Gloucester grime artist Griz-O is undoubtedly one of the most promising names to make waves in the UK scene over the past couple of years. He performed at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios as part of DJ Target’s ‘Homegrown’ show, made it to the final 5 as part of Redbull’s ‘Raise The Bar’ contest, and also recorded a video for the renowned grime director Risky Roadz.
He recently released a collaborative album ‘Out of Bounds’ with OH91, a hotly tipped grime producer from neighbouring Bristol. The the results have been more than a lot, with support being given across US and UK! We spoke to him recently about how being from Gloucester inspired his craft, inspirations and more!
You’re very proud of your Gloucester roots – it’s not the most obvious UK city for hip-hop, how would you describe the scene there? How has it influenced your work?
Growing up there was a scene here, like different crews, clashes, youth clubs n all that but it died off when everyone got a bit older and went down different paths…however as of late there has been a new wave of talent coming through to fly the flag so to speak. I guess the lack of opportunity has influenced me to want to make bigger moves just to show people that it can still be done.
You’re less than an hour from Bristol, does the musical culture of the city have any impact or influence on your own sound Gloucester scene?
Yeah definitely, with there being a big bass & dance scene there it naturally trickles down to Gloucester
How did you link up with OH91 for this project? Was it a coincidence he was based so close and how did he help craft this project?
I’ve been familiar with his music for a while, and I reached out to him and he sent over a batch of beats. I initially picked a few but over time the collection grew and we ended up with so many tracks that I decided it should be a collaboration project. The fact that he’s from Bristol also played a part as I thought it would be a good way to bridge the gap between the two places, and also show the world that southwest can swing with the best of them regardless of location.
Where did the concept for this project come from? Has it been years in the making or did it come together quickly?
It came together quite quickly and naturally, some of the songs I had written a while ago but the majority of the songs were written as the beats were sent over – I’d say about seven to eight months overall to put everything together.
You have your father’s love for Tupac and Biggie Smalls in the first line of your bio – hip-hop is clearly a huge part of your life, what are you listening to right now?
Probably still a lot of the same stuff. Thanks to Spotify I’m able to revisit all the old classics without having to carry a load of CDs around. Currently ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ and Nas’ ‘Illmatic’ have been in heavy rotation lately. Paper Pabs and Octavian have new EPs out also which I’ve been listening to if we want to talk about newer stuff.
Are there certain records you always go back to or do you like to keep things fresh with new music? Do you listen to anything outside of hip-hop/grime?
Yeah I think that my wide music taste helps me in my own music because I’m able to think of elements from all different types of music and merge them into my stuff. For example skits and breakdowns in tracks, and even the style of writing. It could go from Chaka Khan to Afro B to some of the hardest basslines you’ve ever heard!
Bonus question – if you could invite any rapper, living or dead, to drop a verse on a track with you who would it be and why?
It would have to be a hook from Nate Dogg…I don’t even think I need to explain why – he’s a legend!