Literal LOLs, underlying maturity on new album from Spose

The latest album from Ryan “Spose” Peters, “The Peter Sparker Mix Tape,” finds the Wells-based rapper in a much happier place than the circumstances around his last album, 2012’s “The Audacity!” Not that that last album was a downer – it was as funny and catchy as ever. But in 2013, Peters is in a more balanced place, with the shadow of his acrimonious split with Universal Records now fully behind him.

“My last few albums were created during and after my split with Universal, in the midst of financial insecurity and personal problems. Nowadays, I’m feeling pretty damn good,” said Peters. “I think Peter Sparker reflects that. And also, it’s a rap album as opposed to my last album, which was a cross genre alternative rap opera thing. I just wanted to have fun on this one and make jams for people who work in kitchens.”

“Peter Sparker,” released for free online this week, was funded by a Kickstarter campaign Peters launched in fall 2012. It was produced by Spose himself on a few tracks, as well as by a host of friends in the hip hop community including The Lin, Principal Dean and Mike Be. It’s wildly entertaining, gleefully profane, surprisingly mature, and often laugh out loud funny – check out the verbal gymnastics of “All R’s,” or the tribute to low-budget living of “‘03 Altima.”

Spose is surely the first rapper in history to give a shout out to Sen. Susan Collins, as heard on “The King of Maine.” He’s proud to be a Mainer, even if he expresses frustration with some parts of his life here on “I’m Starving.” It’s that no-B.S. approach that strikes a chord with his fans, who came out in droves to support his Kickstarter campaign and regularly pack his live shows.

“My fans are incredible… I have some who have come to 8 or 10 shows in the past few years and drive hundreds of miles to see me,” said Peters. “My fans are just regular people and I think they relate to me because I’m just a regular person. I try to express that both in my music as well as my interactions with fans and even on stage.”

Later this year, Spose fans can expect another album, “Dankonia,” which features Peters rapping over beats from now-defunct rap duo Outkast. But right now, Peters is focusing mostly on “Peter Sparker,” which is also available in a deluxe edition at Bull Moose Music locations. He’s got a few shows coming up this summer, including the State of the State Maine music showcase on July 12 at the State Theatre in Portland, and at the KahBang Festival in Bangor, Aug. 8-11.

Other than that, he’s still the same old Ryan Peters. He’s still driving his 2003 Nissan Altima. He’s still living in Wells. He’s excited about the fact that his favorite softball team, the Sanford Spartans, are doing really well this year and might make the state finals.

“Honestly, what I like about my Altima is that it’s a 3.5 liter engine so it’s got some balls,” said Peters. “Other than Spartan-pride, I’ve been working really hard on music and being content with the things I have.”

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, a UMaine graduate, a proud Bangorian and an arts and lifestyle writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food, from media and the Internet to theater and dance. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra, to name just a few. She's interested in everything -- especially if it happens in Maine. She welcomes any and all feedback or suggestions for stories.