West Philly rapper/actor Omillio Sparks (born Kenneth Johnson) is back in the limelight with his solo debut The Payback in stores now. The album marks a departure from Sparks' former home at Roc-A-Fella Records as a key member of the State Property crew, and signals a new marriage with Koch distribution and his own Colossal Entertainment label.
Overwhelmingly optimistic, Sparks reflects on the new situation: "It's just payback. I figure the best way to pay somebody back is to succeed. A lot of people counted me out, and hated on me for whatever reason. All I did was keep it funky for people from day one. I kept it real. I've grown up and matured. I've stopped runnin' reckless."
Now more than ever Sparks is focused on an acting career that's seen him bring an unforgettable character--the infamous Baby Boy--to life in the first two State Property movies. In January he'll star in Soulful with The Wire's Felicia "Snoop" Pearson and Tray "Poot" Chaney.
In September he begins shooting Expendable, which pits the rapper with R&B bad boy Bobby Brown, and Lauren London, who portrayed New New in T.I.'s ATL.
Still, many want to know about the future of State Property. Its members still speak and collaborate with one another, and they're featured all over The Payback. But what of the rumors about a State Property 3 opus?
"We're gonna see how it plays out," says Sparks. "We talk about a lot of things, but that don't mean they get done."