A new deep dive series into songs by Wells, Maine native, Ryan Peters.
After having the opportunity to interview the King of Maine, I realized that each of his songs are put out for a reason. While I already knew that he told stories through his music, I never understood how deep the songs were. The point of this series is to highlight the small verses in his songs that may get overlooked and then view the full meaning of his music.
The first song that I am going to cover in the “Spose Saturday” series is 16 Counties off of his mixtape Dankonia that was only released onto SoundCloud. This is where I want to start breaking down this song because, this whole album cannot be released to Apple or Spotify because, Spose raps over beats from the legendary rap duo, Outkast.
In our interview, Spose talked about how being a rapper from Maine maybe perceived as odd but, also talked about how at the time Outkast was starting out, the thought of being a rapper from Atlanta was weird. Now Atlanta has pumped out rappers like 21 Savage, Future, and Young Thug.
The song starts off where Spose says “Listen up Bub, I'm from Maine, where ain't nobody famous”. When Ryan raps “ain’t nobody famous”, it is a fair point because, when you really think of celebrities coming out of Maine the first thought is Stephen King, after that, there isn’t many people that come to mind.
In the 5th and 6th line, Spose goes back to his past. He says “I’m Spizzy Spose, one of Maines own, I slanged Lobster Rolls before I became grown”. Before L.L Bane blew up, he had to hustle and work at a seafood restaurant while still making music, including his first album Preposterously Dank.
Towards the end of the first verse, Spose spits a line that only people from Maine would probably understand. He says “My whole state behind me still, I’m Kevin Mannix”. Mannix is a member of the weather team for WCSH News Center 6, a news station based out of Portland, Maine.
The chorus reminds me of the final rap battle in 8 Mile when Slim Shady says “Now everybody from the 313, put your mother fucking hands up and follow me!”. Spose does the similar thing for those in the 213 when he raps “So throw your hands in the air, if you can’t get there from here, if you sip Shipyards and like when I spit bars”.
A key line in the chorus that many people may not pick up on is when he says “if you can’t get there from here” which pays homage to Maine comedy duo, Bob Bryan and Marshall Dodge, who went by Bert and I and were prominent in the 50’s and 60’s with humor that was probably funny at the time but, nowadays is fairly odd.
The next verse really gets into the weeds about the Pine Tree State. In the 4th line in he has a message to the state capital and to the state former governor, Paul Lepage. “And you could tell Augusta that I called to say, the following, Fuck Paul Lepage”. The next few verses, Spose expresses his displeasure with former governor Lepage because, he does not consider the “little guy”.
“Theres no way he can be from where we’ve all been raised, He needs to shut his fat face and like the balls for days, While I’m robbin’ every Marden’s till we all get paid, If that clown isn’t hauled away, Bound and drowned up in the Maine Mall in hollandaise, For trying to turn Maine into the Balken States”.
Spizzy, then takes a shot at another Maine politician, Senator Susan Collins. He says “I’m Governor Spose, I deliver the noise, But not like Susan Collins with a quivering voice”. He believes he can lead the people of the state better than those, who at the time were in charge and were not in touch with the common resident who doesn’t come from wealth and struggles day in and day out.
Possibly one of my favorite lines is when he says “Where Angus King isn’t a burger place”. I just found this line funny because, once again, unless you’re from Maine or in-touch with politics, no one would know what you’re talking about when referencing former United States Senator Angus King.
The next few lines really go into the struggle some people face in day to day life as a Maine resident. “Single mothers discover it's not Utopian, From Fort Kent to Brunswick, where Bowdoin is, Now she's losing hope again, she let another insecure dude into the Fallopians, Screams not melodious, bruised, laying there on the linoleum, The type of wounds that are not, muted by Imodium, The local representative she voted in, Sugar coated it, gloated and bloated at the podium, The promise is erroneous, now she and her kids are in the cold again, Shivering, she's holding 'em, that's what you see, You take a look behind the foliage and see the real Maine, It's not lobster dinners everywhere, we feel pain, I'm just saying what I see around me, where they found me, In Maine, put 'em up for the sixteen counties.”
He raps to the struggle of domestic violence in the state, homelessness, and promises that many politicians break once they’ve made it into office. Spose somewhat “attacks” tourists that come from Massachusetts or New York that take photos during the summer and post them on Instagram without understanding what the people who work in a seafood restaurant or in a gift shop face. Lots of people don’t know what that single mother has to do to support her children.
When Spose was on My Parents Office, he talked about how he thought that only people from Wells, Maine would understand these issues but, he has heard from fans who say “my town is just like Wells” or “I went through the same thing and your music has helped me through a lot”. He was kind of taken aback by people saying this when he realized his music transcends the southern coast of Maine.
Next week for Spose Saturdays, I am going to analyze a song that is not as dark as 16 Counties, the song Knocking on Wood which is on his album The Audacity!