We are very excited to introduce to you the Seattle-based rapper, Grieves, who emerged in 2007 and now has made four well known, loved and listened to albums. His fourth studio album, Winter and the Wolves, will be released on March 25th and features a strong instrumental medley which forms a lovely backdrop to his singing and rapping.
Grieves is such a unique artist because of his eclectic style of music. His articulate and thought provoking lyricism is enlivened with his dynamic music and performance style. He can simultaneously make people want to sit down and absorb all the words and get a whole crowd moving to the beat. Grieve’s music is the perfect soundtrack for a heartbreak or a night of jamming alike. He has inspired us with his music and I hope he will inspire you as well.
Q. Can you tell us about your stage name ‘Grieves’, how did it come about?
There really isn’t a meaning behind it. I was young and signing up for battles. I went to put my name down and the lady was like “you can’t just use your real name”.. Still to this day I’m not sure I agree with that idea, but I was young and wanted to rap. I walked around the blocks a couple times and came back with the name that you now all know. 98-D’Grieves!
Q. How did you get into making hip hop music?
I was all about the multi tracking aspect of it all. I was a one man band and I loved it!
I started rapping when I heard 36 chambers and at some point I realized that I needed to shit or get off the pot with all that.
I ended up focusing on writing instead of just drunk free styling at parties.
The production side of things came later for me. I took the time to focus on the writing then I started honing in on my production style.
Q. How would you describe your music, in particular your latest album ‘Winter & The Wolves’?
I’ve never been the type of person to run away from a feeling. I really let that shine through in my music. If I’m feeling something I put it all out on the paper or the keyboard.
This newest record is no different in that aspect but I did approach it differently. My life was a hectic mess when I sat down to make this record and I wanted to show that without having the music sound “hectic”.
Q. What advice would you give to people wanting to develop their lyricism and performance?
Truth is everything. Whether you’re in the studio, on the stage, rapping at a bus stop, or makin YouTube videos.. Truth is king.
Too many people try to emulate what they see being “cool” and forget to focus on what works for them. Of course people are gonna be influenced by others, but I wanna see what you have to offer as an artist and as a human. I could care less about how much you can make yourself sound like you grew up in the Bronx and drop lines that don’t match up with the life you live.
Q. Do you have a writing process?
I let the music influence everything. Sometimes I have a concept ready. But most of the time I let whatever’s gonna come out, come out
Q. Who have you collaborated with, and how was it to do a collab with Mr Lif?
Working with Lif was extremely influential for me. I was at an early point in my career and showed me that my music has no limits. He inspired me to get more out of everything. I love that man.
Q. I thought your lyricism was very much like a lot of spoken word poetry, would you call your lyricism — poetry?
I mean, I guess all rapping is poetry but I wouldn’t consider myself a poet. I am a lyricist but I would wanna piss any poets off my repping their craft. I’m a dude with a head full of words and a heart full of sound.
Q. Do you know about UK hip hop culture and how would you describe the scene where you live?
I don’t know much about UK hip hop. But I’m always open to it.
The scene where I live is great. Seattle has a very healthy art and music scene. It’s nice to be surrounded by so many talented people all working together.
Q. What is important do you think when educating young people with hip hop and the arts? (in workshops etc.)
I’ve actually never done a workshop with music. I would encourage kids (or anyone one at that matter) to be themselves and to never run away from their ideas. It doesn’t have to be “Hip Hop” to be good and original. Our style of music is such a mash up of others it would be a shame to waste a good idea for the sake of being “normal”.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about growing up where you did in America? Did you notice a hip hop culture and community there, from a young age?
Where I grew up, there wasn’t really much of a Hip Hop culture/scene. I had to leave to find that.
Something about being in a new place with nothing but a dream really helped me find what I needed. I quickly found my way into Seattle’s scene and dug in with both hands. I don’t think I could have done that if I never left home.
Q. What are you upto now and in the future? What can we look forward to?
I’m gearing up to show the world my new record. It’s gonna be a busy year for me but I’m excited for the work. Whenever that clears up, I’ll be back in the studio working.
Q. What are you listening to nowadays? What tracks do we need to check out?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Mayer Hawthorne, Maktub and D’angelo. Been in a sexy mood. It’s been helping me a lot with my melody writing as well.
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