Interview by Nikki a.k.a. La Femme Nikita
1. Your album entitled Broakland, is this a present day symbol of
what your current situation is or is a musical metaphor?
I guess its a little of both
Broakland the place is just whatever
city Im living in at the timeIve had quite a few homes in my
short life, but I take Broakland with me everywhere I go. Its like luggage.
Most of the album was written or recorded when I was living in Oakland, so that
was the genesis. Whereas being in Broakland is a state of mind
grind, working some wack job to pay the rent, in school living off ramen and coffee,
or unemployed and drifting, wondering what the next move is, trying to fit yourself
into the system
just handling your day to day with your head up. Seeing the
humor in misfortune. Its not only about being broke.
2. Where was the name Grip Grand derived from? Are there two of you in the group?
I got the name Grip from my homie Pablo. He was the first cat I knew who started
making his own rap songs, and he inspired me to start writing more lyrics. I wrote
for a while with no name at all, but he told me I needed one, and Grip was his
MC Grip, or something like that. Dont know why
name starts with a G, but thats about it. So I took the name,
and I wrote terrible raps with it for like eight years, and no one ever heard
them. When I got slightly better and started recording, I added the Grand. I wanted
a name like Grandmaster Flash, Grandwizard Theodore
but I didnt deserve
any titles, so its just Grip Grand. And while the album features vocals
from myself and Gab Wino, really its just me. I know I should claim its
two different dudes and do a separate Gab Wino interview via 2-way or something,
but I cant front. I like the back and forth flow, some Run-DMC shit, but
I didnt know any other rappers at the time, so I had to become Gab Wino
and rap with myself.
3. Which track did you enjoy doing most? And why?
B-Day Document, Bewitched, the MPE tracks
the personal songs, the ones
for the fam, for my girl. Theyre the most difficult to write, but the most
rewarding. I think its important to tell people how you feel about them
while you can, so its an outlet for me to do that. On the Broakland tip,
though, those songs also served as gifts for people when I was too broke to buy
them something nice like they deserved. I guess that kind of takes away from the
whole thing, but hey, what can I say
4. Who are you talking about in your track MPE2000?
Thats about my best friend Matt, my brother from another mother,
if you will. Its a Ghost-and-Rae situation, like he anticipates my thoughts.
We have a mental bond, like twins.
5. Supperrapper and Stupidrapper, two very interesting tracks, can you explain
the meaning, logic behind the two songs?
Superrapper and Stupidrapper are about the difference between what rappers
say and who they are. Hip-hop is very conformist right now
a lot of rappers
lives seem to revolve around alternately going to the club and shopping for jewelry
and/or throwbacks. Thats cool and all, but I like music where the artists
personality comes through. Instead, a lot of popular songs are identical in content,
carbon copies. Superrapper is about doing the popular thing to get ahead, playing
some role instead of being yourself. Stupidrapper is similar
playing a role. Its about how dumbing it down can be the key to success,
which is tragic, but true. Rappers are these expressive, verbally gifted artists
and musicians. But in the interviews, so often its We came to represent
and keep it real, know what Im sayin? Maybe you did, but tell
me more, cuz I know you can. And the lyrics are dumbed down, too
youre in the club smoking dubs with a bottle of bub scream hell yeah?
Thats like every song now. I feel that a lot of intelligence and talent
is wasted on talking about semi-auto clip capacity and whether or not your Denali
is sitting on spinners.
here to listen to
by Grip Grand in Real Audio
6.From the album Broakland, what were you trying to reach, what message?
No message, just music - I tried to make the kind of music that I would want
to hear myself, but that I was hearing less and less of. I guess some of the songs
have a message, like Super/Stupidrapper, but its a message about
the music. Even with that, I dont want to be too preachy
show than tell. Be the change you want to see in the world. Besides, De Las
Stakes is High already said it all about what was (and still is) wrong
7. Any up comin tracks, albums, collabs with any other artists?
Im working on some stuff with DJ Design from Foreign Legion, and with
my friends from the Rec League Records fam out in Santa Cruz. Recordings exist,
but its all very preliminary. No release dates yet, but Im trying
to make things happen, while simultaneously representing and keeping it real.
8. Who is your favourite artist of all time? What or who inspired you to be who
you are today, a hip hop artist?
My favorite, based on the number of their albums that would be on my best-records-ever
list, is De La Soul. I was in junior high when 3 Feet High and Rising came
out. It made me feel like you could be an oddball and hip-hop still had room for
you. Plus, Im a tall skinny geek with glasses, so
it spoke to me.
As for inspiration, I was inspired to be an artist by just loving
the music so much that I wanted to be part of it. I always loved rap since I was
a kid, which just happened to be a golden age. How could you not be inspired by
cats like Run-DMC, Kool G Rap, Kane, Rakim, PE, EPMD, NWA
I could go on for
ages, it was all like raw genius. The best music. I had to do it. And, like I
said before, my friend Pablo inspired me, because now someone I knew could actually
rap well, so maybe I could try, too. It wasnt something you had to do in
a studio somewhere, you could just do it for yourself. Sounds stupid, but I was
like 12 at the time, so it seemed like a revelation.
9. How much say, input do you have on this album?
Do you mean creatively? Creatively, I have all the input on this album, because
I recorded it alone in my bedroom. It was done over a couple of years, and Id
just tape songs as they came to me, whenever I had something to say
just grab the nearest beat and rock it, even if it wasnt my own. There was
no plan. It wasnt meant to be an album. But eventually I had enough material
to make it into one, so I did. Strictly amateur-style. Other peoples input
could have been useful, but I didnt get any, I guess.
10. Would you say that your style of rap can be compared to any other artist
in the game?
There are other artists who have the more humorous approach, and who champion
the lo-fi sound, if thats part of my style, but it would be presumptuous
to compare myself to them, cuz theyre tight
dudes like MF Doom,
Thirstin Howl, Madlib, Edan
Count Bass D, too
he does songs for his
lady, just like me.
11. What can we expect on your next album?
Better sound quality. I love my four-track, but Im doing the next album
without it. Well see how it works out. Hopefully it wont sound
I dont know
robotic. And maybe some more pointed punchlines. Im
always trying to improve