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Vancouver, Washington, United States | SELF

Vancouver, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"KNOT Kidding Around"

See Url - The Vigilance - 2003 (defunct)

"The Passion Of KNOTHEAD"

See Url - The Inlander (2009)

"Underground, Not Underdog"

See Url - 7 Magazine (2008)

"Carnival Of Catharsis"

"Rappers are like superheroes: they have elaborate personas.

On record, Snoop Dogg is the smoothest murderer, the hardest, coldest gangster ever to walk Earth. A gangland master, he unites warring street armies by rocking one red and one blue shoelace.

Off record, he is a man called Calvin who does things like coach junior-league football and love his wife, but The Myth of Snoop is infinitely more intriguing.

On record, The Wu-Tang Clan is nine samurai from New York City who have been gifted a divine system of lyrical mathematics. They are super-emcees with at least five aliases apiece who never fail to keep it real in the street. Some members (Ghostface) can beat up six people at once. Others (GZA) are chess masters. They have individual talents, but each is enlightened with abstract knowledge of the universe that sets them apart from normal people, enabling a cosmic sixth sense that renders the Clan unmatchable by conventional competitors. Wu-Tang's mythology is so developed that they -- let alone the public -- simply cannot go back to reality.

Other rappers, such as Lupe Fiasco, have analyzed persona-building techniques as coping mechanisms.

Enter the Spokane rapper Knothead. You'd know him if you saw him. He makes quite an impression. For starters, it's a specific breed of rapper who decides to rap like the lead singer of a death metal band. Knothead's guttural style -- somewhere between yelling and coughing -- is 100 percent affected and immediately abrasive. Very aggressive, and impressive for its commitment to sonic gravel. Like Snoop and the Wu, everything about him, appearance to vocal tone, is contrived.

Cannibalizing his previous life as Steve Marggraf -- a Port Hadlock meth addict who came to Spokane, ironically, to get clean -- Knothead is a rap persona who ate Margraff's personal struggle and spat out second-wave goth-hop. Knothead was saved by hip-hop, and now he wants to save hip-hop. Most of his lyrics center around (1) how much his life has improved since he began rapping, and (2) how good he is at rapping. The former is probably true.

Knothead's persona is rich, if somewhat derivative of Detroit shock-rappers Insane Clown Posse. Knothead further specifies his breed in that he would not be offended by that comparison: a shared affinity for dark beats and in-your-face verbal intensity is apparent, and both acts aim to pull off the elusive trick of remaining hardcore while wearing tons of face paint. Recurrent image patterns include crack rocks, razor blades and blood.

The best thing about Knothead is also the weirdest thing: the creation and maintenance of his out-there persona has done tremendous things for his personal development. Stalking the stage, rapping extra-hoarse in his clipped shout, Knothead performs alongside intimidating guys with fake blood all over their faces. On stage, it's the land of off-color contact lenses, acid humor, and heavy amounts of implied weightlifting. You either accept it as bad-ass or write it off as an unintentional joke.

Whatever reaction Knothead fetches, it's moot. He raps not for accolades, but for his own salvation. All criticism misses the point. He's in it for the purge, the bellow, the kill, the release. For Knothead, rap's all about catharsis.

It's polarizing music and the flipside to immediately turning off a large audience is that the people who stick around tell all their friends -- the kind of thing that's either a really bad idea or becomes a movement. To hear Knothead talk about his 100,000-plus MySpace plays and 20,000-plus friends, it's a movement, at least in select enclaves around Eastern Washington, North Idaho and even Portland.

Knothead is like Snoop Dogg: his persona is so strong that the public will take it for his essence, disregarding his personality. Knothead is like Wu-Tang: drunk off his own mythos, he's uncertain where man ends and idea begins. Knothead is like Lupe Fiasco: desperate for rebirth, willing to go to the edge of sense. But Knothead is also a lot like Insane Clown Posse, and to most people -- for good and ill -- that's all that matters." - The Inlander (2007)

"Rapper's Delight - Former Spokane rapper KNOTHEAD still finds righteous rage behind the mic"

Last night, Knothead opened for Hed PE at the Bossanova Ballroom in Portland. This morning, he’s Steve Marggraf and is the picture of suburban bliss, wearing flannel pajama pants and sipping hazelnut coffee in his Vancouver, Wash. home. His characteristic knots are upbraided and tangled atop his head.

The hardcore rapper fled to Spokane to escape a methamphetamine addiction in the 2000s and made waves in the local hip-hop scene. He moved to Vancouver in 2009 to start a family with his wife. The Inlander sat down with Marggraf to talk about his disdain for mainstream culture, his latest EP and appearing on Portlandia.

INLANDER: Your new EP “Never Fold Up” came out in July. What was that project like?

MARGGRAF: I’m very proud of it. By all accounts it’s my best piece of work ... my first EP [Hadlock For Life] was industrial noise acid rap when I was really high on a lot of bad drugs. … But I got sick of being just angry and screaming all the time. K.N.O.T. (the) Radio EP was designed to help me bust out of my box. I can do other kinds of hip-hop. I can do whatever the f--- I want. I can have five metal tracks and then some old school shit on the end.

Your delivery is always guttural. Where does it come from?

You gotta be honest ... I’m sick of people talking about making it rain at strip clubs and bottle service. I know some of these f---ers are living in their parent’s basement. And don’t f---ing talk about murdering people if you ain’t killin’ people. I gotta be me. I’m an angry dude. I had a rough childhood but I managed to come through it. I’m not just an angry dude walking through life. I have righteous anger at deserving topics.

What was your experience in the Spokane’s music scene?

At first nobody would book me. I had to learn to promote and throw my own shows. But I’ve had a very charmed career path. It was the perfect storm of lucky breaks, hard work, paying dues and a helping hand here and there and Spokane was the first city to get behind me and lift me up.

You played a bouncer in Portlandia. I take it you don’t hate the show like most Portlanders?

I got to sit at lunch and listen to Tim Robbins [who also appeared in the sketch] discuss show business. … Portlandia is a very hot topic in Portland and I think it’s fantastic. It takes some vicious shots but it doesn’t pick at anything that isn’t ripe to be picked at … that’s the worst thing about hipsters, they can’t take a joke.

What’s the best thing about not being a meth-head?

First off, we prefer tweaker. Coherency, clarity and food and sleep are nice. Not wondering if I’m a zombie or not. Being a little closer to reality ... I went from being so tweaked out that all the skin peeled off my hands and I couldn’t light a lighter to smoke any more dope, to working with the number one independent record label in the world. I’ve worked really hard. I’ve been clean for seven years. I’ve had a couple of relapses — I’m human — but I’ve got too much to lose now. " - The Inlander (2012)

"Top 5 Vancouver bands Portland Needs To Hear"

Knothead (pictured)

"This guy is ready to blow up big time. He’s a heavy-metal-laced hip-hop artist with a real hardcore attitude like Tech N9ne or Insane Clown Posse. Most of his lyrics are about addiction: He’s a former meth addict who’s been sober for about 10 years." - Willamette Week (2012)


Hadlock For Life (2002)
KNOTHEAD's Back (2007)
K.N.O.T. (the) Radio Vol. 1 (2011)
Never Fold Up (2012)



KNOTHEAD's story is one of ultimate triumph... From the ashes of a crippling methamphetamine addiction, KNOTHEAD has fought & clawed his way to sobriety... Believing that music saved his life, KNOTHEAD views his life experience based rhymes as a way to educate and inform... KNOTHEAD compromises nothing in his music, fearing that the death of it will launch him headlong back into the abyss of addiction and despair... Daily, he struggles... A man with nothing to lose, he seems to have everything to gain...

Evidence of KNOTHEAD's crossover appeal surfaced in May of 2006, when KNOTHEAD did the impossible for an underground "horror" rapper, and his biggest underground hit to date at that time, "Stompin" was featured on 104.5FM (defunct) Spokane's number one (at the time) top 40 hip-hop station. It was a huge achievement for such an unrepentantly underground act as KNOTHEAD to get such hardcore, abrasive, metal-based content on mainstream hip-hop radio.

In October of 2006, with local and internet buzz reaching a fever-pitch, (and finally feeling ready) KNOTHEAD returned to the stage after a three year public absence to satisfy the appetite for a live performance, and absolutely no one was disappointed...

2007 saw KNOTHEAD continue to perform live constantly across the Pacific Northwest. Already hot locally, KNOTHEAD went inferno in May of 2007, achieving airplay on a second mainstream broadcast radio station of different format, ROCK 94.5FM. After being discovered by on-air personality JP, KNOTHEAD entered the Rock 94.5 playlist with TWO tracks, and was a featured interview on JP's "LOCAL 945" program, which highlights the hottest local talent in the region. KNOTHEAD's first interview was so entertaining and popular amongst listeners that he is now a frequent subject of the segment.

KNOTHEAD's words and music continue to permeate, catching new ears throughout the world, as internationally, dozens of new fans discover KNOTHEAD daily... 2007 also saw KNOTHEAD make the transition from regional powerhouse to national underground name. Overseas interest in KNOTHEAD exploded as well, as vocal supporters from the UK, Europe, Japan, Brazil, and even Australia have discovered and begun to promote KNOTHEAD abroad.

In 2008 national artists began to tab KNOTHEAD for West coast regional support, exposing him to (in many cases) more than 1,000 new sets of ears a night. Never a man to let opportunity pass by, KNOTHEAD capitalized, further spreading the word and vibe of his unique brand of metal-laced hip-hop. KNOTHEAD finally put a matching face & picture in the minds of hundreds of people already familiar with KNOTHEAD'S music, as well as walking out of each show with large numbers of new fans and supporters, further cementing his already strong status as a Pacific Northwest underground hip-hop heavyweight.

From 2008 on through the present day, KNOTHEAD continues to relentlessly pound the West Coast with live performances in the roles of both small show headliner, and regional major tour support and increasing internet promotions, steadily creating and nurturing demand and awareness in many small towns, secondary scenes, and overlooked population centers across the Western United States...

In 2011 the third official KNOTHEAD studio project, "K.N.O.T. (the) Radio" Vol. 1 was released. Structured like a collaboration mixtape but in fact consisting entirely of never heard before verses and beats, this free form EP featured some of underground hip-hop heavyweights in several genres such as Prozak (Strange Music), the new and old school kings of battle rap, former Rhymesayers artist Mac Lethal & the most prolific, well traveled battle emcee of all time, Dirtbag Dan, Worldwide Chopper Twisted Insane, Suburban Noize records/SubNoize Soulja Chucky Chuck (DGAF), the frighteningly twisted King Gordy (Big-O in '8 Mile') and several others, including internationally based artist features and musical production coming from Australia, Oxford England, and the French Alps...

This project only served to heighten awareness and appetite for KNOTHEAD nationwide and internationally in a new and exciting way due to the high profile careers of the featured guests, the international networks of the contributors from abroad, and the fact that this project officially marked the first new release of KNOTHEAD music to the public in (at the time) four years... The main, enduring hallmark of this release on KNOTHEAD's career was that is was for the most part, such a drastic departure from the traditional, more heavy metal based, hardcore sound people have come to expect from KNOTHEAD and instead delivered a mostly pure, old school, wide reaching and straight up approach to several lighter styles of hip-hop that caught most all KNOTHEAD listeners and even KNOTHEAD himself by surprise...

July 2012 saw the release of the fourth official KNOTHEAD studio project, the "Never Fold Up" EP... This album would provide a new and exciting bl