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Grieves on Rhymesayers, Together/Apart and Seattle/Vancouver [Interview]

Seattle, WA – Okay, we admit it. We’re pretty big Rhymesayers fans, from Atmosphere to Blueprint to Grieves. One of the MCs we’ve especially noticed is Grieves, and he’s been hitting the festival circuit this summer at Paid Dues, Soundset and Vans Warped Tour. The Rhymesayers Family Tour recently came through Vancouver and HipHopCanada got the chance to check out Grieves in action – and subsequently pick his brain on a couple of issues. Check out what the young gun has to say on hooking up with producer Budo, his upcoming album, and the attractive qualities of Vancouver women.


HipHopCanada: Your first release on Rhymesayers, “Together/Apart”, drops June 21st, how did you hook up with Slug and Rhymesayers?

Grieves: Back in 2007 I went on tour with Atmosphere for the “Everybody Loves a Clown” tour. I was DJing for the homies Grayskul – who are also on Rhymesayers – and doing a verse with Mac Lethal.

This was my first introduction to that whole crew and I really hit the ground running. If I wasn’t on stage, I was back at the merch table, or helping load, or handing the Irreversible album sampler. I figured I was there to work so that’s pretty much what I did. By the end of that tour I had handed out 10,000 samplers and got a lot of face time with Atmosphere’s crowd. I also established my relationship with a lot of people from Rhymesayers on that tour. Throughout the years we kept in touch and eventually I found myself inking a deal with them. It was quite the dream come true for me.

HipHopCanada: You and your boy Budo handled much of the production for the new album, correct? You two have a long history of working together, can you describe that history, and what the process is like when you work creatively together?

Grieves: Budo and I come from very a separate place creatively…But yet we are extremely like-minded and most of the time a perfect match. We started working together back in 2007 shortly after I got off tour with Atmosphere. We had talked about our interests and ideas as far as direction goes in music, and we decided to link up and make a song. That song turned out to be “Gwenavieve” off of 8 Keys and Counting. After that song, we never stopped. He and I found something there that I think we both wanted to develop.

Now several years later, I couldn’t imagine working with anyone else. He helps me branch out when I’m being stubborn and I help bring him down from the clouds when he’s being too “out there.” It sounds like we’re dating…but we’re not…he’s too short for me.

HipHopCanada: You’ve spent much of the last few years touring, and your campaign must only be amping up. How stressful do you find the tour grind?

Grieves: I love my job. I get to travel around the world and meet amazing people. It doesn’t get any better than this for me; but it does have its dark side. I’m not the biggest fan of being away from my loved ones 200 days a year. Or having to have a relationship with a woman mostly over the phone. And sometimes, dealing with super drunk rap heads can take its emotional toll. But all in all.. I wouldn’t trade any of this for anything else.

HipHopCanada: You’re from Seattle, and it’s always struck me that it has a large urban scene and urban market but remains underexposed on a national scale. How was it for you coming up in such a city?

Grieves: Seattle…throughout the years it’s provided me pretty good examples of what I do and don’t want in my  life/career. I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for my experience with this city and the culture within it, but there definitely was a time where it got to much for me and I had to take a break. I didn’t wanna compete. I just wanted to co-exist and a few years back there was a lot of people fighting for that “King of Seattle” seat. And that really threw me off. I traveled around and found myself in NYC for about a year before returning home in the August of 2010. Coming home I found that the scene had really started focusing on creating a community instead of trying to subdivide everything. And personally I think that is gonna make all the difference when it comes down to national exposure. Just you watch!

HipHopCanada: How does it feel to have your big album release release coming in your hometown June 20?

Grieves: It feels great to have my release in Seattle. I haven’t gotten to play a solid headline show here in years; due to that I’m not sure about my following out here. But I’m a believer in the idea of “if you build it, they will come.” So hopefully all that works out for me. I got friends and family here and it seems that my fan base is growing. So time will tell my friend.

HipHopCanada: What inspirations have you drawn specifically from that scene?

Grieves: I see people like the Blue Scholars and Macklemore doing amazingly well out here and puts a huge smile on my face. Does it inspire? Sure,  but more than anything it just makes me happy to see the homies working and reaching people in a positive way.

Also…I know you were gonna ask, so i just wanna go ahead and let you know. Yes, I am a gangster. And yes. I am hella hard.

HipHopCanada: We here in Vancouver are just a stones’ throw from Seattle – have you had any experiences in Vancouver, and how have you found it compares on this side of the border?

Grieves: You guys got all the hot, polite, smart and down right SEXY women. Seattle has it’s gems.. But you guys are the mine in which they spawn from! Seriously though…I’m trying to holler.

Interview conducted by Jesse Furnell for HipHopCanada


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