Grieves: Together/Apart

With lessons in love and loss and even an outspoken look at his struggle with addiction, Seattle based emcee, Grieves, releases his new album Together/Apart . Grieves worked closely with producer Budo to create an album filled with a deep wall of sound, and even takes a stab at a few instrumental tracks. There aren’t many emcees who choose to display their vocal talent, but on Together/Apart Grieves does a pretty efficient job at pulling together different harmonies for his hooks.

Solemn piano keys back up a contemplative Grieves on the opening track “Lightspeed” as he looks back from his humble beginnings to being mixed up with addiction before being brought out of his dark period through his love for music. Grieves lays down a funky hip hop beat as he begins his next track “On the Rocks”, and takes a jab at displaying his own soulful vocals, with impressive results.

A deep bass initiates the beginning of the track “Sunny Side of Hell”, where Grieves doesn’t pick up the mic at all except to sing the hook, instead letting the backing instruments and hip hop beat take the reins before the track winds down with an easy-going guitar solo.

The track “Tragic” features a cameo from Minneapolis-bred emcee Brother Ali, who Grieves allows to take a couple of bars to display his own smooth lyrical flow. “Pressure Cracks” shows the Grieves in a more vulnerable but honest place in his life, as he finds himself at a crossroads. The dragging beat reflects Grieves’ stressed state of mind as he takes listeners inside what has troubled his reflective mind.

Although similar in title to the classic Elvis song, the instrumental track “Heartbreak Hotel” offers the rhythm and blues in a different way with soulful guitar strings plucking away along with snapping fingers and a laid back hip hop beat. It’s not too long before the track breaks off in a different direction, picking up pace and ending with quick fingered guitar.

“Prize Fighter” is Grieves’ anthem of pulling through the hardest times, and is another prime example of producer Budo’s technique of providing impressively layered instrumentation with a grinding hip hop beat, hard hitting drums, and melancholic piano.

Together/Apart caters to an audience on the lookout for something fresh and more sentimental: a different vibe than what mainstream rap has to offer. Sixteen tracks (or nineteen tracks on iTunes) of layered production, instrumental takes, deep thoughts, testimonies of trials and tribulations, create an effective platform for the promising emcee to show his smooth lyrical flows

Check out the videos for the tracks “On The Rocks” and “Lightspeed” below!

Stephanie Gomez-Roxy Contributor