By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
The worldwide opposition to the war, the demonstrations, the activism none of it changed anything, as far as he was concerned. "Popular consensus is no longer relevant in modern politics," he says. "At least from that case study."
"I'm sick of playing games, it's weighing on my brain/Sometimes I drink myself to sleep to take away the pain/This self-conscious bullshit's making me insane/Listening to the rain on my window pane."
"The Loneliest Number"
Grime doesn't smoke and doesn't drink. He does have a life. In his apartment, on a bookshelf, a copy of the Quran sits next to The Guide to Getting It On. He has a girlfriend. But his energies are focused intently on what he believes is his fate. There is no room for distractions, though he's well aware of the challenges ahead of him. No artist can give away CDs forever, or drive six hours each way to a different city four weekends in a row to promote a show he doesn't get paid for. Occasionally, when times are tough financially, he works retail jobs to fill his coffers, but because of working his ass off during high school and his first couple years of college, and an intensive saving plan, he now can pay for his tuition and not worry about a 9-to-5 job for the next couple of years.
"I don't care. I do not care," he says. "I work hard to do what I do, and enjoy doing it. I'm willing to make whatever sacrifices necessary to get myself where I need to be. But at the same time, I can't continue like this forever. This shit has to turn around for me eventually." The financial drain is offset by his merchandise sales tee shirts with his grenade logo that read "Got Revolution In My Eyes" but he still takes a loss on his musical career for the sake of getting his music out in the public eye.
Nonetheless, as Ty Carter, the promoter, recognizes, "If everybody did that . . . shit. It's a great thing. I can't say I've ever seen it. He's on a mission."
Grime acknowledges the mission that he's on. "If you're not dedicated completely to what you do, then you're not gonna be great at it, and you're not gonna be successful at it. It goes for writing, it goes for school, it goes for relationships, marriage, everything. If you're not completely dedicated to what you do and you're not passionate about it, then you're not gonna be great at it."
You could see Grime's message hitting the Tempe crowd back in February when Grime, with the live band Antedote backing him, and local hip-hop luminaries the Drunken Immortals playing, sold out the Blunt Club a solid accomplishment for an all-local bill.
Antedote busted out a live imitation of the Mars Volta sample that Konradio usually drops on the tables, before Grime assembled a who's who of local MCs onstage D.I.'s Brad B, Pokafase, and Mesi Goodness from Antedote to perform "Holding Hands" with him. Grime and the band then launched into a one-time-only cover of Rage Against the Machine's "Pocket Full of Shells." The entire room was a bouncing, slamming cluster-fuck of bodies feeling the revolution in Grime's rhymes.
If his music career doesn't launch the way he envisions it, Grime's prepared to focus his considerable energies in another direction. "The primary objective to me is the [revolutionary] movement, not individual success, not music," he says. "I told my mom that if my music career wasn't headed somewhere or significantly further than it is now, I'd give it up and try to accomplish my [revolutionary] goals by another means. I gave myself until December of 2007. I'm pouring a lot of my life and energy, and money, into this shit. If it's not turning out to be as effective as I want it to be, I'll try to accomplish my goals by other means."