I first saw Grieves here in my hometown Victoria in 2014. I was on assignment for a now defunct website, sent because I was the resident hip-hop guy on staff. I didn't know anything about him other than his affiliation with the legendary Rhymesayers, but I left a fan. I got home and right away I dug into Winter & The Wolves, the album he was touring at the time, and found someone with a respect for the craft of rapping – deft, nimble rapping with dense lyricism that revealed a deep intelligence and emotional knowledge. This was smart, affective rapping. But then things went pretty quiet and I heard very little from the Grieves camp until last year when he released the fucking phenomenal Running Wild. A snapshot of personal evolution, Running Wild finds Grieves' sound evolved and grown into new places while at the same time being stripped down to an ultra-personal core.
A birthday is a perfect time for a little reflection and I linked up with Grieves for a 5 Questions shortly after his 34th birthday, and he was gracious enough to let me pick his brain as to what he learned over his last complete orbit of the Earth. “The years go faster every year, it's hard to take a lesson from each one. Last year I focused more on not giving a shit about what other people expect of me and just do the things that my heart requires. It took awhile to actually do that. An album like Running Wild is definitely a prime example of me just going with what I wanted to as opposed to sticking to my same formula. It goes beyond that to the stuff I make for myself in the studio, the work that I do for others in the studio and what I'd like to release to the world in the future. Where I'm going creatively...I feel like I've been hung up trying to follow in the footsteps of what got me where I'm at as opposed to creating new roads to create new steps.” Thankfully for me, and hip-hop heads everywhere, these new steps still include releasing dope music and touring. And now, more than three years after I saw him that first time he returns to Victoria (Thursday, April 5, Capital Ballroom) in support of this record that you should definitely listen to if you haven't already. Or if you're not in Victoria, check his tour schedule and figure it out.
1. What was the first album you bought with your own money?
I actually bought three in the first go. I was mowing lawns and whatever else knucklehead kids do to get money and I bought Green Day Dookie, Offspring Smash and, for some fucking reason I don't know why, Aerosmith Get A Grip. They had a bunch of curse words and I was like, “Ooooh shit.” It was my dirty secret, that there was a bunch of cuss words. In 5th grade.
I remember I was in this camp in Chicago before I moved, I think it was called Chandler Sports Camp, and pretty much parents just dumped their kids off so they can get shit done in the summertime. There was this older camp counsellor I remember sitting with on the bus and he was like, “What do you know about Green Day? Offspring?” And he put the headphones on my head and was like, “Whaaaaat?!” It changed my perspective on cool music. I was listening to my dad's music – soul, blues and a lot of folk. I just kind of thought that's what it was. I didn't really challenge it. I didn't dislike it but I hadn't experienced something I liked for my own. Still to this day I feel like I could recite Dookie from front to back, from when I was in 5th grade.Read More