I first heard of rapper Ryan “Spose” Peters last summer, after a feat of guerilla marketing landed his CD in my unsuspecting roommate’s car. We live in Kennebunkport, where car doors remain unlocked and Spose friends abound, so to be hit with the CD was not all that surprising. Neither was his sudden fame this past winter, after Mark Curdo of WCYY helped to popularize the catchy single “I’m Awesome” on his local music show, Spinout.
What is somewhat surprising is that a week ago Wednesday at Ogunquit’s Post Road Tavern, was the first time I made it to see Spose live. Though he often performs with a backing band, Spose’s sudden popularity has prompted an upcoming radio-promotion tour with just a DJ. The Post Road show was a dress rehearsal for that tour, and attracted a bar crowd of Wells classmates and fellow local hip-hop artists. Spose recognized his original fans among the crowd, and opened the show by shouting, “People who are from the opposite of New Jersey, make noise!”
What followed was a hip-hop show only Southern Maine could provide. With drop ceilings and a maroon carpet, Post Road Tavern is just seedy enough to resemble the basement shows of Spose’s youth. Also resembling those early shows was the number of rappers, as Spose, who performed his entire show with the help of Cam Groves, called other local artists Stiky-1, Zach Boston, and Chris Sampson to the stage, both to collaborate as their former group the Frothy Four, and to share their own material.
The majority of my hip-hop expertise is in radical music, where artists spit about Darfur and other world issues. It was almost a relief to experience rhymes on lighter subjects, the laughter at which almost caused me to choke on my beer. One particularly ridiculous song written back in 2002 about karate-chopping vaginas as a sex move even had the group laughing too hard to finish performing. They quickly moved on to newer rhymes.
Earlier in the night Spose had shared his dream of someday starting his own record label as a means of promoting the talent of his friends. It was clear then, and throughout the night, that while “I’m Awesome” may be hitting airwaves as far as California, Spose’s heart still belongs to Maine.