Those skills included a talent for street art that SP parlayed into a viable career as a tattoo artist, ultimately opening his own tattoo shop, 303 Ink, with his wife. More than just his business partner, Trista has supported his music from the start, from the days when the couple was newly married and SP would invite a parade of MCs over to record in the makeshift studio he'd created in their three-bedroom apartment to years later, when the whole family moved to Florida for a record deal that didn't pan out.

Along the way, the rapper/producer was under the tutelage of Illustrate and, later, Dent. He eventually came into his own, working with a litany of local MCs, including several members of what is now Prime Element (as Heavy Hitters) and the Fresh Breath Committee, a supergroup of sorts that first came together under the Boostwell banner, after meeting at battles that SP would host at his shop. Although various differences ultimately ended each of those partnerships, SP continued to hone his craft on his own while making new connections, including linking with Kid Vishis, which led to working with Royce da 5'9. SP met Chino XL and Focus, two important collaborators, the same way — by simply reaching out online.

Of all those alliances, his relationship with Focus proved to have the most impact. Besides blessing him with beats and collaborating with him on songs, Focus (aka Bernard Edwards Jr., son of Chic's Bernard Edwards and onetime Aftermath producer) gave SP an infinite amount of wisdom and encouragement. When all the strained relationships of the past finally caught up with him, SP was "two steps away from throwing my mike in the trash," he says on "Write or Wrong." When the Florida deal fell apart, he had to start from scratch: "The dough was right, but the situation wasn't," he notes on the album's title track. That's when Focus provided some much-needed focus.

Built for speed: Adrian Perlman is SP Double.
Built for speed: Adrian Perlman is SP Double.

Details

SP Double, CD-release party, with Kold Reality, American Trash Republic, Morning Star and more, 9 p.m. Sunday, April 8, Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton Street, $5, 303-297-1772.

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"It was just a coming of age," SP admits. "Focus being my mentor, man...he was like, 'Listen, man, calm down.' He's older, you know what I mean? So he's already been there. And that's what he said: 'I've been there, dude. I've beefed with people. I've been through the same thing as you. You have to remember, I've been doing this since the '80s. Nothing under the sun is new to me.' He's like, 'Let it be.'

"He's like, 'You have a beautiful family. You have your business going. You have skills on the mike. Just let it be,'" SP remembers. "And he said, 'Do what you do. And whatever it is that you do, wherever you want to be, you have to play your position to get there.' What I took from that is, okay, you know what? I produce, I do videos — I learned to do all this for myself. Why not give back? Why not put it out there and support the town?"

So SP Double returned to the lab to work on his music. At the same time, he started working on his relationships with other acts, focusing on generating positive energy and momentum, shooting videos and collaborating on tracks with other rappers from every part of the scene.

His tenacity paid off. Loyalty Honor Respect, executive-produced by Focus, features SP Double's finest work to date, shining with lyrics that are incisive, confrontational, confessional, heartfelt and, above all, memorable, over beats that absolutely bang. Such luminaries as Royce da 5'9, Joe Budden, Chino XL, Big Pooh, Crooked I, C. Ray and Statik Selektah are featured — but even among those impressive guests, it's clear that the MC is at the top of his game. His distinctive internal rhyming-scheme style, influenced by MCs like Kool G Rap, is sharper than ever. It's been a long road to get here, but SP Double has no doubt that he's finally arrived.

"My son Gabriel, my oldest son," SP concludes, "he came up to me and said, 'You finally did it, Dad. I'm happy for you.' He saw the struggle that it took. He's been there through the whole process: Florida, back. He's a smart kid. And he's the same age that I was when my pops passed. So I feel great showing my son that rather than me showing him beating his mom and drinking and doing drugs and all that. That, to me, is the biggest obstacle I overcame."

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3 comments
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Megan Perez
Megan Perez

Great guy, great family, amazing wife (miss ya Trista!). Love you guys and I'm so happy you've arrived.

Greg1012
Greg1012

Much love and respect to Sp. Good dude that works hard to achieve his goals.....A true leader and role model. Infninte blessings to the Perlman familia.

Aadowdy12
Aadowdy12

Yeah i would like to hear some of his music, is it on you tube that was a very inspiring story though

 
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