What do the words “down to earth” and Kanye West have to do in common? Well, if that one has you stuck scratching your head, we don’t blame you. As one of the most notoriously arrogant artists out there, it may not be the description that comes to mind when one thinks of Mr. West. But here’s a little something for all you hip-hop heads and history buffs. This week with RWM, we’ll be bringing you back or even introducing you to Chicago rapper Grav. His only release was his debut album, Down To Earth in 1996. Many of the tracks off the album were produced by a very young Kanye West, who was only 19 at the time. It would be his first professional work.
Grav- Down to Earth
Born in New York, Grav’s start in music was not far from the womb. His mother was a songwriter and singer, with a DJ husband by her side. Grav has said that he began his first experimentations with sampling on a Digitech delay machine and Casio SK!, and finding his was writing rhymes over his newly constructed beats. Though originally a New York boy, in ’92 he found his way to Chicago, where he has resided ever since. Throughout his career, Grav has also worked with other hip hop vets like No I.D., SC, Doug Infinite, among others.
Another Kanye Produced Track: One Puff
For some reason Grav never released another album. Some speculate it was due to the folding of the label that released his debut and no interest from other companies. The instrumentals and beats in the album have sort of a Dilla feel to it, incorporating smooth melodies with some jazz influence. Though his rap career may not have been what he always dreamed of, Grav has continued to stay in the entertainment industry. Lending his voice for commercials such as Jeep, McDonalds, Kellogg’s and Bacardi, he has remained quiet as far a media attention. The only website we can dig up on him are 2 out of date MySpace pages. As far as Twitter goes, some other wannabe rapper by the same name is out there, and trust me, that might not be classic material. Along with the aforementioned companies, Grav also lent his voice for EA Sport’s Def Jam ICON, which unfortunately he was unaccredited on according to IMDB.
For rare records collectors, his release is for a sure one for a collection, some of the LPs and singles on have sold for $60 apiece. What we appreciate about Grav was that though he can be categorized as a classic artist, he has still remained in industry that he loves most. If you’re searching for current news on him, unfortunately the internet is no friend on this one. With the revival of more 90s sounding hip hop currently, hopefully more rappers can get off the autotune train and get back to feel good music.
Check out some more tracks off Down to Earth:
Sex (Kanye Produced)
City to City
Image Layout: Phaymiss
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