15 In Philly: Spank Rock

Spend 15 years in Philadelphia and you’ll figure out that things in MAGNET’s native city aren’t always sunny or bursting with brotherly love. But underneath the tough exterior are some pretty sweet sounds. In honor of our anniversary, we pay tribute to our hometown scene.


“Rick Rubin,” the lead single from Spank Rock’s 2006 debut album YoYoYoYoYo, was only the first clue that the Philly-via-Baltimore outfit was interested in crossing boundaries. Like famed producer Rubin, Spank Rock combines raunchy, old-school rap with alternative rock. The perverse genius lies in the combination of the pulsing beats and tight rhythms courtesy of producer Armani XXXChange (a.k.a. Alex Epton) and pornographic lyrics by MC Naeem Juwan (“Hoochies want to get on the guest list/Eat a small dinner so you fit in your dresses … Big breast get treated like guest/I’m serving dick for breakfast”).

“Rick Rubin” from YoYoYoYoYo:

Spank Rock, which also includes Amanda Blank, Ronnie Darko (Ronald Rubarth) and Chris Rockswell (Chris Devlin), released follow-up EP Bangers & Cash in 2007, collaborating with club DJ Benny Blanco on a set that fittingly samples the 2 Live Crew and features tracks such as “Pu$$y” and “B-O-O-T-A-Y.”

But Spank Rock routinely crosses party-rap borders to mix with the indie-rock crowd; Epton produced the KillsMidnight Boom and remixed a Björk track; Thom Yorke and Beck have proclaimed themselves as fans. A new Spank Rock album is due later in the year.

—Tiffany Yoon