Grip Grand - Brokelore

8:05 PM / Posted by PT /

Welcome to Brokeland, Grand is back / 180 degrees from your standard rap

Well 2008 has been relatively quiet so far.

And I told you guys I wouldnt be reviewing mediocre albums. This album is one of the most impressive Ive heard in my memory, and its all the more exciting coming from an artist of whom Id never heard of. With the exception of The Roots' Rising Down and the album I'm about to review, there has been little quality material, at least of the stuff Ive heard. But this is some hardcore quality over quantity.

Hailing from (Br)Oakladnd, California, Grip Grand is an extrememly dope emcee who happens to be, you guessed it, extrememly broke as well. With life in these conditions and his own production (he did many beats on the album) and recording equipment in tow, Grip set out to make Brokelore, the follow-up to his 1999 debut Welcome to Broakland.

I stumbled upon this album on a whim, and with low expectations hit play on the first track, "Showtime (That's Entertainment)." Grip's clever wordplay and slightly unorthodox delivery catch your attention within eight bars. This track also introduces the listener to the basic structure of most of the album: real-life stories mixed with punchlines flying left and right. (With tons of multis on almost every song, it's remarkable that I could not find a single corny one.)

The next track, "Hip Hop Classic," would be a standout track on a lesser album (literally every song on here is beyond hot). The laid back delivery and beat, with a simple but effective piano loop on the hook create a wonderful soundscape over which Grip expresses his longing to be successful, in life and music. Both the two following songs are as good as the first two, "Win the War" and "Tomorrow," altough the latter suffers from the hook being drawn out just a bit too long. The hook is still good, but sounds like a verse. Actually, it's better than most verses your favourite rapper writes. "Tomorrow" is actually the best song to this point in the album, Grip is on fire over the entire course of the album. I really cant express how impressed I am with this.

The next song, "Handle That," appears at first glance to be a glaring weakness on the album. It's reminiscent of the synth/pop rap on the radio, at least as far as the beat and hook go. Upon closer inspection however, the verses are actually the same content as the rest of the music here. (Including one of the sickest punchlines ever written: While you pretend to be sick like Ferris Beuller / Grip Grand drop gems like a careless jeweler.)
Grip Grand talks about Handle That

There are simply too many amazing cuts here to name, but the are some that beg mention above the others. "Love / Drama" is Grip rapping about himself in a negative light, and then flipping the criticisms of his music with the last line: Youre so astute brah, every my new flaw, you heard it / Cant wait to hear your album, it must be perfect. "A Penny" and "Out of Service" are both classic cuts with great lyricism, but so are the rest on here. The song with the most potential crossover appeal (which still isnt very much, being that it is acutally a great song) is "Poppin Pockets," featuring AG of D.I.T.C. fame.

Poppin pockets versus poppin collars? Call it a counter culture, call it a parody, but it wouldnt be unreasonable to call Brokelore a classic. Do yourself a favor and get over to youtube, and then your local record shop to pick up a copy.


Comment by djdesign on September 16, 2008 at 5:23 PM

Very good review, I love the album as well. - DJ Design

To hear more of Grip, check the album Jetlag. He's on a few.

I am going to link this with Look Records.

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