It was in 2004 that I received 7 Deadly Sins, the debut project from Ballard High School senior John Overlie—accompanied by a very polite handwritten note. A couple mixtapes, three albums, four EPs, and 10 years later, the man we all know as Grynch is still on the scene, a super-senior perhaps, but no senior citizen. He's been relatively quiet since 2012's Perspective, playing shows, ironing his Dickies, et cetera—but he's returned to the fold with his fourth album, Street Lights.
If you pay attention—and you will never go wrong doing just that, trust me there—you know Grynch's trademark thoughtful everyman steez, and either you rock with it or you don't. If you do, you'll be glad to hear the 2014 edition. He's still taunting doubters and bragging on his young-vet status in the Six ("Shine"), keeping it West Coast (the Kokane-featuring "On a Good One"), and being as disarmingly self-deprecating as ever (the amorous failure-to-launch hookup ode "My Folks' Spot"). The smooth '80s grooves and R&B assists that served him so well last time out are even slicker (check his chemistry with Malice and Mario Sweet on a couple cuts), and he sounds even more at home in the mix—if town-rap ever had an earthy Bobby Caldwell, it's him. And just like Mr. Do for Love, Grynch is just as fucking nostalgic as ever ("Time Flies")—he's virtually Seattle rap's Kevin Arnold. It suits him, though. The Wizdom and Fearce Vill–featuring "My City's Filthy," full of boilerplate civic pride, rides a pretty played-out sentiment (and overcooked hook) but is ultimately as innocuous as the latest Seahawks-inspired Space Needle tee. Most telling, though, is the stakes-is-higher attitude felt here, the narrator less satisfied with things than he was just a couple years ago, admitting that he almost called it quits—and on some joints, in particular "I Can Try," the G-child recaptures some of the hunger that typified his 2008 My Second Wind. He's having his release party on Friday, May 2, at the Crocodile with the Bar (y'know, Prometheus Brown and Bambu), Dave B, and Jake One.
My dude UGLYFRANK from Tacoma crew ILLFIGHTYOU (sorry for yelling) is playing a show at the li'l ol' Rendezvous the night of Saturday, May 3, with young firecrackers Kung Foo Grip. This is straight-up conflict-of-interest territory—I manage Frank and booked this show. Maybe you caught his Bobby Hill EP that dropped last month. Needless to say, it will be some fuckin' hellafied rapping up in that piece that night, and you're welcome to it.
You're also "Welcome to Dillaville" on Sunday, May 4, at the Croc—a tribute to the god James Yancey featuring Bizarre Ride Live (featuring Slimkid3 and Fatlip of the Pharcyde) and the latest lineup of Slum Village (T3, Illa J, and Young RJ). Does this scan as the latest well-intentioned Dilla cash-in by affiliates and former bandmates? Yes. Does the "Remember Dilla" industrial complex and the dorky "Dilla Changed My Life" cult bum me out in general? Yes. Does it dull Dilla Dog's shine or dog him and his peoples' catalog? Never. Do you.