Picked to Click 2013: #2. Greg Grease
|Photo courtesy of the artist|
Over the past 12 months, we've gotten to know a lot about Greg Grease, but this could be just the jump-off. The rapper, producer, storyteller, and musical collaborator won't let himself be confined to any one thing.
"I really just want to show people that there's more than one way of doing anything," Grease says. And then, as though to play down the importance of such a claim, he adds with a laugh, "I think I'm just trying to impress my friends a lot. And I have a lot of really good artist friends, so that probably plays into it."
See Also: Picked to Click official site
One thing he's grown especially adept at, through recent records like 2012's Cornbread, Pearl, and G and especially last spring's Black King Cole EP, is conjuring the reality of being young and black in this country. "There's so many different levels of life," he says. "I really just think I try to show the perspective of people who don't have their perspectives shown." He may not exactly be a "conscious" rapper, but there's no doubting the compassion of his work. "I was raised where actions speak louder than words, so I'm the type of person who wants to lead by example."
Grease spent a half-dozen years of his childhood living in Atlanta, Georgia, and those years played a crucial role in the other half of his musical equation, that of a producer. It was in Atlanta that he got his first taste of playing live music, first as a singer in the church choir ("Before I hit puberty," he jokes) and then as the drummer. Today, that southern-fried gospel flavor is still deeply ingrained in the thick, luxurious grooves of his music.
But in truth, Grease -- an avid reader, a lover of films, and a would-be visual artist -- draws on more than just music for his inspiration, even if it remains his central creative outlet. Thus, when he springs a surprise like jumping onstage with Marijuana Deathsquads for a set in New York, or remixing a Poliça song, it's all a piece of the same creative puzzle.
"Something I've always tried to do is make it so people can visualize it, to take them to a different place, you know," says Grease. As a rapper, he uses his words as though the songs are his canvas, tools to bring characters and scenarios to life with rich, crisp details. "My father raised me to be observant and just kind of sit back and watch what's going on. I try to just observe and then portray what I've seen."