Diaz Grimm
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Diaz Grimm

Cambridge, Waikato, New Zealand | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE | AFM

Cambridge, Waikato, New Zealand | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Hip Hop EDM

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Jan
20
Diaz Grimm @ Soundsplash festival

Caloundra West, Queensland, Australia

Caloundra West, Queensland, Australia

Oct
29
Diaz Grimm @ Everybody's

Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Jan
16
Diaz Grimm @ Villa Maria Estate

Manukau, Auckland, New Zealand

Manukau, Auckland, New Zealand

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Email Chris
@chris__schulz
Chris Schulz Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.
Small town rapper Diaz Grimm has vision of future

5:00 AM Monday Jul 25, 2016
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Cambridge rapper Diaz Grimm heads into space for his second album and finds a vision for the future. He talks to Chris Schulz.
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Diaz Grimm knows Cambridge isn't a breeding ground for hip-hop superstars, but he's trying to change that.

"When I first started rapping in Cambridge, I couldn't even find people who wanted to listen to hip-hop," says the 27-year-old.

But since the release of his debut, last year's future-focused Osiris, Grimm's realised his hometown is a great base to launch a hip-hop career.

"It's a simple town but it's great in its equality. There's no good or bad area. It's very mixed. Subtle racism that exists in [bigger] cities doesn't exist in Cambridge," he says.

That realisation came after a gruelling recording process for Osiris in Auckland, where he flipped burgers during the day and wrote and recorded at night.

He headed to America for three months, performed at Texas festival South By Southwest, crashed industry events, ran into idols like Chance the Rapper and attended the Coachella music festival.

He also met rapper after struggling rapper.

Inspired, he returned to Cambridge, built a studio, and started work on 2077. Released today, it is, he says, the second of a four-album project with a futuristic sci-fi theme.

"The last album was post apocalyptic. The world's ended, and now people from Earth have gone into space and started a new civilisation," he says.

"2077 is about where they're at that point, with their new society."

It was inspired by news events that made him feel like "the end is near".

"There are a lot of terrible things happening in the world these days. I thought, why not talk about what's possible if you implement certain rules and beliefs into a new society and show people where we could end up?"

The results show Grimm is fulfilling some of the promise shown on Osiris, with woozy grinds like Foreigner and Pluto's Kurse mixing with clubby anthems B4eva and 2016AD.

The album's centrepiece, Sinse 7, is a piece of nonsensical brilliance in which Grimm acts like a hip-hop Dr Seuss across lines like: "I can do what I wanna ... shopping in my pyjamas, I could become a farmer / Riding around on my llama."

Grimm's lyrics stand out for their lack of violence and swearing - something predominant in the hip-hop art form - and there's a good reason for that.

"I don't agree with violence, I don't think it has a place anywhere," he says. "The world would be a better place if we weren't promoting guns and violence as much as we have been."

Grimm says it would be wrong to write songs about things he hadn't seen or experienced.

"I've always found it hard that I didn't rap about similar subject matters as other rappers as far as sex and violence and drugs," he says.

"Over the last year I've realised, that's me. I'm very comfortable with who I am and how I see the world.

"It would bother me if I was talking about things that weren't really about who I am."

Instead, Grimm finds himself watching sci-fi films - his favourite is The Matrix - staring up at the sky and wondering what life would be like up there.

As the hook for Sinse 7 goes: "I wish I was a navigator, flying through the stars in my spaceship." - New Zealand Herald


When you think of Hip-Hop music it’s easy to say that it’s filled with swearing, derogatory comments towards women and violence – so much violence. If this is what you are looking for with the latest Diaz Grimm release, then you will be disappointed (but it is the only thing that will disappoint you). Grimm is proud of the fact he has no swearing and violence in his music and in a recent NZ Herald interview, he says he sings about what his experiences are, how can you sing about violence if that isn’t your experience? Which is part of what makes this album so great, it’s authenticity. 2077, is the second of a four-album project with a futuristic sci-fi theme and all the instrumentation on the album is done using instruments that could be found on a space ship in 2077.

The album is a mix of club anthems and downbeat tracks which show case his vocal style. There isn’t a dud song on this album and it has been a very long time since I’ve listened to an album the whole way through, this many times, without getting sick of it or wanting to have a break and listen to something else.

This album is a journey that takes you away from your everyday life, away from the mundane and into the world of dreams, hopes and aspirations. It tells two stories, one being the story of any musician that has ever followed their heart to leave the mundane behind them and the second story, is of a human population made to leave earth with songs set in 2077. It seems like a weird mix of stories and themes but one that works well on this album of 12 songs.

By the time the third track comes in I’m imagining I’m on a packed dance floor in a hip club, somewhere like Long Room or Roxy with everyone jumping up and down all around me. The 3rd track, entitled B4eva, is one of my favourite tracks on the album and is a celebration and has a sense of ‘I’ve Made It’ featuring Stardust whose vocals bring another layer and atmosphere to the track. I can easily imagine what this track would be like performed live with the two vocal elements and the visual lighting effects that Grimm is becoming known for.

After B4eva the album takes you on a different journey, withForeigner. The tempo is different and slower with more of a heart felt vibe – this is more of a soul baring. This is the first song for me that has tugged on my heart strings and almost feels like the song was written for me. It tells of the struggles of making it in the music industry, being on tour and feeling like a foreigner in another country and wondering if you have made the right decision – to follow your dreams, while missing everyone you hold close. This is a song anyone that has ever given up their 9-5 to chase their dreams can relate to.

2016AD again talks about dreams being made and is another celebration song with a feeling of ‘look where I have come from, look where I am going’ and has a sense of ‘If I can do it, so can you’ about it. This is the second club heavy track and from the first beats of the song I want to get up on the desk in front of me and start dancing.

I could easily write over 1000 words about this album and all the different emotions it evoked in me, but my editor wouldn’t be very happy with me – especially as this is my first ‘official review’. All I can say is, if you haven’t heard this album then it is one of 2016’s must haves! Regardless of whatever genre you are ‘into’ this album has something for everyone, especially for other New Zealand artists, I think it is one we can all appreciate and be proud of. If you don’t believe me it is available for stream on Spotify so check it out and then make sure you buy it from all the normal online stores – get it, you won’t be disappointed! - Muzic.net.nz


New to the site, Diaz Grimm is an up & coming new artist from Cambridge, New Zealand who happens to be catching the attention of many record labels & tastemakers back here in the states. Fresh off the release of his impressive sophomore album 2077, which is the year the album is set to take place, we decided to give the project some light today by sharing one of its standout records “Foreigner.”

With some voice effects in play, Diaz hops on this Stuss-produced beat & delivers a dark & captivating new record that shows off his versatility. Hit play and let us know what you think of the rising emcee in the comments below. - Hotnewhiphop


Diaz Grimm doesn't muck around making an impression. With just a handful of singles to his name, the Cambridge MC kicks off his debut album with his best song yet, a walloping combination of futuristic thuds and cascading choirs that would make Kanye West cry out in envy.

It's an incredible introduction to Grimm's widescreen ambition, and though Osiris might not quite live up to its opening statement of intent, it's an impressive acheivement from a rapper still finding his feet.

It's also one that comes with a grim post-apocalyptic vision - "New Zealand, you're not ready for this war," warns Grimm - but he's mostly a super-positive presence who can deliver lines like, "I chased my dreams, now my future's looking beautiful" and, "Out with that negative living" without sounding like a complete cheeseball.

It's a refreshing outlook in a genre known for being aggressive and negative, and between the brooding standout Clouds, the festival rave fare of Isis and the grimy bounce of Quarterbacks, Osiris remains entertaining and beautifully produced throughout, with only a couple of lyrical clunkers letting the team down.

When Grimm's talent catches up with his ambition, watch out: we'll have a new rap superstar on our hands. - New Zealand Herald


By Lisa Diedricks

Released Thursday April 30th, 2015

Dubbed as New Zealand's TYGA, Diaz Grimm is hitting Aotearoa's music scene with his debut album ‘Osiris' with a hard and powerful message to all. With the motto ‘Inspire it, Create it, Share it' Cambridge rapper Grimm, now only 25, brings his subtle controversial way of laying down his thoughts, in which he calls it "not rapping just speaking the truth".

Hip-Hop fans will enjoy the lyrical creativity and truth, in this newly sparked artist, "A lot of other rappers focus on their technical skills and their wordplay ... I'm not. I'm just trying to say something." - Grimm states in an interview he did a few years ago. With just a handful of singles to his name, Grimm marks his voice on the NZ radios with a mixture of echoing choirs and futuristic bangs that makes Kanye ask Kanye who this new voice is.

The album was recorded in a very intense 10 day session and spent 7 months in production, in the Red Bull Studio here in Auckland, and although it wasn't a long progress, Grimm had a lot of songs ready to be brought to life. With countless nights he spent sitting in his car writing story after story, he finally had a place to deliver his message. The album features Grimm's latest singles ‘Light The Flame' and ‘Quarterbacks' in which he speaks his mind about the industry and his determination to break through. That's what you can expect from this album, an everyday guy speaking about what's really going on in the world and not holding back. With his familiar slang that sometimes creep in on songs, it's making a lot of kiwis proud that there is finally an artist that speaks truth, and has a flow to him that doesn't sound like your typical NZ rapper.

Grimm also introduces New Zealand listeners to local hip hop talent such as Sound Select artist Raiza Biza and YBG affiliate, Louie Knuxx, who both proudly and supportively dropped their verses on ‘Osiris'. On which Diaz states, "...you can't do a great project on your own, unless you're a perfect genius - and I don't know there are perfect geniuses out there..."

Having supported internationally known acts such as TYGA, Baauer, Twister, Rusko, and Flosstradamus to name a few, and having worked with New Zealand artists in the likes of Mt Eden, Optimus Gryme, PNC and Beat Mafia on the electronic single ‘Motivation', Diaz Grimm is proof to everyone, that hard work, dedication, and passion can take you anywhere.

The album is an intimate look into Grimm's life and perceptions on all things in this world, and although ‘Osiris' only hold 9 tracks, it's just enough insight, and an impressive one at that, in the likes of a new artist finding his feet to tell his story.

Hip Hop has grown to be known for being aggressive, negative, close-minded perception of ‘making it', or its derogatory slurs toward woman. That's why I'm very thankful for an album like this, a refreshing piece of artistic creativity that's brings a positive and truthful outlook in a genre that has slowly lost its way to what it used to be about. In songs like ‘Clouds', ‘Isis' and ‘Sunset Hour', Grimm maintains an entertaining and respectfully produced feel throughout.

Diaz is only at his beginning, I'm sure we are about to get hit a star we didn't even see coming that about to make us love NZ hip hop all over again. I've had this album on repeat for the past few days! I'm hooked! - Libel Music


Being into music is one thing, but making the conscious decision to take action and make music is a completely different story. For Diaz Grimm, recognising the importance of “spending your time in a way that’s not only enjoyable for yourself but constructive towards the progression of life in the long run”, spurred him in to action, and at 15 he started writing.

By the time he was 18 he had a mix tape ready to go, so headed off to Big Day Out 2008 armed with his tunes. He handed it out to anyone he suspected had a foot in the door, including DJ Sir Vere: “He was cool enough to get back to me with some advice, to get a proper mic and keep working at it. I listen to that same shit now and wonder why he even bothered, that was some very less-than-dope raps.”

After the initial burst of enthusiasm there was a bit of a lull for Diaz Grimm, until attending Coachella in 2012 and listening to A$AP Rocky talking about how it wasn’t long since he’d been just another kid trying to make it. “That really got to me… you think Jay Z or Yeezy started life as Jay Z and Yeezy? So I started doing whatever anyone who’s passionate about becoming something does, studied and practiced.”

Not just idle words, Diaz Grimm has been doing the hard yards, as evidenced by the numerous tracks and collabs on his soundcloud page. Completely at home with the electronic sound, Diaz Grimm is currently taking an LA-inspired feel into his flow, “I’m also loving the new single-rhyme-scheme half-bar-filling-flows in hip-hop right now.” Placed over emotive, synth-driven, bass-heavyproduction, there’s everything from classic beats through to grime and trap. In saying that, Diaz Grimm isn’t really in to genres, preferring instead to categorise music by how it makes him feel. “My new categories would be, makes me wave fingers at people like Chief Keef, gives me them deep drake feels, makes me want to spit some shit, and that sorta thing.”


Inspiration for this young rapper comes not only from other artists but by paying attention to real people: “It’s the only constant I could find when studying all the dudes who are blowing up right now. So right now I’m just trying to create what’s real to me and that’s where my music, ‘Mise en Scene’ onwards, is coming from.” But there’s also got to be inspiration, at the very least influence, on a collegial level. Working with the likes of PNC, Bulletproof, Beat Mafia, Raiza Biza and Dealt Fairly to name a few, and there are others he’s keen to approach. On the flip side he also wants to get to know himself better and grow as an artist, especially before laying down any blueprints for his next big project.


Even when collaborating, Diaz Grimm has quite a structured and definite writing process, always beginning by writing to a beat specifically. “I can’t write any words without knowing what soundscapes are going to go beneath them.” He firmly believes this leads to a true collaborative piece made by two minds, rather than just two separate individual creations forced together. And he expects being based in Auckland this year to have a positive affect on this process, enabling him to do more face to face studio work with producers.

But all the rest aside, it’s as a live performer Diaz Grimm really shines. With a bombastic stage presence, tight rhymes and enough oomph to put a battalion of energizer bunnies to shame, Diaz Grimm is a veritable dynamo on stage. “I just love playing tracks I really feel on LOUD sound systems, and letting myself get lost in it.” Plenty of other people seem to love him playing tracks too, coming straight from a busy period of gigs (including support for Mt Eden Dubstep’s tour) and festivals, including RnV. “I managed to score a slot that started in daylight, saw the sky turn orange and finished in the dark of night.” Slightly concerned about energy expenditure I was reassured to learn his personal trainer girlfriend’s helped ensure he can last an entire set at maximum intensity, without having heart failure afterwards.

2014 is sure to be a big year for Diaz Grimm and while there are assurances of, “a lot more official shit; funded videos, radio play, etc” the specifics are a little bit wait and see. Explaining that knowing what goals to aim for is a skill in itself he goes on to add, “I can’t name my goals specifically or it’d be like a chef giving out the secret recipe.” Fair call Colonel! - RipItUp


It's just past 1pm on Sunday the 8th of March. We're inside the Jim Beam Homegrown Festival's 1,500 person Red Bull Sound Lab tent on Wellington's waterfront. A small-but-loyal crowd is gathered to kick their festival day off with Auckland hip-hop artists Diaz Grimm, Spycc, INF and PNC. Bathed in purple light, Diaz, a hardworking internet era rapper and DJ, strolls on stage and cues up some bassy modern trap music before introducing himself to the crowd. It's his first time at Homegrown, and he's hoping to make it count.

Diaz runs through a selection of songs old and new. When he isn't previewing songs off his new album, relaxed and breezy Onehunga boys Spycc and INF (of SWIDT), and practiced New Zealand veteran PNC run out and perform mini sets within his showcase. Diaz's style sits somewhere between inspirational life coach and young post-A$AP Mobb swag merchant. He pedals chopped and screwed hooks, thumping EDM informed beats, and lyrics and crowd chants centered around motivation. If it feels cheesy at points, it also feels endearing. - Redbull.com


Diaz Grimm
Interview

Diaz Grimm. You may not know the name yet, but you should. Diaz Grimm has just dropped his debut album Osiris and is now headed on his first New Zealand tour. Following a sold-out show in Hamilton, Grimm is heading our way for the second show of the tour this Thursday.

Critic: First up, tell us a little about yourself. And what was the first album you ever purchased?

Grimm: Yo! So I guess an easy intro for those that don’t know me, my name’s Diaz Grimm and I’m on a mission to create a career for myself as a creative. I think the first album I can really remember purchasing would have been Gorillaz’ self-titled album in around 2000/2001. I remember having a lot of CDs before then, but as far as actually purchasing it myself, I’m pretty sure that’s the one.

Critic: You’ve teamed up with electronic artists ranging from CTFD, Beat Mafia and Mount Eden. How do you think they complement your style?

Grimm: I think because I got into DJing in such a big way, I became a big fan of electronic music. I originally really wanted to see my favourite rappers start collaborating with my favourite electronic producers. For me, rapping on more electronic-styled soundscapes just felt a bit more natural. I think more importantly than the sound, the fact that CTFD, Beat Mafia and Mt Eden are all just good dudes was the real reason we managed to complement each other’s creations.

Critic: I see in the New Zealand hip hop scene there is a huge willingness to collaborate, and you yourself have numerous artists. What do you put that willingness down to?

Grimm: New Zealand right now is in this great place where working together has became common sense. I think, back in the day, Kiwis were a bit more hostile towards others trying to chase the same dreams as there may have been a competitive vibe surrounding the scene. Nowadays, I think New Zealanders are constantly impressing each other with what they’re creating, and everyone wants to merge what they’re doing with others.

It’s a hard country to be a creative in as far as reaching as many people as you can, and I think everyone now knows collaborating and helping each other is the quickest means of spreading what you’re doing.

Critic: You are based out of Cambridge. Is there much of a hip hop following out there? Do you find it hard coming up from a small place?

Grimm: I’m actually up in the big smoke now. I’m from Cambridge but figured the place to be as a creative right now is Auckland. Cambridge never really had any hip hop following. When I first decided to start giving rapping a go, there were a couple of guys that liked the idea of it as well and we used to meet up for writing sessions, etc, but when there’s only 16,000 people, it’s hard to get much of a scene going for anything.

Critic: Your debut album is named Osiris, after the Egyptian god. What was the idea behind the title?

Grimm: Osiris was supposedly the god of life, death and rebirth. I really attempted to re-birth old ideas that to me seem to be common sense, yet I don’t hear much in music at the moment. Ideas like, you can do anything you want, be kind to other people and things will get better if you help others and work hard, etc. At one point in time, whether hip hop was dead or not was such a huge topic for discussion, and I’d like to think that regardless of what you thought, Osiris is the rebirth of the culture.

Critic: What’s up next for you?

Grimm: We’re about to release the official video for “Quarterbacks”, which I’ll hopefully have ready to show Dunedin when we come down. I’ve also begun work on the next album, 2077.

To anyone that’s supported me so far, I appreciate the support more than you know.

Be sure to catch Diaz Grimm performing on the As Osiris Burns Tour this Thursday at Refuel. - Critic


Discography

Diaz Grimm - 2077 (Sophomore Album) - 2016

Diaz Grimm - Osiris (Debut Album) - 2015
Beat Mafia & Diaz Grimm - Motivation (Single) - 2014

Diaz Grimm & Junior Voyage - Light the Flame (Single) - 2014
Diaz Grimm & Jay Knight - New Religion EP - 2013
Diaz Grimm - Sunlight Series EP - 2012
Diaz Grimm - Lifetimes & Lifelines EP - 2012

Photos

Bio

Cambridge, New Zealand rapper Diaz Grimm has had quite a journey over the past year. 

In 2015, Diaz Grimm released his debut album 'Osiris' a soundtrack to the end of the world. A post-apocalyptic sonic journey that saw Diaz nominated for hiphop album of the year at the New Zealand music awards. The album topped the NZ Itunes hiphop charts, reached the official NZ top20 album charts, became the most upvoted self-posted album in the history of the Reddit/hiphopheads forum and saw Diaz become the first self-managed, unsigned artist from New Zealand to ever be invited to play SXSW. 

With help from a public crowd funding campaign Diaz Grimm made it to Austin, Texas for SXSW2016 where he began a three month journey alone around America hoping to build his knowledge and network in the music industry. During the trip Grimm met the likes of Chance the rapper, A$AP Rocky, Alan Kingdom and was invited to meet with major hiphop blog, HotNewHipHop. All meetings that would create the foundations for Diaz's second project and sophomore album '2077'.

After returning home from his trip Diaz finished and released his sophomore album '2077'. A follow up soundtrack to 'Osiris' set in a Noah's ark type spaceship that has left a destroyed earth with the last of humanity. The album is set three generations into living inside the vessel in the year 2077. A culture in which intolerance, inequality and other issues being faced today have been abolished. 

2077 has received rave reviews and has found it's way into international territories. 

Early 2017 Diaz Grimm will be making the move to Toronto to continue his musical journey.