In his 2002 hit “Without Me”, Eminem rapped “To do Black Music so selfishly/And use it to get myself wealthy (Hey)/There’s a concept that works/20 million other white rappers emerge/But no matter how many fish in the sea/It’ll be so empty without me.” With that demonstration of lyrical genius, Mr. Mathers painted a picture of a world overcome with white MCs taking over the predominantly black genre of rap solely for financial gain. And while he placed himself above the fray, his mad rantings raised a legitimate point in the hip-hop community in regards to the gentrification of rap. But if there’s one white MC who has emerged since then, we’re fairly confident that Grieves is in it for all the right reasons.
Born Benjamin Laub, the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Seattle MC released several albums and an EP before signing to Atmosphere frontman Slug’s Rhymesayers label (the group also brought him on-board as opener for their latest tour.) With his Rhymesayers debut, Together/Apart, due to drop June 21st, the MC is setting the tone for the record with the track “On The Rocks”. With a bizarro, almost frightening-in-its-creepiness beat, the track sees the normally manic flow of Grieves morph into a fusion of the down-on-your-luck content and stylings of blues and the attitudes and sensibility of urban music. The ending result is a powerful portrayal of a man happy to be hanging himself with the frayed bits of rope.