photo: paul 'animal' chan
some link:
official discography:
Kurious "A Constipated Monkey" (Columbia)
Kool G Rap "4,5,6" (Sony)
MF Doom "Operation Doomsday" (Fondle 'Em) (Sub Verse)
KMD "Black Bastards" (Sub Verse)
MF Grimm/MF Doom split EP (Brick)
MF Grimm "The Downfall of Iblis: A Ghetto Opera" (Day By Day)
MF Grimm "The Lost Files" (Day By Day)
"So Whatcha Want" (Underground)
KMD "What A Niggy Know Remix" (Elektra) (Fondle 'Em)
"Get Down" b/w "Emotions" & "International Rules" (Dolo)
"Do It For The Kids" b/w "Bloody Love Letter" (Fondle 'Em)
"Landslide Remix" b/w "Tick Tick" (Fondle 'Em)
"WWIII" b/w "Scars & Memories" (Fondle 'Em)


interview : brolin winning

A legendary lyricist from Manhattan, MF Grimm has been dropping intense street narratives since the early 1990s. Spitting show-stopping verses alongside Kurious, KMD, and Kool G Rap, Grimm was on the verge of mass success when he was shot ten times in 1993. Miraculously, he rose again, stunning skeptical doctors and keeping his name in the game, releasing several classic singles on Bobbito's Fondle 'Em label. Last year, he and MF Doom released a double 12" on Brick Records, and his long-awaited debut full-length "The Downfall Of Iblis: A Ghetto Opera" is finally hitting the streets. Currently a guest of the state of New York, Grimm speaks out about his early influences, the '93 World Supremacy Battle, life inside the belly of the beast, and his new album. Read and learn.

What are your earliest memories of hip-hop?

Being a little kid hanging out with an older person named 'Sundance'; he was a friend of the family and also a member of Zulu Nation. He used to bring me to street jams and introduced me to Afrika Bambaataa. If it wasn't for him and a DJ named Looie Loo from my block in Manhattan, I would not be in music today.

What was the first show that really got you open?

It was any show King Sun was doing or Kool G Rap because I was right there watching and learning.

Were you rhyming straight from the get-go? Did you ever get into DJing or breaking or doing graffiti?

My mom bought me a pair of turntables as a little kid. I love breaking but I grew up around some of the best breakdancers in the world, The Rock Steady Crew, and Looie Loo was the best DJ around so he helped me find my mark, which was lyrics. I represent Rock Steady Park in Manhattan.

Did you come up in a musical family? Were your folks supportive of you rhyming?

My mother keeps me updated on what's going on in hip-hop. It's funny because she talks about hip-hop and knows more about hip-hop than me. And I'm not joking; she talks to me about samples, beats, lyrics, who's flows and rhyme styles are better, who's original, who's not.

Who were your biggest influences? People who really inspired you?

Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons, King Sun, Lord Finesse, Large Professor, Chuck D, Freddie Foxxx, Slick Rick, Rakim, Kool G Rap, Kurious, KMD.

What was your official debut?

Kurious "A Constipated Monkey" was the first song I was on.

How did you and Doom hook up? Were you guys always friends?

We met when we were teenagers, he was hanging out with Kurious. It feels like we've known each other forever.

"Tick Tick" got a really big response. How did that track come together?

Doom came over with the track and said "spit fire." Simple and plain, I don't argue with Doom, he's the boss.

You placed 2nd in the World Supremacy Battle in '93. What was that like? Who did you take out in the earlier rounds? Do you feel like you should've won?

Actually, Mad Skillz placed 2nd in the World Supremacy Battle in '93. I lost to Supernatural, who placed 1st. I lost to him in the championship rounds so third is appropriate. Puff Daddy was one of the judges, so you should ask him. I remember I said "I would battle the judges" in one of my rhymes and when I said that he had this real shocked look on his face like "who me?" and I'm looking at him like "yeah you!!" So I was expecting to lose the next round against whoever I was going against because of the disrespect I showed the judges. When I went against Supernatural the rounds was changed from two 90-second rounds to one 60-second round. So this means to me whoever rhymes first loses. Clark Kent said I had to go first, knowing that I chose to kick a rhyme to the crowd, I didn't even look at Supernatural. I rhymed to the crowd to "remember my name because I'm going to be successful one day at this shit." Supernatural's rhyme attacked me and he won. If it was two 90-second rounds instead of one 60-second round I would've won…..
I'll never forget that day because earlier that day I was in a shoot-out, my gun was still warm at my waist while I was battling Supernatural. I came from the streets, so I spoke with street anger. That was my only reason of being there; to let it be known that the streets had talent out there. All I wanted to do was get a better life for the brothers who were in the street with me, but I failed them. Because the ones I'm talking about are all dead now, they were all killed, that's the story of my life. The Battle of World Supremacy haunts me because I feel if I would've won, I would've secured a record deal and all the people I'm talking about would be alive today. Everyone who knew me in there knew the shit I was kicking was real and I meant the shit, I wasn't there to 'entertain the crowd' like the other emcees, I was there to spit fire with energy about a life I pray many would never have to go through, but would be appreciated once I transformed it into poetry. I was wrong…Puff Daddy and the other judges didn't want to hear that shit.

After so many years in the game, you must be psyched to get this record out. What can we expect from the new album? And what does "Downfall Of Iblis" mean?

I think it's bad to tell people what to expect. Everyone has a different level of expectation. Some will like it, some will feel my work is a piece of shit, but both forms of criticism are appreciated. I accept both with open arms. There are so many people who are in the graveyard who never had the chance to display their talent. As for the name, in the holy Qur'an, the angel Iblis (Satan) was expelled from paradise because he wouldn't bow down to Adam when Allah told him to. Because Iblis felt he was better than man; and like Iblis I too felt I was better than all men and I would feed off sin. So like Iblis I fell from grace, so "The Downfall Of Iblis" is an abstract way of saying "The Downfall of Percy Carey."

Is it true Kurious is gonna be on your new record?

Kurious is very busy working on his album and he's touring with MF Doom; so I hope so, but if not he'll be on a remix and my next album.

What about "The Lost Files"? When will that be coming out and what's gonna be on it?

"The Lost Files" are all the songs created that never was heard by the public because the reels were stolen when I was shot and everyone thought I was dead.

A lot of your tracks seem pretty autobiographical, do you prefer to write from your own perspective or ever mess around with any made-up concept stories?

I prefer to write from my own perspective.

Do you have a personal favorite track you've recorded?

Yes on "The Downfall Of Iblis" my favorite is "Messing With Life And Death." The name speaks for itself.

What do you think about rappers who can't or don't freestyle? Do you think that's a necessary part of being an emcee or just extra skills?

I feel freestyle (off the top) is a gift and a style in itself and I love it, but I do get upset when I hear emcees talk about people who 'write' rhymes like they are wack. Many of our ancestors were murdered for trying to learn how to read and write. I'm telling the young readers that freestyle, that's great but write also, it will only make you a stronger emcee.

» forward to part 2...

© 2000 - 2012.08 by urban smarts | contact