Listen to 'Overcooked' by Greenss / by Maxwell Young

The project is called Overcooked because the second beat tape by Greenss is long overdue--a personal opinion.

  Overcooked  cover art by  Liza Sem

Overcooked cover art by Liza Sem

Spencer Green is a zealous sophomore, soon to be junior, at Howard University by way of Connecticut who has integrated himself into the Washington, D.C. music scene through fan-hood first.

"It's always inspiring to go to a show and watch people showcase their talent," he said on Late Bloom Radio in March.

The collegiate grind can make it challenging for a student to venture outside of a campus bubble, especially one as rich in tradition as Howard, to explore the communities and spaces that make a city like Washington, D.C. so vibrant.  Freshman year you acclimate yourself to a new environment, new friends, and eventually, a once foreign place becomes familiar and you begin to broaden your perspective.  Brooklyn-based artist Amani Fela is the connection between Greenss and fellow District musicians.  The two played a show together in New York and when Fela traveled to Capital Fringe for a performance, Greenss was introduced to members of the hip hop community including Keith James, Sage Moe, Nappy Nappa, and Marty Heem Cherry.

"I'm grateful D.C. has such a thriving art scene.  [They] had their arms open for me," he said.

Both Greenss and I found ourselves at Tony Kill's house several months ago for an intimate listening session for Sir E.U's most recent album, Some Friend You Are.  It was refreshing to meet another transplant who had a positive outlook on the culture of the city.  Unfortunately, it seems the more artists experience the politics of the DMV the less confident they feel in putting the creative community on the mainstream map.  He mentioned that he was a beat-maker and had published a tape on Bandcamp and SoundCloud (The Shampoo EP) during the summer of 2017.  Only two years into his craft, I wondered why he didn't have more music released.  A highly selective ear, Greenss was also timid about his output.

"I wasn't as confident in myself as a producer.  I started honing my skills and producing more to become more confident," he reflected on radio.

Take a few steps into his HU dormitory and you can understand his commitment to not only learning the art of production but also self actualization.  His keyboard lays on top of books regarding music theory, cassettes on the Four Levels of Healing and other retro sounds and remedies border his Yamaha HS5 speakers, and VHS tapes--one of them notably being Amistad--accentuate the room of someone sentimental of analog times.  Disciplined, Greenss has curated his own Rhythm Roulette sampling from a multitude of crates stuffed with vinyl records ranging from Otto Klemperer's rendition of Beethoven's Symphony Number 3 to soundtracks of Charlie Brown.

"I don't got nothing, man," said Nate G listening to one of Greenss' instrumentals on Late Bloom.  "This beat just feels good.  This joint makes you want to go to the berry aisle of Whole Foods."

The feeling of wellbeing Nate G references is layered into Greenss' artistry through the sonics, his namesake, and his performances.

"Green is the color that everybody needs, wants.  Whether that be vegetables or money, weed--there's always something green that's going on in your day that's usually good.  There's a ton of background in green, and obviously it's my favorite color," he explained.

Over the last couple months, Greenss has played a number of sets at various venues including Songbyrd Music House, Grindstone, and Studio Ga Ga.  On stage, he exudes his moniker quite literally.  Yes, he's always wearing some type of green apparel--my favorite being the Kelly Green Sk8 Low Vans--but perhaps more interesting is the high energy foods he talks about and eats during performances.

"Spinach is a great source of protein!" he said after plucking a leaf from his colorfully assorted plate of vegetables as he opened for another Brooklyn-based musician, Soft Glas.  During a set at Rhizome, he was blending and serving fruit smoothies while mixing original beats for friends and family.

"Regardless of how many people are there, you always have to bring the energy...you always have to bring something to the table," he said.

Overcooked is an eight-track instrumental tape delivered by the up-and-coming chef, Spencer Green.  It is available for purchase and download on Bandcamp with a few selections for streaming on SoundCloud.  Stay tuned to his Twitter and Instagram pages as he's sure to become an even greater fixture in the District.

Photographs of Greenss on Late Bloom Radio by Chris Gellein.