Spinderella Ella Ella Ella
PASSING THROUGH: Extended Q&A with Spinderella
June 25th, 2008 [7:08AM] Posted by: Sara Moskovitz on Willamette Week's Local Cut
[DJ EXTRAVAGANZA] The classic, East Coast accented and honey-dipped voice coming through the phone is just as sweet, sincere and sassy as it is every week on Deidra “Spinderella” Jones’ nationally syndicated radio show, The BackSpin. Jones—the L.A.-based, Brooklyn-bred Salt-n-Pepa DJ who’s been at the decks since 1985—took a moment in between hectic travel-prep errands to talk about the glorious ’80s and how’s she amped to guest this Thursday at weekly Portland hip-hop/dance party the Fix. Bust out the jellies and Lip Smackers—it’s time to reminisce.
You’re someone who’s truly seen hip hop evolve. What over the years has stuck out for you and made an impact, especially being a female DJ very early in the game?
Jones: Growing up, you start realizing that it changes and, just what you said, it evolves. You’ve got to go with the flow. The industry turns a corner and music turns a corner and then you have to fit yourself into that. Musically, as a group, we have evolved. It’s going to keep changing. It’s not going to stay like this, you know? We’ve got to grow with it.
When you and the girls started out, you were really young. Did you have any idea that you were pushing boundaries and opening doors for other young women, or did you not really have a sense about the industry back then?
I started out just going with the flow. Then I would hear from a lot of our fans out there, “This song made me do this,” and “It was because of y’all that I got the strength to leave that abusive situation, because of how you girls stood up.” It was fun at first but then it became something that had a little bit more responsibility in it.
Absolutely. On the more fun side of that, how did it feel to see other girls rocking asymmetrical hairdos, stretch pants and over-the-knee boots in emulation of your style?
It was funny, because we started some trends. [It’s] really crazy, but we’ve been responsible for a lot of girls losing their hair. We used to look in the audience and all their hair was blond. I see how it’s come full circle. Some of those looks are back and I’m like, “Wow, that looks cute. Wait, we used to have that!”
I’ve read that you would dance around your Brooklyn apartment when you were little. Who did you love listening to?
My dad would play music while I was growing up. I had the opportunity to listen to all the old stuff. My favorites would be Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye. I loved Diana Ross and the Supremes, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, the Jackson 5, DeBarge. I loved all the old music that my parents would be playing, so I kind of have that instilled in me.
When I listen to The BackSpin, as a huge fan and someone who adores hip-hop, you’re a comforting voice because you know the history so well.
I know the history, but sometimes I have to ask around, too, and do a little research. But it is a good thing to come from back then. Most people that were born in the ’80s or after did not have the pleasure of what we had, actually living it, being in it.
Do you ever feel the weight to educate younger generations, or do you think they’re going to have their own vision of hip-hop for their lifetime?
There is definitely a responsibility to educate and put out what you know. The younger generations, they start their own, but it didn’t just get created with them. It started before them.
What do you think about the Top 40 music out today?
I enjoy some of the music out, and, I have to say, a lot of it is, like, oh my gawd. A lot of it is redundant. I love Ne-Yo, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Lil Wayne. Whether you might like it or not, they’re passionate about it. With the newer generation of artists coming through the door a lot times, there’s someone who makes the wheel turn [for them], but you’ve got to have that within you.
Thinking back, is there a particular show or interview on The BackSpin that sticks out?
Talking to Nas. He was one of my favorite interviews and people to talk to period. I can ask those questions like, “Yo, what are you feeling now? Is hip-hop really dead? Is it dead to you?”
How does a bigger hip-hop city like L.A. think of hip-hop in Portland or the Northwest? Have you heard of Ohmega Watts or Rev. Shines or Kez, the Fix’s resident DJs?
I’ve heard of them, [and] I hear that the particular spot that I’m playing, I can just be me. I can zone in, really. My love is when I can go into this set called the Logic because I can really play some joints. I’m sure I can gather a lot and get a lot from the guys that I’m going to see out there DJing. I’m looking forward to it.
Please do. There’re some heads out here. Give it to us.
[Laughing] Give it to you?! Do you want me to give it to you? Because, listen, if you tell me that, it’s on.
What are some of the gems we can expect to hear from you?
Some of my favorite hip-hop stuff comes from artists like Gang Starr, Pete Rock, O.C. I can go all the way to Black Moon, Slick Rick, I love the Wu-Tang, I really love Jazzy Jeff. I hope that everyone is receptive to it and open for the classics.
Is anyone you haven’t collaborated with or interviewed yet that you’d like to?
At this time right now, I’m really trying to get it together for myself, and hopefully me and the girls get it together. We’ve been talking and we’re getting closer to that moment where we’re about to do something again. We’re going to be getting together to do a show and working on some new material coming soon, and I’m just looking forward to that second round. It took us some time because we had to go through our personal issues. But I think at this point, I’ve let everything go. They let their things go, and they called me on it. We’re probably at a point right now that it’s like, “Okay, let’s go on and do this. Forget all the drama, let’s just do this and go make music.”
Do you have time for “This Or That”?
L.A. Gears or Reebok’s $54.11s?
Heavy D. or Big Daddy Kane?
Rock the Bells or the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival?
Oh! I’m kind of caught. Wasn’t Mos Def at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival?
I’m sure he has been, yeah.
Probably. I’m going to have to say the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.
TLC or 3LW?
Melrose Avenue or Rodeo Drive?
Rodeo. [Laughs] I aspire high!
Vinyl or Serato?
Argh! You’re going to get me in trouble. I’m 50/50 on that one because I love vinyl and I cannot say I would ever leave it. I still have my vinyl but Serato helps. My chiropractic bills went down because I used to have to carry crates.
Xhane or Changing Faces?
Oh wow. Xhane.
Wet n’ Wild or Bonne Bell?
Wet ‘n Wild
1988 or 1998?
’88! ’88! ’88! ’88! Really big and bold!
MC Lyte or Da Brat?
You’re going to have someone coming after me. I would say both but I love MC Lyte, that’s my girl.
Salt or Pepa? I’m just kidding!
[Laughing] Oh gawd, I was gonna say! I’ll have to give ‘em both back! They’re both bad for your health! No, I’m just kidding!
Spinderella guest DJs at the Fix Thursday, June 26, with Rev. Shines, Ohmega Watts and DJs Kez and Dun Diggy at the Someday Lounge. 9 pm. $10. 21+.