MF Grimm – The Unkut Interview, Part 2
Thursday January 24th 2013,
Filed under: Features,Interviews,Not Your Average,Rap Veterans,Uptown Kicking It
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Concluding my discussion with Percy Carey, he talks about battling DMX, missing out on his spot on “Live At The BBQ”, working with Kool G Rap and the continuing process of recovery from his injuries.

Robbie: It seems like there were two separate leagues of MC’s. Guys like Mikey D didn’t care about making records because they were so focused on street respect for battling. Is that how you felt?

MF Grimm: That’s exactly how I felt. At the time, people I was with and things of that nature, money wasn’t an issue. It was a street rep. You wanted to be known for that. “Don’t go against him! Don’t waste your time!” I bring up DMX, because he came to me. We were at a Def Jam Christmas party, and he wanted to battle me. His boys were from the street, and my boys were from the street, and they all knew each other. They were just talking about it, “I don’t think your boy is better than my boy!” “What?” So it just started that way. I wasn’t even in the mood that day, but I had to. Far as I’m concerned, I destroyed him. I like X. Then he turned around and battled Jay-Z, that’s the way it was.

How does street battling differ from an organized battle?

If somebody’s with his crew of thirty people, and you’re just with your girlfriend, are you going to get a fair, non-biased result? Possibly not. Same as boxing, there’s no dispute if you knock him out. The object isn’t to try to make the crowd “ooh” and “ahh”, the object is sometimes to make the persons crew approve you. To the point where they’re like, “He’s good!” Certain people, you just make them quit. They can’t take no more. They ain’t go rhymes left, then you got it! That situation with me and DMX, there was a crowd! Harry Allen was out there, it was a Christmas party. If it’s one on one, one of you will know! When you’re punishing somebody, they can feel it! There’s no denying it.

Would you have a catalog of rhymes for these battles?

When I first started, I would just improvise and go off the top. After that, I started writing. I get offended when people say, “You’re not an MC if you don’t go off the top!” Making like writing is a crime. As a Black man in America, I take that as an insult, I feel like it’s subliminal bullshit where people want to get you away from a pen and paper. Back then, freestyle was two different things – it was a written that no one ever heard before, or it was off the top of your head. How dare some one say that because I have seven thousand rhymes in my head that I’m not equivalent to somebody making something spur of the moment! From the moment I lost that battle with Supernatural, I dedicated myself to being a writer. No more battling. I’mma learn to be like Edgar Allen Poe.

There was an article in RapPages about a song with B-1, you and Freddie Foxxx over a Lord Finesse beat. Do you remember that?

That was a song from my album, it was called “Takin’ Niggas With Me:. I’ve dying to find someone who has it. When I got shot, there was a report I was dead, and the studio that my reel was in, they stole my reel. Everything was on there. That was on there, I had stuff by Dante Ross, SD-50’s, that was a crazy album, man.

Was that for a label?

Because of the Battle for World Supremacy, there was a gentleman there named Kevin Woodley, he was an A&R for Atlantic Records and he was interested in signing me. The day I was meant to have a meeting with him I got shot.

Fate has dealt you some difficult cards.

It’s only difficult when you’re dead! All you can do is keep going. But I understand what you mean, you’re right. Without struggle there’s no progress, there’s a reason for it. You’ve got to search within and understand why you’re the one that has to go through that journey and not try to push it onto someone else.

Do you think an engineer has that reel in a box somewhere?

I don’t know. That’s a hot song. That was for my album, B-1 was on it, Finesse came in and did the beat and Freddie Foxxx happened to be in the studio that day, and he heard it. He came in and he was like, “Yo! Let me get on this!” I’m like, “Yo, get on!” He blessed us and ripped it. I tell people about it now and they don’t believe me!

How long did it take to recover after you were shot?

It’s hard to say, ‘cos I’m still recovering. It’s been going on almost twenty years. I can feel my legs, I can feel my toes now. Everything changes. I’m always getting sensation back. This is a never-ending situation, it’s still happening as we speak. It took me a while to get my lungs back – six months, a year. I had two collapsed lungs. I got shot next to the throat, had to learn how to talk again. There was a lot of internal trauma and damage. Although it’s been nineteen years, that’s still nothing compared to the amount of damage that took place. I should be dead, so to take that long to recover is nothing.

At what stage did you want to get back in the booth?

They said I wouldn’t talk anymore, that’s like telling Michael Jordan he wouldn’t play ball anymore! You won’t walk and you won’t talk. All I could think about was “I won’t talk?” My legs I wasn’t really thinking about, but talking? I was like, “I’ve gotta figure this out!” I couldn’t use my arms either, I was paralysed from the neck down. I knew I was gonna fight back, in regards to my body, but my throat? All I ever wanted to do was be an MC, so I fought hard for it. It’s changed a lot, but I’m getting stronger.

What was the first step when you were able to talk again?

I went right into the studio and I made “Crumb Snatchers”.

The song from the Scars and Memories album?

Yeah, it had a lot of stuff that was never released, but there are a lot of songs that people will never hear, because those reels are gone.

You had a nice buzz from that “Take ‘Em To War” song with G Rap and B-1, right?

It was a good time for that. I worked hard on it in the studio, but Epic Records wanted to go with the one with Nas on it. They used “Take ‘Em To War” and “Money On The Brain” to promote the album – all the stickers and mixtapes – but for the video it was the one with him and Nas. I was kinda disappointed in that, but it is what it is.

What was the story with you and Joe Fatal getting into an accident with a taxi driver while you were driving G Rap’s car?

He wanted to get out and fight, and I knocked him out, which I regret now. We were in traffic, so we didn’t want to leave the car! So the cops came, I got locked-up. They held me longer because of the situation or whatever, and that’s when they recorded “Live At The BBQ”. That’s why I missed being on it. I can’t go back in time, I wish I could. That changed everyone’s lives on that record! Those were so good times, hanging at Large Professor’s house, watching him destroy the SP-12. We would go to my mom house and get records, then go to his house and watch him kill the record.

Were you working security for Kool G Rap at that time?

Nah, I would say it was more brothers. He was like an older brother,he was a good dude to me. No security. I learned a lot from him about life. He was a good person to me.

What do you recall about your first record, “So Whatchu Want”?

That was around the time, probably before that. The first verse of “So Whatchu Want” was really my verse for “Live At The BBQ”. I decided to keep going, like why let it go to waste. It was an independent label that we all started. Think about it, that was an independent label back then. We pressed it up ourselves and put it out, like “Fuck it!” It started everything. It was produced by Sean C from X-Ecutioners and Knobody, they went on to do “Can’t Knock The Hustle” and “Don’t Want To A Player”, Big Pun. It sounds a little muffled, that’s my fault. I went into the studio to mix and master it and I messed it up. They weren’t there for that.

Were you friends with B-1 at that stage?

We were together before 4,5,6. We were a group. It was me, B-1 and Grandmaster Roc Raida. It was great, he’s like a brother to me.

You’ve mentioned that you weren’t happy with the version of “Do It For The Kids” they released on Fondle ‘Em?

Looking back, I was a little bit of an asshole about it. That’s one they liked. Bob to this day is one of my dearest friends.

I liked the Hunt For The Gingerbread Man project you did.

Yeah, Stricknine, he’s a cool dude. It was fun to me because that’s an Australian release, and you see the impact it had over here, it was even more fun. I’ve never been to Australia but I feel like I’m part of it because of Hunt For The Gingerbread Man.

What do you attribute your references to Joseph Stalin and other concepts in your lyrics?

I’d have to go back to my mother. No matter I was trying to get into, she would always make sure I had a book in my hand. A dictionary, just something. She would try to make sure that I was focused, even when I wasn’t focused. When I was a kid she got me turntables and a microphone. She would always give me books about creative writing when I was young.

What’s your favorite book?

I would just say Watership Down, that’s a favorite.

MF Grimm – The Unkut Interview, Part 1

Grimm Reaper – “So Whatcha Want Nigga?”

MF Grimm – “Emotions”

MF Grimm feat. Large Pro – “Untitled”

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22 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Check this out. True Story…in the early 90’s, I was in an MC competition in Manhattan. Percee P was one of the judges. Lord Finesse has that record “Knockin niggas out.” Anyway, all of us mc’s had to get on stage and drop verses so we did. The last dude to go was Grim Reaper. Dude gets on stage and did a rhyme dissing every single rapper there! By name! Me included. LOL I was like, how did this cat remember everyone’s name? He was nice and his steez was very LL Cool J-ish, circa the “I’m bad” era. Much respect to you Grim Reaper. MC battling was different then. Rappers were real original and it wasn’t about drug dealing, just pure talent.

Comment by Doc Samson 01.24.13 @

EOS!!

Comment by K-Prince BBPBX (@KPrinceBBP) 01.24.13 @

Dope, dope interview. I liked Grimm back in the days, that 12″ for “so whatcha want” was HARD!!! If he woulda dropped that verse on “…BBQ”….whooo! We can only imagine, but I think a couple cats woulda went back to the pen & pad (altbhought the song is near-perfect already). Much respect to you my man…

Comment by RBI 01.24.13 @

Thanks Robbie, great read! Grimm, B-1 and Roc Raida were a group once? Did they record anything? I bet their shit would have destroyed everything…

Comment by TimSki 01.25.13 @

High school tape for me….but maybe new to a few of you. G-Rap and Grimm 1995 bobbito show…Free willie Vs. Orca

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpgOsyTUvX8

Comment by Mercilesz 01.25.13 @

Nice post Mercilesz. Indeed, that was new to me. “Long sharp knife to stab you in the after life”.

Comment by turtle 01.25.13 @

I WANT BBQ

Comment by @CONARTEST 01.25.13 @

Mercilesz-

I did all the beats on GRIMM’S new project, “GOOD MORNING VIETNAM”…

You can cop the wax at VENDETTA VINYL VIETNAM .COM

BLAM,BLAM-
DRASAR MONUMENTAL AKA SHAMZ

Comment by SHAMZ 01.25.13 @

@ Mercilesz – Yo one of my favorites, I think I posted it on one of the G rap stories. I still rock it daily in the gym.

Comment by BIGSPICE 01.25.13 @

@SHAMZ: Didn’t realise you produced the new record, nice one.

Comment by Robbie 01.25.13 @

Robbie –

Yeah, I rocked another alias on here for many years…..HAHA…

Respect to you Robbie for the GRIMM interview, he is in my top ten list of MC’s (I’m not just saying that because we make music together)…

Be on the lookout for ” GOOD MORNING VIETNAM 2 – THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE ” in a few months….

One-
D

Comment by SHAMZ 01.25.13 @

How can interview speaking about battles not mentioning Mikey D. ha
Great read! One of da best. Grimm has a Story.

Comment by andrewfrumrusha 01.26.13 @

Nice Interview! Grimm’s new album Good Morning Vietnam is ill. Dude still got mad flows and the beats were on smash. I didn’t know he still had it like that.

Comment by Juan Epstein 01.27.13 @

Really dope interview…
You ever thought about getting your interviews published?

Would be nice to preserve the history… there was a site I used to go to and it had interviews with Rakim, G Rap, Kane, etc. but one day they stopped updating it and then the site just totally went down and now all those interviews seem to have disappeared forever! :(
So it would be cool to be able to properly save a lot of this information in published form, as it’s important stuff!

Comment by jimroland 01.27.13 @

If you published an Unkut book, I would definitely purchase.

Comment by LEX 01.29.13 @

“Guys like Mikey D didn’t care about making records because they were so focused on street respect for battling.”

Maybe because I’m not from new york I cant really see how street battling can be definitive enough to be that important

I mean unless one dude is really good and one dude is really garbage, it seems like its still just a matter of preference who is better

I guess there is the thrill of getting the crowd behind you for whatever reason,
usually a better punchline,
but that could be just as much because you brought your posse with you or your from the neighborhood

I mean yeah I agree that rap shouldn’t just be made for records and coming up battle rapping against other dudes is probably the best way to build a foundation

But I dont see how it could be more serious or proves a lot more then just doing it for fun just to do it

Does winning a rap battle on the street get you laid more then dropping a single?

Or even a moldy old mixtape for that matter?

Comment by RobThom 01.29.13 @

To RobThom

yes it’s a NEW YORK thing and you wouldn’t understand. It wasn’t always about a record deal this was before record companies even felt rap was profitable. Remember Rap started in the STREETS and that is how you made a name for yourself by your skills..that defined who you were..not just in your area but other AREAS if you were good.

Word of mouth meant EVERYTHING and the better you were the farther your name traveled to other neoghborhoods to other boros, to other states, to other cities.

although it was potentially lucrative, Not all Graffiti artist desired to be in art galleries, some just loved the rush of going to the yard and Bomb the trains.

It’s fine not to agree but there’s no need to be sarcastic about things that are beyond your understanding. Street battling was an art and should be respected as one. Those who went on to get record deals GOD BLESS THEM but the streets was a different world and a different beast.

If it wasn’t for our NY street battles back on the days many of the things that you appreciate today in rap would not exist so please show respect to the craft and the warriors that lead the way.

I hope that helps.

@percycarey MF GRIMM

Comment by Percy Carey 01.30.13 @

And yes street battles got you laid if you were dope!

Comment by Percy Carey 01.30.13 @

Wow he won two Glyph awards! Hip-hop comics cross over!
Great interview with a dope emcee.

Comment by vollsticks 01.30.13 @

Also, that “Untitled” joint is INCREDIBLE. Thanks Robbie and thanks to Grimm for all the heat….

Comment by vollsticks 02.05.13 @

Do it for the kids and bloody love letter.. 2 12′ I will take to my grave! Just bury me with those joints.. that 90’s era baby. Nuff respect to Grimm, truly an underground legend..

Comment by krm 02.06.13 @

Oh my god, I wanna hear the MF Grimm, B-1, Freddie Foxxx and Lord Finesse joint! Someone find it!

I’d like to hear some of my favourite MC’s (R.A. the Ruggedman, Celph Titled, Sadat X, etc.) collaborate with my ALL TIME favourite MC; Grimm.

But that’s just a dream of mine.

Comment by joakey77 02.12.14 @



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