Seattle based Rhymesayer Grieves has blended humor and melancholy, piano and synthesizer and an Eminem-like intensity for his fourth studio album Winter & The Wolves. Fourteen new tracks produced by B. Lewis come together in an album reflective of love, loss, and exploration of self.
Some of this is pop rap. Some of it is comedy rap. Some of it is sad rap. Some of it is hyped rap, like the stuff you’d listen to before playing in an intramural volleyball game you’re not supposed to win but you end up taking in just two sets (in your face Sierra!). Grieves is quite the prolific MC.
First up, there’s the song Rain Damage which features heavy synth and a lot of dope scratching. I am reminded of early 2000s Eminem songs like ‘Without Me’. It’s a chill song, but it still brings energy enough to hype up this DJ.
Then comes Whoa Is Me exemplary of the humor Grieves utilizes to rock the mic. I laugh when he jokes My dog died/When you were six!/Really, I guess I never got over it…/Dark cloud constantly hanging over me.
After that comes the album’s true face, Over You (Featuring B. Lewis). This track opens up the subject matter of love and loss. Grieves is deciding what kind of life he’d like to live, what relationships he wants. It’s not easy to move on from a relationship, no matter how horrible it was, but he’s determined to do so.
One of my favorite tracks on the album, Serpents, is next on the album. I’m not sure exactly what the meaning of this song is, but it is certainly haunting and intimate. According to Rap Genius (my #1 trusted source for lyrics), this song is about Grieves’ second grade attempted suicide.
I was listenin’ through the wall when you met your monsters/Heard ‘em break the closet door and take you away/Hopin’ you would change like the color of the moonlight bouncing off the rain/ I, I heard the devil in you that day/Watch the world around you cascade/Laughin’ like you would have fed your family to the serpent/Family to the serpent.
We’ll skip down to track 6 Astronauts (Featuring Slug), fellow Rhymesayer. Organic piano illuminates this track and Slug rocks it as any Atmosphere fan would expect.
The entire album is an easy listen. Each song comes after one another seamlessly in theme and tone. There’s depth here, although Grieves is upset with what seems to be a past relationship, we find in the last track of the album, Smoke In The Night, that he’s made mistakes too, he might even have some regrets about the direction of his own life and career. At the very least, he’s wondering, how things might have been different. Like we all do from time to time. But right now, I’m wondering what is next for Grieves.
You can check out KSSU.com on Tuesdays from 10-11PM PST to hear Serpents, Rain Damage and others off this album on THE AJ Taylor show.