Hip hop in the 80s: Spice
Running time: 6 minutes
Spice: [0:08] I’m known as Spice. Basically because…. It’s a tag I gave myself in the early ’80s, I think around ’85 or ’86. I was actually known as Kandy before that – which was a name given to me by one of the older b-boys, and the same one of my brother’s older friends. I always thought it didn’t suit me. It was a bit too cute even though I’m the young one amongst everyone.
[0:30] But then, Spice was a name I used to muck around with. It felt good to me, like it suited me a lot better. I thought it was kind of cool, but had a bit of an edge. Good name for a girl, but still had a bit of an edge to it.
[0:46] When I started doing graffiti, I was ‘The Drawer’. I wasn’t allowed to go out a lot. My mum was strict to let me out at night when a lot of the stuff would happen. In the day time, we’d be out bombing the trains which is just tagging the trains all the time. But to do the main pieces, if it was canals, I used to go to do that in the day. As far as night time things or painting trains and stuff, I didn’t get to do that early on because I was under lock and key at home. But I was the drawer. I used to do the outlines for people and then the guys would go out and paint them.
[1:24] I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was young, too, so that was kind of probably what did my favour. I would make my own shorts. Make little art patches and sew them on things. So there was a lot of customising in the clothing. I suppose just using your artistic ability and putting that stamp on your clothes as well.
[1:50] Graffiti’s really about style and manipulation of the letters. So you’re really always trying to progress on that. In the early times, it was very futuristic. Everything seemed to be futuristic. A lot of music was about space and things like that. You’d see those elements in the artwork from back then. And the b-boy characters were really drawn because you wanted to create that image. We didn’t have so much colour, so you had to work with whatever you had.
[2:31] I think when I became about 15, I started to get into lyric writing. I never really told anyone. I just used to be at home doing it. Then when friends found out, that was it. Trying to get me into the studio. It just blew up from there. My main song that people seem to know was called ‘Hardcore Love’. I can’t believe I just said the name of it because it makes me cringe. It was, obviously, a teenage girl talking about love. I still stand by everything I say in it. And when I think about it, I think, ‘Man, I was on some next-level shit back then.’ How, when I didn’t even have a real boyfriend yet?’, you know, but I was talking sense.
[3:18] The whole reason I was asked to contribute to this album was that my name got around that I was MCing. The people from 2SER on a radio show called ‘Back to Funk’ – Heidi Pasqual – she really embraced the stuff and really tried to get people together and work with these other people called Criteria Productions. They were looking at producing a compilation of Australia’s first hip hop through Virgin Records. It was a big thing for how young we all were, being asked to do that.
[4:01] I, also, was asked to do Ice T’s tour when he came out to Australia. He specifically asked for a female MC to do his support act. Obviously, I was asked, and got to meet him. That was a dream come true because I used to really love his stuff. To have someone say ‘Ice T wants to meet you,’ that was like ‘Oh my God! He wants to meet me?’ So that was all really cool. It was always city clubs, a few in-store appearances, record shops. It was always city-based, basically.
[4:36] This is a jacket I picked up from a store called Route 66 out on Oxford Street in the city. It was a shop that they used to get a lot of second-hand stuff from the States. A lot of baseball shirts and stuff like that. I used to live in it. It’s got a ‘K’ on it for Kandy which I added on to it, I think. Maybe it was on there, I can’t really remember. I think, if I remember correctly, I added the ‘K’ onto it. I used to wear it so often. Then, when I was touring with Ice T, I got him to sign it, “Love always, Ice T.” That’s still one of the highlights of my life. But also, my mum died not long after this and was in hospital the night of the show so she couldn’t watch. So it kind of marks a big moment in my life.