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"Grieves hits with “Emotional Mix-Tape”"

On “Irreversible,” the title track off his first full-length album, Seattle MC Grieves raps about watching his grandfather play the piano, dropping the line “Some people paint with their music.” While it is an ode to the ability of his grandfather’s fingers, it could just as aptly describe what Grieves does with his mic.

The 22-year-old has that rare ability to produce lyrics with a visual effect. Whether he’s telling the story of a suicidal teenager or arguing with a phantom female about religion, Grieves puts you in the room by rapping with such honest, raw emotion that you can’t help but feel like he’s confessing to you.

And he just may be. Despite coming from a musical background and playing in punk bands during his teenage years, Grieves seems to have found his musical release in hip-hop.

“I could do [hip-hop] well,” says Grieves. “I found a lot of freedom in it.”

Currently touring in the Midwest with Mac Lethal and Atmosphere, Grieves is lightly known in the Seattle scene. That may be due in part to the fact that he left town for a tour just days after releasing his latest mix-tape, “Irreversible.”

However, that should change once he returns. Grieves posseses the kind of style Seattle fans eat up. He is intelligent, musical, and self-conscious. For the city that loves vulnerability, Grieves could be the poster boy. Without ever having met him, one could know his religious affiliation, the nature of his past relationships and the make up of his childhood after just one listen to “Irreversible.”

“The album is like an emotional mix-tape to me,” says Grieves.

That description seems accurate, but Grieves also opens up to whoever will listen, unleashing a funny side that reflects his early punk influences. On tracks like “Last Call” and “My Girlfriend Beats Me,” Grieves shows that he is quite capable of having a good time.

Grieves is at his best on the cheeky and hilariously clever “Capitol Hill Girls,” which comments on the gender-crossing styles of those in the neighborhood. The beat is like a cocaine-inspired techno/rap mix, with samples from an Irish punk band on the hook.

However, the true treat is listening to Grieves tell stories. His album should best be enjoyed in a quiet room with a cheap bottle of whiskey and a Swisher filled with alternative contents. His musical background shines through his ability to form a cohesive song from start to finish, an art form that seems to hopelessly elude most hip-hop artists.

Part of his ability to make a thoroughly pleasing song lies in the fact that Grieves makes most of his own beats. This way he controls the mood from the start. When he uses his surprising baritone to sing his hooks, you get the feeling he planned on doing so from the first steps of production. Grieves’ production is sharp, but limited, something he claims is intentional.

“The beats I make…I guess it’s symmetry in my music,” says Grieves.

Not surprisingly, Grieves was not always into hip-hop music, and still has a somewhat limited catalog of favorite artists. But what seems like a detriment on the surface could in fact be his greatest asset. While, like any rapper who comes close to being emotional, he will draw comparisons to Atmosphere, Grieves stands to few hip-hop stereotypes. Simply put, he probably sounds like nothing you’re listening to right now.

“There’s just always been so much for me outside of hip-hop,” says Grieves. “I’ve been listening and playing so many different kinds of music since I was a kid.”

His album can drag as it carries along. When he’s not telling stories, Grieves is long on self-reflection of the darkest kind. Remember that cheap bottle of whiskey? This is where it comes in handy, as some of the songs have the same depressing effect as the alcohol.

“Bottom of the Bottle” is his best foray into the dark side, a haunting track where Grieves laments the alcoholism that seems to have surrounded his early life. On a sobering beat, Grieves raps a haunting hook about how the bottle does not get rid of your inner demons. While it’s impressive music, the whiskey moments can be a bit much, making you savor the calming effect of the Swisher side of the album.

Hoping for a good reception when he returns to Seattle, Grieves is a breath of refreshing air for the Seattle hip-hop scene. While others are quick to talk about the effects of their music or how they plan to blow up in the future, Grieves is simply enjoying doing what he does best.

“In five years, hopefully I could still be doing this,” says Grieves. “It’s everyone’s dream to be subsistent on their art.” - The Spectator Online, 2007

"His Grievances are Communal"

We're going to say something, Master Grieves, and we ask that you take it like a grain of salt or sugar or a dash of pepper and do not take it for our real impressions or feelings. This comment will simply be used as a jumping off point, a lede that banters more with exaggeration and a table-setting than anything we would ever legitimately think about you. It's all an act and as we learned this week from a Gordon Lish interview, "There is no realm wherein we have the truth. All endeavor is an act…Oh, there is one exception, City Bakery's peanut butter cookies. On the other hand, a baker baking is an act."

This is just an act and we've got the student volunteers constructing sloppily painted and nailed together backdrops of streets and lampposts and more than enough shadows to supply a twilight in the city, not to mention a half dozen fog machines to make this shit stunning. It's a cosmetic job and here it goes: Grieves looks like that punk ass kid who's always about to say something crass about a pretty girl and who probably started smoking when he was eight, just because it was what the old man did. He looks like he'd have a smart remark for any act of kindness and also like he knows more about NWA and mixtapes than you or I ever will.

Frankly, he just looks like a scrawny kid with a lip ring who wants to be a rapper - just a saggy trousered imposter. These are all likely implications that Marshall Bruce Mathers had to answer for back on the 8th Mile in Detroit when he was growing up and just trying to become the expressive artist he eventually became. As it is though, we like the way that Grieves dresses (and would ask to borrow some of them if we thought he'd let us) and we think that he's the real deal because those superficialities are shallow and only cloud the real facts and those are that this Seattlite - a crony of the Doomtree and Mac Lethal camps of clever lyricists, smart eggs and pranksters - has shown dependable strength on record with his latest 88 Keys and Counting, an album that has four or five bonafide banging hit singles for the mainstream crowd, not just the indies.

It's a very swirled, Neapolitan ice cream sort of sound that Grieves goes for, bringing in many disjointed elements and influences that range from George Clinton's deep-throated goofiness at times on "October in the Graveyard," to Ice Cube-type flow, to Alkaline Trio black eyeliner, gothic punk rock tones, to the romantic side of the coin. It's a mutt of a sound, but he's showing himself to not only have improved his lyrical game, but also to have beefed up his musical chops by doing away with the majority of samples that he previously relied on for homemade music that he used his own hands to make. It turns out that he's really good at it and hearing him talk about it with the kind of perkiness of a kid who just learned how to ride a bike without training wheels tells us that his work is only going to get better.

The themes that bring into play demons and devils and vices that tend to get the better of people are what he does best and he's convincing as a kid who's been drunk a lot, as well as a kid who likes his recreational pot smoking. He's convincing as a guy who learning how to avoid trouble by having gotten into it and how to avoid pessimism and depression by getting slung through that mess, taking a face plant into it a time or two and just hitting the showers to get it all off. But while he's in the shower, he's turning over the frustrations of it all - of the reason he's cleaning all of that shit off - and out it comes from the mouth and tongue, words that encapsulate his grievances, giving them a better covering, something that can be put to use. Something that will get a guy respected, not flipped off. Something that will get a guy the girls, not ignored. - The Daytrotter

"Ask Grieves!"

Any other skills besides rockin' the mic and provoking the ladies on stage?
hell yes! despite my toothpick appearance..i love food. so i've developed quite the skills in culinary yum yums over the years. that and i worked in kitchens for my whole life.... other than that... i'm pretty accurate with a javelin, i can hold my breath for like a minute and 30 seconds, i can out run murder dice.

The first time I heard you my initial thought was that you had an atmosphere esque style. How do you feel about that comparison?
no.. i've never been to space.. i heard the russians used to send monkeys up there...

You say on your myspace page that you like "missing punches". Explain.
i got drunk, the hippie talked shit, i missed the punch, we all laughed, he may have been an alien... may have...

If you could choose a character from the movie Office Space, who would you say fits you best?
i'm not old enough to see r rated movies... but if i had to guess.. i'd say i'd be simba.

Having lived in Seattle, what do you think about the Sonics moving to Oklahoma City?
who gives a shit?

I heard through your myspace page that you're moving to San Diego. Why the change of scenery?
i'm going down there to spend some time saving beached manatee's.. that and i like the sun.. and.. my roommates in seattle smell like smoked meat and moth balls.

Blonde's or brunettes?
both at the same time...

Scar Gardens is my favorite song of yours and I'm guessing it's about an ex. Does she know the songs about her?
oh she knows...

Ren or Stimpy?
did you know whales can grow to be a 100 years old?

What's your favorite cartoon from the 90's?
barbra walters

Ever been so drunk that it made performing hard (referring to performing on stage)?
every single fucking time...

If you were a male stripper, what would your stage name be?
david copafeel

What's your take on the DH and astro turf?
if there's grass on the field play ball.

What's your biggest personality flaw?
i get nervous when people watch me eat..

Out of all the things you own, whats your most prized possession?
my Michael jordan rookie card.. covered in syrup.. i'm serious.

You just recently were on tour, what's the best story you took home with you?
cinco de mayo.. i did a shot for every song on stage.. blacked out.. got in a fight with a lesbian crip who kept calling me fag... and almost got arrested at the airport for stealing the wheel chair and doing wheelies in it.

Your first name is Ben, your rap name is Grieves, being from the Bay Area I remember a guy who's name was Ben Grieve that played for the Oakland A's. I'm guessing thats where the name Grieves came from. Why Ben Grieve?
because everything that isn't can't be! and everything that is can't not be! i don't watch baseball.

After the interview was over me and Grieves exchanged a couple more emails and maybe one too many "I love yous". We promised each other that we'd hang out when he's touring through Salt Lake City. Grieves added, "nothin says fun like 3.2 beer and flat chested emo chicks!... just kidding", the only problem is, I don't live in Salt Lake and I'm pretty sure Grieves knows this. The jokes don't stop with this guy and I'm sure it'll be one of the many reason we'll all be talking about Grieves for days to come. Also be sure to check out Grieves on his myspace page and buy his new cd "88 Keys and Counting" when it comes out November 12th. - Rail Road Hip Hop:

"Underground 9 Overview"

This album incredibly reminds me of Blu & Exile's '07 album "Below The Heavens", two unknown artists teamed up to craft an amazing mixture of rich beats, unique rapping style and honest lyrics.
Take out the instrumentals and you're left with 11 songs, 2 of which have no rapping in it, that's right, Grieves sings and he's damn good at it too. "October In The Graveyard" is one of the two, took me a while to appreciate it but the beautiful beat and deep harmonizing made it into one of my favorites.
This is a very unique release, Grieves is nothing like what we're used to hear, starting from his weird persona and geeky looks to what you would consider immature acting, but he doesn't try to be what he's not, his lyrics express that, and he does well in approaching this subject in the laid back "Identity Cards".
No need to look for highlights in this album, there's no fillers nor bad songs, my favorite is the dark lullaby "Kings", amazing beat wrapped in the abstract lyrics. I just love the mature metaphors, the meaningful subjects, the visuals he describes, this album is definitely my favorite of 2008, it has everything I could ever ask for.
The piano has 88 keys and each key differs in sound, Grieves and Budo managed to expand into more than just that, it's uniqueness is what makes "88 Keys & Counting" a classic. - Underground9

"Grieves - Irreversible"

The city of Seattle keeps slowly but surely changing its tune and becoming more and more of a hot bed for underground hip-hop. Many new artists have lit a spark in the scene with the goal of taking it from the local to the national (and even international) level. Grieves is one such artist and his 18-song debut is a wonderful showcase of a new talent emerging from the Emerald City streets.

Irreversible opens strongly with “Fly Away,” a groove-laden song with sampled horns that seem to mark the arrival of the new artist. “Unedible” is up next and leads with a bit of melancholy guitar work before the main beat kicks in. What becomes immediately apparent is Grieves’ natural rapping ability. His deep voice and dead-on delivery easily bring out the subtly bleak nuances of each song. This holds especially true for “Bottom of the Bottle” in which he sings, “All your demons / Are gonna get you” over a harmonic keyboard melody that floats below. However, “Capital Hill Girls” happens to be the strangest song on the album and showcases Grieves almost bizarre sense of humor. In it, we find Grieves singing in a British Cockney accent over a Euro-disco beat about guys who look like girls and vice versa. The humor of the song may be partially lost on those who don’t live in Seattle and recognize the local reference, but just listening to the lyrics is enough to provoke a snicker: “You have long hair and yours is short but coke is what both of you snort / Your pants are loose your pants are tight you both don’t eat and you’re both white / But I can’t tell you apart / No I can’t tell you apart.”

Irreversible is a well-crafted and produced album that was obviously made by an artist who wants to have and keep a career within the hip-hop community. Grieves demands respect for the degree to which he pulls off highly introspective lyrics with so much raw emotion. He also makes music that is refreshingly original, fun to listen to and very melodic. (Self-released)

-Casey P. O’Neill - PerformerMag

"Hip-Hop in Fort Collins Redefined"

Is hip-hop in Fort Collins docile? While we have our fair share of talented hip-hop artists, is hip-hop being slowly tucked away into the shadows of our perception? You would be hard pressed to find a young adult in Fort Collins without any hip-hop in their music collection. However, hip-hop certainly isn’t the musical standard of Fort Collins. There aren’t nearly as many hip-hop shows in town as other genres and the caliber of hip-hop promotion tends to get outshined by bigger acts.

Even so, local hip-hop guru, Ben Laub (Grieves), redefines the genre with a spectacular array of rhythm and lyrical brilliance. What is it that separates Grieves from the rest of the flock? It could be the positive, optimistic attitude of his music. Tracks like “State of the Mind” unburden the usual unpleasant realities to which we have all become victim, while having a plethora of headphone candy to which you can’t help but bob your head. When asked what drives him to make such enthusiastic music, Grieves exclaims, “Hip-hop has a great feel,
to me that’s what hip-hop has always been.”

With the negative stigma rap and hip-hop sometimes carry, it’s a treat to see someone not pointing fingers, but rather being constructive with their musical talent.
“Hip hop has gotta breathe to man! It’s not all about graffiti, violence and destroying shit”, Grieves says. “My dad used to take me to jazz clubs when I was a kid”, he says, “Music has always been a very important part of my life; it’s always been something I can retreat to. I think that I get a lot of influence from stuff that surrounds me. The music I was making here [Fort Collins] versus the music I was making in Seattle is different, and then when we went on tour this summer, every new place we went was completely different, and it was nice to be able to soak all that up, and put it out.”

Where will Grieves be in the next five years?

Man, probably still slaving my ass away in a kitchen, probably still paying rent. But hopefully Ill be a lot more developed in my music, Grieves says, I’m definitely going to go on tour again. Try and do the same thing as last time, but not so hardcore that I lose all my money! I love playing in Fort Collins, man. I think the hip-hop scene here is good, Grieves says. It’s a bit dormant, but a lot of people out here make pretty positive music. It would be nice to see a few more people coming out to make an effort at hip-hop. I keep my information on the back of the CD, so if you want to email me, Id love to hear you’re feedback. Anything, I love hearing it.

Grieves says, regarding his recent CD, Every Hell Has Its Springtime. You can purchase his CD at the Finest Records at Elizabeth & Shields in Fort Collins.
- Scene Magazine, 2005

"Hiphop Ya Don't Stop"

Grieves has quietly built a following and an extended fam of MCs, DJs, and producers around his Queen Anne studio, the Robot Room. Since relocating to Seattle from Colorado (via Olympia), he's been DIY full time, from pressing up his self-produced EPs to catching the ear of ex-KEXP DJ Lisa Wood to promoting his own night at Vito's to setting up his own tours.

Irreversible is Grieves's first long-player, and he thankfully jumps right into it with the rowdy "Knucklehead"-flipping track "Fly Away." Just as before, he mostly goes for dolo, but he gets assists on the boards from P Smoov, Captain Midnite, Murder Dice, and Nick Rapp, and assists in the booth from his homies Typecast, Rik Rude, Symmetry, and even Def Jux soldier Mr. Lif (who chimes in on the title track). Grieves's disarming charisma and flow float his signature new-jack emo swang: self-image, self-abuse, relationships, family—it's all there, just far better executed than the hordes of bedroom MCs/producers who pose as fans these days. The beats are sparse, funereal, and tinged with electronic elements; the prevailing vibe is slow, woozy, and meditative, occasionally punctuated by bursts of bug-out humor. The Anglo-electro pop of the Blur/Pet Shop Boys—inspired "Capitol Hill Girls (That Look Like Capitol Hill Boys)" is hilariously tailor-made for its namesakes. Goofy humor being so damn rare in our scene, it really might be my favorite track... I can just see a clubful of star-tattoo types spazzing to it, generating an irony overload that could forever rip the space-time continuum asunder.

Irreversible is a great step out, a great addition to the Class of '07 catalog, and a great fuck you to all the bouncers who will no doubt be carding Grieves till he's 60. Young-looking mufucka! - The Stranger, 2007

"NextNC's Conversation with Grieves"

Ben Laub knows there’s more to hip hop than drugs, booze, hos and bling. Even though he has seen all that, he’s more interested in the positive hip-hop community.

“Hip hop is a very egotistical art form,” Laub said. “It’s almost sad. That negative stigma is projected hard onto it.”

The 23-year-old hip-hop artist could have ended up with a lengthy criminal record or behind bars, like other rappers, but he didn’t. Instead he has made a name for himself in the underground music scene in Seattle.

Grieves, as he is known by his fans, got his start by battling in Fort Collins at the Aggie and the Starlight, now Hodi’s Half Note. He’ll be back in town for an album release party Aug. 16 at the Aggie Theatre. His full-length CD, “Irreversible,” packs emotion, talent, tragedy and strength into a raw and powerful sound.

“Everything is very heartfelt,” he said.

Laub doesn’t have to dig too far into his psyche to find the emotions he puts into his songs.

He was adopted, and though he calls his parents “the greatest parents in the world,” he somehow fell off track.

“I got into drugs and was kicked out of school,” he said.

At the age of 15, he was selling cocaine and pot and was sent to a rehab center.

“Basically, no one thought I would turn myself around,” Laub said. “I was going down the drain. My parents had watched the same thing happen to my older sister, only worse. My parents were losing their kids.”

His sister’s addiction and troubles had a powerful impact on him. He didn’t want to follow the same path.

He enrolled at Centennial High School, an alternative school in Fort Collins, which turned his life around.

“I thrived off of the atmosphere,” Laub said. “Everyone was so supportive.”

After graduation, Laub knew he needed a change. He and his girlfriend had broken up, and she would be going off to college. He feared if he stayed in Fort Collins, he’d be here forever. So, he packed up his Toyota Celica and drove to Seattle where we would spend the next two months in an apartment writing music.

“I dropped myself in a foreign land,” Laub said. “I had to fight real hard.”

Laub was born in Chicago and remembers his dad’s huge record collection of folk, blues and soul. He also remembers going down to the blues clubs in Chicago with his dad at an early age.

That planted the seed for what “Grieves” has become.

Laub hasn’t touched drugs since getting out of rehab and said he has found an amazing hip-hop culture.

“People aren’t just about running around shooting each other drinking crystal and having sex with each other,” he said.

Instead, his substance is found in his lyrics and rhymes.

“I make rap music, but don’t you dare put it past me to blow your mind,” Laub said.
- NextNC, 2007

"Where did THAT come from?"

Oct. 9 - For a moment, Seattle MCs Grieves & Type make the internet feel worthwhile with a video for the song called "My Girlfriend Beats Me." Then everything goes back to normal.

The Line: I look fucked up cause my girlfriend beats me"

The Context: An early peek at an album set for January release, this track pits the two Seattle MCs as victims of abuse, via their girlfriends. The video, which was directed by Griff J and released to the Internet on Oct. 6, shows Grieves and Type in a support group with a cadre of other Seattle MCs. They relate their plight over an expert beat ... and then they cry. To see the video, go to

Grieves: Type and I are best friends. Beyond any music or business shit. So our songs tend to come out like the jokes or fucked up conversations you might have in your living room with your homies after a case of beer and a pack of cigarettes. Which, to be quite honest, is how the song came about... Type and I went home to our house and put a couple beers back with some friends. Eventually the beat CD came out and into the stereo. Type started writing, I started drunk singing (you know, in that fake-ass James Brown-Al Green-Dave Chappelle voice). I meant to say my girlfriend hates me, 'cause I'm really just an emo bitch. But "hits me" jumped out of my mouth. Everybody started laughing at me role playing the character of this hard ass dude who gets hit by his lady. So we took it into a rap song. With the hook that's all like "I look fucked up' causes my girlfriend beats me" all lound and in your face. I don't give a shit. I think it's funny. - Seattle Sound Magazine, 2007

"Grilling with Grieves"

Atmosphere, it’s just a ten letter word, but within that word lies the power to make people throw their hands toward it if the letters that make up your own name happen to be on the same tour. The Everybody Loves A Clown Tour, headlined by underground duo Slug and Ant, better known as Atmosphere, has been going from city to city across the country killing shows wherever they go. Amongst the more established artists on this tour like Mac Lethal, Luckyiam of the Living Legends, and Seattle’s own Grayskul, is one of Seattle’s fastest rising emcees.

With his freshly released album titled “Irreversible,” featuring Def Jux recording artist Mr. Lif on his song by the same name, Grieves has been on the grind heavily armed with free CDs to pass out to anyone and everyone along the way. Despite the chaos and crazy times of life on the road, we caught up with Grieves in Las Vegas for this exclusive one on one phone interview. If you haven’t heard his name before, you definitely won’t want to forget it now.

Oneso: In your own words, could you introduce yourself to our readers and let them get a little idea of who you are?

Grieves: I’m a Northwest artist. I’m not from the Northwest, but that’s where I stay right now. I’m just kind of working right now, like everybody else. I’m 23 years old. I was living in downtown Seattle, but me and my girl just broke up so technically now when I get back I got to get a new apartment. My studio’s right there too, called Robot Room, across the street from the Space Needle. I do all my work out of there. I also work with a lot of local cats out of there too.

Oneso: Where were you living before Seattle? What events lead you to where you’re at now?

Grieves: I was born and raised in Chicago, and then moved to Colorado in sixth grade. When I was a little kid I used to battle a lot. That’s how I basically got started. I started battling when I was like sixteen, battling all over the place like Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs…. Then I came to Seattle, kind of wanting to put this place on the map, and here I am.

Oneso: What about Seattle specifically drew you to move here?

Grieves: I moved to Seattle ‘cause I got signed. Started working with 7 Hill Records, and then they went out of business. I was like, “Fuck that,” so I went to school for music, at Shoreline actually, and started my own shit. I started my own little movement around town, which is now starting to be one of the bigger ones. I’m completely self-operated; I have no one behind me except for myself, and you know, the community.

Oneso: Is being a musician your main profession right now, or do you have another job on the side?

Grieves: I’m a cook actually… my good buddy bought [a]restaurant out awhile ago and I work for him. I went on tour with Nocturnal Rage for like two months or something like that, and they ended up screwing me over, taking a lot of money from me. When I got back, he engineered my album, and when I got back he was like, “Yo fuck these guys. I’m buying a restaurant. If you want you can come work for me.” I’ve been there for three years now.

Oneso: Wow, a cook and a Hip-hop artist?

Grieves: I’m a strong advocate of hard work man. Doesn’t matter where you are as long as you are where you’re at as a person and in your mind, you know? I think that you can create wherever you are…as long as you’re happy you know… as long as you got something that makes you happy.

Oneso: Speaking of being happy, tell us more about the name. Did you always go by Grieves?

Grieves: I used to always just go by Ben. I never really cared or anything like that, and one day this girl was like, “You don’t have a stage name? You should get a stage name….” So I walked around for a little bit, and at that time I used to think that I could write graffiti, but I really couldn’t at all. [Laughs] And I wrote “Grieve.” It’s just kind of what happened, rolls off the tongue nice.

Oneso: Does your name reflect the kind of music you make?

Grieves: I wouldn’t want to say my music is depressing, but it has a lot of emotions. I wouldn’t say the name represents me like 100% as an artist, like “Oh look at this little sad dude….” It just kind of worked out that way.

Oneso: Personally what kind of music do you listen to? Who influenced you while growing up both in and outside of Hip-hop?

Grieves: Hip-hop is beautiful man, I love Hip-hop, but I’m a musician when it comes down to heart, you know? I get my influences from all over the place, from Brian Wilson all the way to like Paul McCartney. Hip-hop wise, shit, I love Wu-Tang man. Growing up, as an influence to me, they definitely put the stone in me a little bit. Personally I’ll never stop listening to Slum Village. Ever. I’ll never stop listening to that shit, I think that is like, [Pauses] beautiful.

Oneso: Just to get a little more personal, what kind of other things did you have going on before pursuing your passion of music? Or even while pursuing it? I heard from somewhere you have a skating background.

Grieves: I had one. I was sponsored by Matix and Lakai, two top dogs in the skate game, but an unfortunate turn of events happened. My rep ended up quitting his job to do a little soul searching and shit I guess, and technically I’m not sponsored by them anymore. My homie Adam rides for Zoo York, DVS, and Lakai so I know a lot of those dudes… I was never a pro skater, but I used to snowboard. I grew up in that culture, snowboarding as a kid, and I used to compete.

Oneso: We know that your time with 7 Hill Records was unfortunately cut short, you lost a lot of money on a tour you’ve done earlier in your music career with another Seattle artist, and now we’ve learned a little about your other interests. Seeing the dream fall through for 7 Hill, and being left by your rep that went searching for his, are there any other dreams you left behind to move forward with your music?

Grieves: If I would’ve stuck with [skating], I think maybe I could’ve gotten better and maybe have officially gone pro. I don’t know…. I went to school to be a teacher too for a little bit. For about a year I went to school for education.

Oneso: When did you first get interested in teaching? Any specific reason why?

Grieves: Growing up… not going to really get into the whole story, but family wasn’t all the best and was kind of lost a little bit at that point in time. There’s a reference to it on my album if you want to learn more about it, but I had a hard time. I ended up getting kicked out of public school districts and got into an alternative high school. The people there literally saved my life. The respect that came from that was completely amazing, so I ran right off there like, “I’m going to go be a teacher.” I wanted to do what these people did for me for somebody else.

Oneso: When talking to other artists about passion and education, education ultimately meaning a “successful” career in the future, I’m under the impression they’re often told to focus on education and pursue passions on the side, as a hobby. Did you have any problems trying to find a balance?

Grieves: I was actually teaching kindergarten through fourth grade at that time, but I ended up dropping out of school…. I took off to tour, and when I got back I needed to put my eggs all in one basket is how I felt. I didn’t want to half-ass anything. I don’t want to be a half-assed teacher. I don’t want to be a half-assed musician.

Oneso: Between moving the children and moving the crowd, how did you choose which basket to fill?

Grieves: At that point in time I felt that music is a bit more prospective. It’s different. The rush that you get from being on stage, all that stuff, is crazy to me. Like touring with Atmosphere, I’m touring with Atmosphere right now. That’s crazy. [Slug] is another one of my influences. I used to listen to him all the time as a kid, all the fucking time I’d listen to his records, and now I’m on tour with him.

Oneso: That’s got to be an unbelievable feeling. Have you been lucky enough to work with other artists that you look up to, or looked up to when you were younger?

Grieves: Growing up I used to idolize the Living Legends ‘cause those guys would come to town and fuck shit up…. Now I’m in the van with Luckyiam every day partying. I get drunk with Luckyiam. I go to clubs and dance with girls with Luckyiam… saves me from getting my ass beat in the small mid-western towns. And I used to watch Mac Lethal all the time on the Scribble Jams and shit, like 2002 and 2003, all that. Mac Lethal was the shit to me. Mac Lethal just bought me my plane ticket out of Vegas into Tucson, and he’s going to put my next record out on his label, Black Clover…. I’m still having an amazing time. If it wasn’t for music, I don’t think I’d be able to have that sort of joy.

Oneso: Let’s talk more about the tour you’re on. Give us a breakdown of a typical day for you.

Grieves: We have a 15 passenger van, we travel during the day and work at night, you know? I do a lot, like I handle most of the business for the hotels and stuff like that, and a lot of the book keeping and receipts for like gas for the van.

Oneso: So it’s not just shows, you do a lot of behind the scenes work too. What about the show itself? What can someone expect to see from the Everybody Loves A Clown Tour?

Grieves: Whoever goes on before Atmosphere changes… sometimes it’s me and Grayskul and sometimes it’s Mac Lethal. The show starts… DJ Sku will spin for about an hour to get the crowd hyped up. Then Lucky comes on for 10 minutes, and the first act comes on, which is either, you know, Mac Lethal or Grayskul. Then Lucky comes on again. I’m always walking around trying to feel the crowd out…. I printed out like 1,000 free CDs, just a sampler of my album. I try to give those out to everybody that I can. I’m out there dude, I don’t kick it in the green room… my face is out there… this is my chance to be personable and meet new fans, and it’s working really well for me right now.

Oneso: What do you hope to do with all the experience you’re gaining from being on this tour?

Grieves: I can bring a lot of that home with me when I return, you know? When I go back out again I can take someone from the Northwest with me, and we can do something. It’s not about me at all… I mean, yeah it is about me ‘cause it’s about my career too, and I’m trying to make it a career, but it’s also about bringing it home. I’m trying to bring this home too. I think there are a lot of people out there that are just as or more talented than I am, and I’d love to see some of them shine, you know?

Oneso: I know you got a lot of stops left on the tour, but what has been some of your most memorable moments until now?

Grieves: I got to play a lot of places. LA was dope because I got to play at the Henry Fonda Theater, and that’s like legendary, especially for a musician that hasn’t played there [before]. Baltimore was cool because I got to hang out with Brother Ali…. That was also a Warner Bros. showcase, because Rhymesayers is now partnered with Warner Bros. as distribution, and all the Warner Bros. reps were there. I guess I made a rather nifty impression on them. There’s really so many, I wrote them all down. Fargo, North Dakota popped off at a place called Playmakers, even though I almost got beat the fuck up. The venue was amazing; the sound was great. There was like 2,000 people there… felt like an arena show almost.

Oneso: With all these places that you’ve been, is there any one city or show that stands out in your mind?

Grieves: Salt Lake City… [Pauses] that sounds weird but those Mormon kids are crazy. There was about a thousand people there that night, and that was a place where you go, “Put your hands up!” and every fucking hand in the whole place goes whoosh. We started playing and people started moshing and shit. The whole crowd started swaying back and forth, it was like ocean waves. It was crazy… that was my show. That feeling, when you’re feeling good and you get into it and kill it even harder… it was good man.

Oneso: Sounds like one of those memories you’ll hold onto and look back upon from time to time and just smile thinking about it no matter how many years go by. What does the future hold for you? And when do you get back to Seattle?

Grieves: I’m coming back November 16, and then I fly out to New York. I got to finish up some stuff on my LLC, Grieves Music, my business that I just started. Sign a couple papers and I need to wrap up. I’m booking another tour for January and in March so I’ll finish up that. You guys caught me on like the doorway to a lot of big things. I don’t want to talk about it just yet…

Oneso: That’s understandable, but it’s good to hear that big things are happening for you and your music. And for Seattle. Best of luck with everything you’re doing right now and what you’ve got planned. Before we let you go though, now that you’ve been living in Seattle and repping the Northwest, how do you feel about the Seattle Hip-hop scene?

Grieves: Everyone that I run with are all from Seattle, and they’re all Seattle artists. When I came it seemed everybody was so frustrated to get something going, and I’ve helped a lot of people get the ball rolling within their career and within themselves. When it comes down to it, we’re the same….

Grieves will be coming back to Seattle to perform at Grayskul’s Homecoming Show at Chop Suey on the 16th of this month. Be sure to check that out and support Seattle Hip-hop. To hear music from “Irreversible,” visit and buy your copy of the album today. - Oneso Magazine, 2007


88 Keys and Counting - LP - 2008
Irreversible - LP 2007
Every Hell Has its Springtime - EP - (x2) 2003 and 2005


My Girlfriend Beats Me - 2007
Unedible Video - 2006



Grieves is an indie/alternative hip hop artist that has been very busy. Two records, three solid years of touring (with over 300 dates in the past two years alone), two stints on the CMJ hip hop charts, multiple festival dates and three music videos.

Grieves has a new blend of hip hop with an engaging live show that keeps fans asking for more. Well thought out and original lyrics coupled with organic beats built from the ground up (without samples as of 88 Keys and Counting) by Grieves and Budo together create the unique sound that is becoming more and more well known as the hip hop scene discovers why Grieves has been standing out.

There's a mixture here of singing and rapping, sad music with high energy, and a depressing tone with an upbeat delivery. It works in a unique way and is a one of a kind sound.