It's no secret. Houston has a robust rap underground. We have many reasons to be proud of our hip-hop scene. And there's nothing wrong with having one more.
Every now and then, an artist comes out of the clear blue sky, and makes such an undeniable musical introduction, their newness to the scene is irrelevant. Their hip-hop skill set demands respect and can't be ignored. A rapper named Grammer (purposely misspelled) is on track to doing just that with his upcoming album A Grammer Darkly, which at early listen, is bordering on brilliant.
Grammer is full of rich lyricism, intellect, unexpected wisdom and just pure champion stuff. It all harmoniously blends together on Darkly, dropping November 30.
He gives us a taste with his debut video, also named "A Grammer Darkly," with none other than the monster on the mike, V-Zilla. In it, Grammer demonstrates his brain and star power with lyrical astuteness. It's a proper preview to what's to come.
And thank God. We always need better "grammer" in hip-hop. Never mind the spelling.
Rocks Off: You came out of the clear blue sky. Where in the hell do you come from?
Grammer: Northwest Park, to be exact. I went to Eisenhower High School. I remember in ninth grade on the way to school, the bus would pass by this building with murals of T.I., Bun B and Slim Thug, where the "3 Kings" music video was shot. Growing up, I thought it was cool to live in a place with a flourishing rap scene.
RO: Tell us about your name and the story behind it.
G: It's a play on my real name, Graham. I also like the meaning of grammar. It comes from the word "gramarye," meaning occult learning or magic. The misspelling is to signify a new structure.
RO: What are you trying to inspire with your music? There's a scent of rebellion.
G: First, I want people to be able to jam and vibe out to the sounds. Second, I hope the message inspires you to think for yourself and ask more questions. I feel like I try to boast both creative styling and thought provoking lyrics in my music.
The rebellion is there. I guess that comes from a dissatisfaction with many aspects of our world. I'm not conforming to the standards. I want a better life and I'm very ambitious.
RO: What's the first song that inspired you?
G: "Southside" by Lil Keke. I think I was seven. It was the first rap song that I sat down and listened to in its entirety. I hurried to write down the lyrics of the hook and I remember staring at them, noticing the rhyme schemes and beginning to understand what rap is.
RO: Who taught you about music?
G: I suppose my dad did. Our house was always filled with the sounds of my dad playing his acoustic guitar. I also learned a lot from classic East Coast hip-hop albums: Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt, Capital Punishment, Do Or Die. The list goes on.
RO: What can people expect with A Grammer Darkly?
G: My team and I have been working on it for over a year to get it just right. The project features production by Lex The Comrade, J. Spino, Killa Beatz, Eddie Aldrin, DJ Corbett, Grime Knocks and guests appearances from Chief of Ill Faded, Eddie Conner, Dj Nobel, Kelsey Bland and V-Zilla.
RO: Why'd you link up with V-Zilla for your big debut?
G: Zilla is a legend and lyrical monster. I've been a big fan of his work for years. He's featured on my first mixtape back in 2009. I wanted to make a big impression with a gritty, lyric-heavy banger, so Zilla was a perfect fit for the joint.
RO: Where can people see you perform in the near future?
G: [The] A Grammer Darkly album release party is November 28 at Toc Bar downtown, 112 Travis.
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