I caught Grieves at the Mystic Theater in Petaluma, CA. I laughed on the way when we passed the Birkenstock sandals headquarters. That ain’t gangsta. When we got to the show and my wife said, “It smells like manure,” I laughed again; hell of a setting for a night of rap music. On the car ride up we’d been listening to Kendrick and YG spin tales about Compton, or “Bompton” if you will. I was a little sad to see that no one in Petaluma was “bickin’ back bein bool.” And yet, when Grieves took the stage I was transported to another world. One where hip-hop and culture are a nation without borders and there is the promise of transcendent unity in booty shaking. All it took was flow, and heart and Grieves had them in abundance.
What is the power of hip-hop? What drew you to the culture and music?
To me, hip-hop as an art form has no boundaries. I was always drawn to that. Musically, it felt like a collage of all the music I grew up on, except for the brief phase where I didn’t wear pants and only listened to hardcore German techno. I was always into music but had a problem sticking with one style. Hip-hop allowed me to put it all in one place and tell my story the way I wanna tell it. Shit saved my life.
Why do you have a skateboard on the cover of your new album, Running Wild? Did you ride that board or did you get a set designer to thrash it up for you?
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