Local Wire

Grayskul

DOOM, Kool Keith, and the various members of the Wu-Tang Clan switch up their aliases as often as their kicks. The members of Seattle's Grayskul aren't quite as antsy to quantum-leap into new personas, but they do see the value of rocking specific monikers for distinct purposes. Onry Ozzborn and JFK, longtime members of Oldominion, the Pacific Northwest mega-group with over 20 members and affiliates, had been kicking around project ideas for a while. It wasn't until 2001, though, with the landmark Def Jux release The Cold Vein, by Cannibal Ox, that a flame was put squarely under their collective ass. Vein achieved a level of cohesiveness in content and conceptual tone that set the standard for alt-rap artists. So Grayskul called upon bassist Rob Castro to complete their iron triangle. After a couple of self-released offerings, it was the undertaking of their 2003 opus, Deadlivers, that saw Castro, JFK, and Ozzborn become Phantom Ghost El Topo, Fiddle Back Recluse, and Reason, respectively. For 2007's Bloody Radio, Castro departed while JFK and Ozzborn name-gamed themselves into Count Magnus and Count Draven. Regardless of the handles, the men behind them will be spitting razor sharp rhymes over meticulously crafted composition with full-bodied boom-bap.

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Jose Gonzalez