Interview: Gavin Godfrey
Grip Plyaz likes to drink and more often than not it doesn’t really matter what it is. This particular meeting is one of those instances. The 6’4” MC meets me at the Motion Family headquarters where he’s ripped into some rum that David KA wants no part of.
Upon entry, he heads right for the bottle and says, “Y’all ain’t ready for that brown!”
It’s two in the afternoon on a Friday.
Grip’s off today from his day job at Edgewood Pizza, which means there’s no point in not spending the day getting a little sauced. He’s in good spirits, smiling, joking and blazing through a pack of menthols. Grip can laugh now, but he’s quick to remember when things weren’t so great, the time his house caught fire, he and his son were left homeless and he said goodbye to music. Today he wants to talk about that moment in his life and how it changed him forever.
The fire, let’s start there...
That shit was crazy. This was a day before New Years Eve. Me and my son were walking home. My son was like, “What’s that smoke over there, why is it so dark?” I was like damn, what fuck is that?! That shit was our house. Just looking at that shit burn like, “Forreal?” That shit was mind-blowing right there. It was devastating. I was just like damn...what the fuck?
So did you lose everything?
A nigga lost everything. I’m talking about everything.
What did you tell your son?
How did you talk him through it and how did you yourself get through it? It was kind of like what could I say? He saw that shit. He was already questioning a nigga to death. I had to really just sit back for a minute and just like think about this shit.
You didn’t do music for a while...
Nah, it was like how the fuck can you stay focused when you don’t know where you’re going to stay that night. And you got another little nigga depending on you? Hell nah.
What changed for you? What turned things around?
I mean it’s just something I want to do. I like the music. Why the fuck am I going to give something up, like my dreams and my goals and my aspirations up? Can’t stop that.
How do you look back at how far you and your son have come? Came a long ways. Me and his mom, we do the best that we can to like to make sure he’s straight so that’s very important. It just ain’t no time to be fucking around out here no more. I shot the shit years ago, can’t just shoot the shit with you here now, gotta get it.
Let’s talk about Atlanta, you mentioned the “wild shit” you saw growing up. Any particular story or scene stick out?
My uncle and aunt’s homeboy named Young Blood, OG-ass, real gutter-ass nigga. I seen this nigga when I was 13, 14, walking up to the Chilly Willy store, seen his nigga just walk in the middle of the street with a Chopper. That was the first time I had ever seen a Chopper. Walked in the middle of Boulevard with a Chopper and started just busting down towards Ponce and just walking on a sunny ass day, a pretty ass day. I’ll never forget that shit.
In a community like that what were you into?
Shit your family was known in the hood as being wild niggas so it was kind of like uh got to do something else. So shit I fucked around and started playing soccer and basketball. That just kind of kept me away and focused and opened doors up to other shit. Nigga used to skateboard, niggas don’t even know that. I grew up skating.
You played soccer, you skated, but when did music come in the picture and what kind of music were you listening to? What was the sound of Atlanta at that time?
Pretty much like the booty shake type music, that’s the shit we grew up on. That’s what people call it, but that shit was just jamming ass music to us. Old school, King Edward J type shit. My mom, she was a soulful person, so she used to listen to like Luther Vandross and shit every night, in there smoking funny cigarettes and shit. That’s where this shit started from. And then like during the early ‘90s one of my neighbors upstairs was a Frankie from the old school group Y’all So Stupid. H20, he was a part of that shit too. That’s another person that opened my eyes to some music shit. They were staying in the hood, but they were just different motherfuckers. That right there just opened my eyes to a whole other door and a whole ‘nother world.
How far has the city come since that time? I could name motherfuckers out here for days that got hits, I’m talking about major hits. That’s what I’m happy about. I mean I don’t like the beef motherfuckers got, but I enjoy our community and how we do things, how the whole A, we just turnt up. Artists are out here doing their thing. Niggas opened doors for shit. OutKast, they kicked the door open for a whole bunch of shit. Like whatever nigga, you like worms nigga rep that shit. I’m forreal. [OutKast] taught you to be yourself, be creative, do you. Be what the fuck you want to be. No holds barred, no chains, no nothing, just be yourself. That’s the only thing that you can be is yourself. Fuck I look like trying to be like you? I’m myself, man.
Do you feel like present artists appreciate that past? Some do and some don’t because niggas is young. That’s all I can pretty much say about that one.
Is it maturity?
Yea, and then at least if you’re going to rep some shit, get the full info about the shit. Don’t be playing around.
Mentally you seem at a better place in your music and life, would you say that’s accurate?
I don’t give a fuck no more. I cared then. I don’t care now. You ain’t putting no motherfucking money in my motherfucking pocket and you damn sure ain’t feedin’ my son. That’s the mind frame I’m in. I don’t give a fuck, I’m going to do me, stay doing me. Keep being Grip Plyaz.