Grip Plyaz Wants You Pussy-Ass Lames to Get the Fuck Up Off of Him

By Wilbert L. Cooper


Photo by Matt "Ginch" McGinley

I usually don't feel bad if I'm the last one to get hip to a dope rapper. First of all, thanks to the internet, there are just too many pimply-faced 17-year-olds out there with cryptic music videos on YouTube filled with white girls wearing Jordans and fake mounds of cocaine to keep up with. Also, I have a lot of other serious interests outside of rap music that keep me busy—like nude body painting and jerk chicken. So, when my hommies over at Ballers Eve came to me raving about this hipster-hating MC from Atlanta named Grip Plyaz who they couldn't believe I hadn't heard of before, it didn't really phase me—until I actually listened to his shit.

I'm into Grips for the same reasons that I fell in love with VICE magazine when I was a pimply-faced 17-year-old—he's so ignorant, he's actually brilliant. Like southern rap pioneer Juicy J, there is a lot more going on in his seemingly repetitive verses than what is apparent on the surface. He shows he's got a sharp sense of humor with songs like "Died in Her Pussy," which is about croaking while you are balls deep in the pink. He also possesses a masterful flow that floats over beats and gets stuck in your head on infinite repeat. And he's experimental, unafraid to spit over instrumentals that are speckled with peculiar flourishes—like the power tool percussion that closes out "Fuck Dat Hipster Shit." The propulsive racket at the end of that track almost reminds me of M.I.A.'s "Steppin Up."

What's weird to me is how someone who has the mic skills and charisma that Grip boasts could float under the radar for so long. He started out in the mid-90s with a group called the Nobodies and later went solo around '97. Since then he's dropped two projects: CUMGITSLUM and Grip Hop. A lot of people have been impatiently waiting for his upcoming third effort, Purp, Wind and Fire, which has suffered through countless delays thanks to some serious trials and tribulations he's gone through.

But things seem to be back on track for Grip. He's finally got a hard release date for Purp, Wind and Fire (December 12), and today he just dropped the banging single "Fukk Off" on Noisey, our sister music site. The track features Trinidad James—one of my favorite MCs to emerge this year—and Go Dreamer, with production from the Flush. It sounds like the kind of shit that plays in my head when I'm having one of those dreams where I'm using a weedwacker to brutally mow down every asshole in high school who ever called me a faggot for wearing slim jeans.

The other day, I hopped on the phone with the guy who calls himself Your Baby Daddy's Favorite Baby Daddy to talk about his new track with Trinidad James, why it has taken so long for Purp, Wind and Fire to come out, and how awesome the Hall and Oates Pandora station is.

VICE: How’d this track come together?
Grip Plyaz: When my homeboy played me the beat it sounded so grimy and gangster. When I heard the hook, the first thing that came to my mind was “Get the fuck up off of me.” And that’s how I came up with it. I’m tired of people hating on me.

How did you hook up with Trinidad for this song and just in general?
I’ve known Trinidad for a minute. He used to work at this clothing spot called Ginza in the Five Points area of downtown Atlanta. So, I used to see him out on the scene. He told me he was going to start making music and he sent me some of his tracks to see if I would like it or not. I heard it and I was like, “Hell yeah, my dude is going in.” I liked his work and what he was doing, so I asked him to hop on some shit with me.

Trinidad is is pretty new to the game. What’s it like to work with younger rappers?
I look at them as my nephews. I’m proud of the new rappers coming up on the scene because I see a lot of myself in them. They don’t give a fuck and they are doing different shit. I like that.

You’ve been in the hip-hop game since 1995. How did you become an MC?
My homeboy Larry was in this group called Proton. I went over to his crib one day, and they were doing some recording. I was sitting around listening to them work and I just started to mess around and write a rhyme. When they finished their session, I asked if I could lay my verse down. They looked at me like, “What?” I laid it down and they laughed at me like a motherfucker. But then they started listening to it and they realized it was pretty dope.

How did end up being called Grip Plyaz?
Larry was like if you’re going to rap you have come up with a name. One day I was looking at a toolbox and I just saw a pair of grip pliers. I just thought it was kind of cool because they were the hardest tools in the box.

You’re a pretty unabashedly unique cat. Was there a group that sort of opened the door for you back then and made you feel comfortable to do your own thing?
Outkast. They were tired of the gangster shit and the drug dealing and the booty shaking. They were different because they were some weirdos. And people laughed at them but they got the last laugh in the end. They created a whole new path for dudes like me, which I really appreciate.  

It’s cool that you like Outkast, yet you don’t rap like them. What are you trying to do when you get on the mic?
I just keep it slow and try to ride the track. At the end of the day I like the slow rapping because if someone likes my song and I perform it, they can sing along with me.

How has your style evolved ?
I’ve grown a lot. I learned to make “I don’t give a fuck" music. I don’t care what you’re doing and I’m not worried about the next person. I’m just focused on me.

I know there is a skate park across from your mama’s house. Are you a skater or a biker or are you just cool with those kids?
I’m just cool with them. I grew up around that shit. I was raised on Boulevard, which is where the guys from Y’all So Stupid are from. They’re an old-school rap group. They were the first skater-type dudes to come from the hood who I saw with my own eyes. They taught me to open my eyes up to some different things and to experiment with my music.

You’re kind of notorious for bashing hipsters. Why is it bad to be a hipster?
There’s nothing wrong with hipsters. I’m just tired of being labeled and categorized. Someone’s always got to put you in a box. That’s how my song “Fuck Dat Hipster Shit” came about. There are a lot of posers out there that skate, but don’t really hardcore skate like real skaters and I don’t like that. It waters down the real shit when people pose and flex.

How do you write your rhymes?
I just get fucked up. I get wasted and listen to instrumentals. Whatever it’s saying to me that is what I come up with.

I’ve heard you like the sauce. What’s your drink of choice?
I’m drinking a Colt 45 right now. I like MD 20/20. I’m old school, so I keep it strictly old school. I still drink 40s and PBR. I do it all. There’s no sense in playing around.

I know you like a lot of other genres of music. What is some of the stuff you like to listen to that would surprise people.
I fuck with Death Grips and the Hall and Oates Pandora station. I like old-school shit too, like Boy George.

How has being a father impacted your art?
It taught me to keep grinding. And it motivates me to get off my ass and make moves. I can’t just sit around, I have to create a future for my son. He's nine.

That’s beautiful. I know it’s been rough road for you to get to this point.
Yeah, I got locked up last year. And then, not long after that, my son and I were walking home and he was like, “Where is that smoke coming from dad?” We turned the corner and I realized my house was on fire. He was looking at me like what the fuck and I was looking at him like what the fuck. The house was just burning down. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

Damn. So what did you do? How did you recover from that fucked-up situation?
I looked at it as a sign. God was telling me to sit my ass down and rethink my life. And that’s what I had to do, that’s why Purp, Wind and Fire took so long to finish. I had to stop and regroup and just think. This shit is not a game.

What is your living situation now?
My house is in the process of being rebuilt, so I’ve been couchsurfing. I’ve been building everything from the ground up. I lost clothes, memories, everything…

I’m really sorry to hear that, man. It’s good to know you were able to rise up out of that and keep moving forward.
I appreciate it.

Despite your previous struggles, shit seems to be going in the right direction for you now. What was the moment when you were like, “Damn, I got it. I got this rap shit on lock?”
Pretty much when people started singing my songs and coming up to me and saying, “I like this song.” That’s when I was thought, I guess I got something going on.

So when will Purp, Wind and Fire drop?
It’s dropping soon, to a negro near you.

@WilbertLCooper

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