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Ben "Grieves" Laub, who once made Seattle (and Seattle hiphop) his home, has inked a deal with the indie-rap Def Jam, Minneapolis' Rhymesayers Entertainment. Grieves and Seattle-born/bred, NYC-based producer Budo's 2008 LP 88 Keys and Counting will be reissued through RSE in March.


Grieves is a motherfucking hustler, and I've always admired his rare (at least, in local hiphop) streak of self-motivation; the Chicago-born MC, then living in Colorado, moved to Seattle around 2003, not knowing anybody, started his own night at Vito's of all places- and proceeded to get his (metaphorical) weight way up. "Seattle is where I really first started to focus on my craft" he says, self-deprecatingly over-pronouncing that old music chestnut.

With Peter "P Smoov" Robinson, he started the Robot Room studio (since relocated to Ravenna from it's OG Queen Anne location), where plenty of MC's such as Type, Rik Rude, Kublakai, Murder Dice, Lord Vintage, and plenty others recorded. I first identified the sound that P Smoov would use on the first Mad Rad recordings on Grieves' "Capitol Hill Girls", from his 2006 Irreversible LP.

I had a chance to chat with the dude briefly about the signing while he and Budo were in a Ft. Collins studio, working on music for their next RSE release, due in fall:

Rhymesayers always seemed like the right move for me, it fits the music i make very well, and the fans i've been making are already are total RSE fans. We've been talking about this for a super long time. It should give me the resources to tap into other markets, and work with other companies. 88 Keys will be in FYE, Best Buy, i'm excited. And I'm really excited about this new stuff, it's just really lush and big sounding.

Grieves and Budo will be here February 12th @ Nectar.