Grynch and His Humble Ambition

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The Seattle district of Ballard is a quite, genteel corner in Seattle, homely and welcoming in its layout and presence. From it comes Grynch, a hip-hop artist whose focus on the changing times, humble honesty and everyday life has quickly escalated into him becoming a landmark on the Seattle music scene.

Grynch’s first effort, an EP entitled the Seven Deadly Sins, was released in 2004 at the young age of 18. One year later the ambitious Emcee produced his first full length LP entitled This Is What I Do, which saw play on numerous local radio stations. An avalanche of recordings followed, culminating to two mixtapes, three EPs and three LPs to this date.

A notable feature of Grynch is the amount of collaborations he’s been involved in and put together, likely due to the positive attention he’s received in the hip-hop community. The artists include local and national names such as Geologic, RA Scion, Macklemore and One Be Lo. His last two EPs, Chemistry and Something More, included five collaborative tracks out of 14 combined tracks.

His most recent LP, Chemistry 1.5, has a unique method of being very personal. He doesn’t harp on overly tuned emotive feelings, fear and nostalgia, though he doesn’t shy away from these aspects either. Rather, he adopts the role of a storyteller, speaking candidly about his life, being poor and living in Ballard.

Songs such as ‘My Volvo’ demonstrate this definitive feature of Grynch. The song is an ode to his 24 year old car, and while it seems tempting to search for the parodist irony in the song, it is written sincerely. The lasting irony is how much sense lies in composing a eulogy to a car that actually has memories and relevance attached to it, than a flashy show car, even though the later is far more expected. Which is quite ironic.

Certain songs on Chemistry 1.5 do not just dance around the idea of telling a story, but very directly have a narrative plotline. The song Gambling Story has a three part tale, of the narrator being worn out after a day of work and deciding to go to a party, arriving at the party and meeting a girl whom he goes home with, and finally a phone call from her telling him she’s pregnant and keeping the baby.

Each part (or chapter) of the Gambling Story has distinctive feeling to it; in the first part the focus is heavily on the day to day difficulties of monetary requirements, exhaustion and unpleasant acquaintances. The second chapter has a much lighter and flirtier connotation to it; his use of words and the mood of his voice are somewhat smoother and more relaxed. In the final chapter his voice begins to chop-up slightly and a sound of stress heard in the first chapter comes forth. The use of specific details throughout the song give a very satisfying and convincing framework by which we can truly acquire a visual of the scenes described. It is, by all accounts, a highly demonstrative song of Grynch’s work.

Grynch will be performing at Bumbershoot, tickets can be purchased here. To download a copy of his two free EPs (Chemistry and Something More) look here.