with it. I’m not really concerned with being on MTV or nothing like that. I’m not in it for that. I’m not in it for the fame. I’m tryna make music for people who really enjoy the hip hop. That’s still living it, and true to it.
Just tryna maintain and spread love as much as I can, and develop myself as an artist.
Lady Jay UK: What else do we need to know?
Tableek: I’m hunting bald eagles from 2008 – 2009 and that’s the movement to look out for right there, the Hunting Bald Eagles joint. And perhaps, if somebody’s willin’ and waiting, we can get another Maspyke record.
I’m working with Roddy Rod on the stuff I’m working on for this album to, so if you like the Maspyke you gonna like what I’m doin. Definitely.
Big up to UK hip hop. Word Up.