GM Grimm, perhaps better known as MF Grimm, has lived the life that many rappers can only write fictional rhymes about. Emerging in the early 90s, Grimm collaborated with Hip-Hop greats Kool G Rap, Akinyele, and KMD, to name a few. The rugged rapper even penned undisclosed parts of Dr. Dres The Chronic for West Coast rappers, while thriving on 12 releases. Quickly, Grimm was getting courted by labels, living as he rhymed it immersed in the streets.
With the blast of the gun and the slam of the gavel, everything changed. Today, Grimm is confined to a wheelchair, and an ex-con in the eyes of the state. However, the artist has matured, changing some of his messages, and providing means to other talents in his realm. Grimms label, Day By Day Entertainment, began as an outlet for his 2000 album The Downfall of Ibilys: A Ghetto Opera a cult-followed effort Grimm recorded over 24 hours on bail.
Six years later, the Grandmaster returns with American Hunger a triple CD that finds Grimm paired with the likes of Large Professor, PMD, and other familiar faces from his career. As with the name-change, Grimm speaks about his new stylistic approach, as he gives real talk on the ills of being about what you rhyme.
AllHipHop.com: Your flow has a classic street rawness to it. While some try to use the one shot-one kill approach, you have a more rapid attack. Does that come from your past in coming up with Kool G Rap or your battle history?
GM Grimm: Of course my style has developed from all of the artists that Ive had the opportunity to cross. I learn a little bit from this person and a little bit from another. Then you start to come into your own. I cant say that its because of the way that I came up or anything like that. It has a lot to do with the MCs that I chose to surround myself with. Also, its just something from with in myself that Ive always tried to find and push the envelope. I dont mind falling on my face trying to push the envelope; or trying to discover or modify certain flows or rhyme patterns.
AllHipHop.com: Youve worked under several aliases such as, the Grimm Reaper, to name a few. Youve been best known as MF Grimm, but now go by GM Grimm
GM Grimm: I am still MF Grimm, but okay.
AllHipHop.com: I believe you, but I read somewhere that you were quoted as saying, MF Doom can keep the MF. Im GM Grimm now.
GM Grimm: Yeah, thats correct. Actually, GM is me and Roc Raida [of the X-Ecutionerz fame], as well. Were trying to put out an album, Grand Master Roc Raida and Grand Master Grimm. Im always going to be MF, but yeah, I go by GM Grimm. Its just that there are too many of us. Its just that the focus shouldnt just be me. Theres MF Murs, MF Bash, theres other ones coming up that are legitimate MF. Youve got black belt, youve got Dan [commonly applied to Japanese martial arts as a means of differentiating experience levels]. GM is just another degree, but MF is a master degree in its own style.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of MF, you and Doom have done a lot of work together in the past. Do you still collaborate? There was a diss record last year
GM Grimm: Well actually, Id prefer to keep the interview on me, but no, we dont work together anymore.
AllHipHop.com: You recorded 2000s, The Downfall of Ibliys: A Ghetto Opera, in 24 hours while out on bail for a narcotics charge. How did you find that you performed under the pressure? Do you find that your skills become heightened?
GM Grimm: Well, no. Its not necessarily one shot, one take, because me personally, if I dont like it, Im gonna do it over. It was just the fact of doing it in such a small amount of time that I didnt hear the album until I was released from prison. I just recorded it and never listened to it. I didnt have the opportunity til 2003. I can listen to it and hear a lot of immaturity in delivery maybe, or styles and stuff. I see flaws in the styles and at the same time it made the style its self. So rushing it in 24 hours, it wasnt like everything was done in just one take. If I said that, Id be lying to you. Im not the one take kind of person. Im not into that. I want to perfect what Im trying to get done. It doesnt take me that long to record an album. Now, Im playing with different styles that I dont think the majority of people would even like, but Im gonna keep playing with it till I perfect it.
AllHipHop.com: Like what? Can you give me an example of what youre toying with?
GM Grimm: Like okay theres a big difference between me now from So Whatcha Want to “Street General. I know that Ive simplified so much that a lot of people may not realize it gets more complex than what it seems, because it seems so simple now. Theres a difference from just flowing on a beat or riding on a beat. I know how to ride beats. I can flow the beats. I can flow high hats. I can flow a bass line. I can go off of drums. I can go off of sounds from when it comes together. Im not trying to be cocky and s**t, but thats where my passion lies. To become part and step inside the music now, not just defining the piece if that makes any sense?
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, it does because in the, Best of MF Doom/MF Grimm, you did a freestyle with B-One that was rugged. You used phrases like, Tek-9 dreams and Mack-11 wishes or Im holding Hip-Hop by the throat, like Whitney Huston holds a note.
GM Grimm: It was a different time then. I was dealing with circumstances and certain situations when I was much younger. That was my way of expressing it. I dealt with streets and discussing the streets. At the time, it was representation of the anger coming from the streets. I dont know if it was the proper representation, but it was my representation. Back then, it was a little difficult for me to get to the studio. Now everyone has a studio in their home. Back then, there were other things occupying my life at the same time, which were the streets that stopped me from taking it as seriously as I really needed to take it.
AllHipHop.com: While you were locked up, did you have a lot of visitors like Kool G and others showing support?
GM Grimm: The circumstances that I was under while incarcerated, I wasnt at times allowed to have visitors. When I did, it was mostly personal family. I got support from everyone that you mentioned in other ways through mail, phone calls and other things of that nature. The people that youre discussing are busy men. They run small corporations, so its rather difficult for people to come and visit you sometimes. Id call them. I got a lot of support from around the world. I was getting mail from Yugoslavia, Africa, Japan, you name it. So people definitely showed their love. One person that would come and see me was Lord Scotch. Hes a member of M.I.C. [Monster Island Czars], and would make sure that I was good physically. I wasnt someone who wanted a lot of visitors anyway. I was kind of occupied, living day by day.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of M.I.C., you conceptualized the concept and album, Escape from Monster Island. Without being able to physically see the project through, let alone appear on the album as well as other projects, how did it make you feel not being able to contribute?
GM Grimm: Its interesting that you mentioned that, because for that first M.I.C. album, I had songs completed. I dont know why they were not on the album. Its not like I went away and they did the album. I had songs. I dont know. Youll have to find that out from Doom, why they werent on there. As far as the M.I.C. album, we have a new one coming out that, to me, smashes the other one totally into pieces. Itll be out around October with the Halloween theme, being that its monsters. Our goal is to be as individual artists. We have a whole army.
AllHipHop.com: So youre manning the controls on this one?
GM Grimm: Without question.
AllHipHop.com: Is it going to be another concept album?
GM Grimm: Yeah, its a concept album, but each artist now gets a chance to display his skills. Its not just everyone rhyming and rhyming and rhyming. Im around a lot of talented brothers that I appreciate. It feels good that I dont have to be the strongest member. Im equally as strong as everyone around me now.
AllHipHop.com: Since the shooting, youve been confined to a wheel chair. How did you re-motivate yourself to get back into the game?
GM Grimm: Thats because of the people that surround me. I feed off of their energy, so it wont allow me to quit. I dont have room in my life to quit. All the energy that comes from me, comes from them. Sometimes you need others to help you build. Im around the right people. My strength is a representation of everyone that Im affiliated with.
AllHipHop.com: Youve led the life that some rappers can only write stories about. Does having the street credibility make it more real and ok for you to rhyme about those things? Or is it all nonsense and no one should be living that type of lifestyle?
GM Grimm: Of course, Im surrounded by people and weve dealt with and been through some rather traumatic circumstances in our lives. We discuss it and rhyme about it. Of course that makes it more authentic than others who can only rhyme about it, while never having actually gone through it. But it depends on how they express themselves. I dont know if Steven King has done all of the stuff that he writes about, so its difficult for me to say. I do know that Jeffery Dahmer did kill some people, so his is more authentic, but that dont make it better. That dont make it right, I feel the same way. Ive been through what Ive been through, opposed to some one that hasnt. All I know is that bullets hurt. It doesnt make my rhymes better because I got shot and Im in a wheel chair, but it is what it is. Thats my experience. I wish that I didnt have to rhyme about that s**t.