West Coast Connection

New Rhymesayers signees, Seattle’s Grieves and Budo, are embarking on their first headlining tour.

by Carter Haaland


What: Grieves & Budo

When: Sept. 23

Where: The Varsity Theater 1308 4th St. SE

Cost: $13

Rhymesayers has always prided itself on its Twin Cities-based, community-centered origins. But in recent years the local rap empire has shown that itâÄôs not afraid to reach out and link up with other artists, so long as the act is acclaimed and the mindset aligns.

CaliâÄôs Evidence from Dilated Peoples, OhioâÄôs Blueprint and PhillyâÄôs Freeway are among several relatively new non-natives to wear the Rhymesayers crown.

Seattle-based rapper-producer duo Grieves and Budo are the most recent foreigners to link up with the seasoned Minneapolis scene.

âÄúI feel like our cities are very similar, especially in the arts culture. I go to Minneapolis and I feel like IâÄôm at home,âÄù Grieves said. âÄúWe got the rain, you guys got the snow.âÄù

Despite signing with Rhymesayers, this tandem doesnâÄôt plan to abandon their roots. In fact, the Seattle hip-hop scene is just beginning to flourish.

âÄúItâÄôs just starting to bring itself together. ThereâÄôs a lot more camaraderie and unity out here than there used to be,âÄù Grieves said. âÄúIt used to be a dog-eat-dog scene with everyone out there in it for themselves.âÄù

âÄúBut itâÄôs not like that anymore. ThereâÄôs a lot of talented people getting together and sharing what theyâÄôve created and building together,âÄù
 he added. âÄúItâÄôs really starting to get some momentum going.âÄù

Carrying that momentum, Grieves and Budo have been touring tirelessly for the past several years. Fresh off a summer-long stint on the Vans Warped Tour, theyâÄôre just now gearing up to run around the country on their first headlining tour, with a show Friday at the Varsity Theater.

âÄúThereâÄôs a combination of both excitement and nervousness,âÄù Budo said. âÄúWeâÄôve spent so much time touring with other folks and seeing them embrace the role of headliner. WeâÄôre excited to get our chance to fill that role.âÄù

The tour is in support of their most recent release âÄúTogether/Apart,âÄù an 18-track introspective peep into the mind and past of a 27-year-old emcee who uses hip-hop as his form of musical therapy. And Budo brings plenty of melancholic gloom to accent GrievesâÄô somber tone.

Written while on the road, the pair had to resort to new songwriting techniques to put the album together âÄî mostly i the back of a van.

âÄúWe didnâÄôt stick to one prescribed way of making songs. We took whatever route we needed to do a song justice,âÄù Budo said. âÄúDespite the variety of approaches, the continuity of this album is something that weâÄôre both very proud of. It all feels like itâÄôs one piece.âÄù

The continuity of the album is a reflection of an innate chemistry between the pair. Budo lays a morose foundation off of which Grieves shows his self-reflective lyrical prowess.

The album does dabble in that whiny realm of âÄúemoâÄù rap, but regardless of whether you can relate, itâÄôs the only way Grieves can make music.

âÄúI have to be honest with the music IâÄôm making. Even if itâÄôs a tongue-in-cheek song I have to be honest about it or I just canâÄôt find the words to say anything. ThatâÄôs just how the creative process works for me,âÄù he said.

âÄúIâÄôm a [expletive] wild and crazy dude, and checking in with myself every once in a while and writing some real honest songs kind of keeps me in check.âÄù

 In true Rhymesayers spirit, honesty isnâÄôt just the best policy, itâÄôs the only policy. ItâÄôs no wonder Grieves and Budo feel at home here.