San Diego

Grieves Goes off the Grid for New Album ‘Running Wild'

The veteran MC finds salvation by giving up his phone in Sweden

"It is weird what happens when you lose your phone ... You go into this like, 'Oh my god, where's my baby?'" said Rhymesayers rapper, Grieves.

And it makes sense as it's a lifeline for most, if not all, of us. However, when he was in Sweden working on his fifth studio album, "Running Wild," the veteran MC thought an international phone plan was a waste of money. So, he made do without one, opting instead to go off the grid and immerse himself in the recording process.

It's hard to tell if being apart from his cell was a liberating kind of thing or an anxiety inducing experience. But the real take away is what he created while overseas -- a fifteen song set that's held together by what you can almost call a sense of salvation.

He's always had a certain navel-gazing charm, and with the ability to share his vulnerable bits, he's built a career from it. Those gray elements are still in play, of which his single "RX" is a perfect example, but for the most part, he's not stuck on them.

"People use other people's honesty and other people's expression to find some truth in themselves, and it helps them move past things that maybe they weren't strong enough to do. I get it, I'm the same way with music and film and stuff like that. But, I also want people to understand that's it's also okay to deal with those problems, move on and have a good life. And [with] this record I wanted that energy."

From the first few moments of "Postcards," the album's opener, he seems to have achieved it by rapping over a toe-tapping groove, "This that sh*t that you can play in LA, from Chicago to Seattle all the way to BK," capturing the feeling of excitement only travel can elicit.

There's the appealing quirkiness of "Boop Bop Da Willy Willy" featuring Paris Alexa, while 'What It Dew' finds him channeling his mojo: "I stepped into my future, blocked out that noise, and I came back with a vengeance like I'm Bruce Willis on 'roids". It makes for some pretty fun stuff.

He's touring in support of "Running Wild" with a stop in San Diego at the Casbah on Sept. 3. And if this album is any indication of what to expect, audiences are in for a really good time.

J. Smith, aka 1019, is a San Diego native, rap fan and one half of the rap duo Parker & the Numberman. You can follow him on Instagram at 1019_the_numberman or on Twitter

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