Ever since I was given the opportunity to hang out with them on the 2011 Vans Warped Tour, hip-hop duo Grieves and Budo have been somewhat of an obsession of mine. Their Rhymesayers Entertainment debut release Together/Apart quickly made it into my every day music rotation and I have reason to believe it's there to stay.
The Seattle-based pair consists of Benjamin Laub (Grieves) and producer and multi-instrumentalist Budo, (who apparently does not have a real name). The two began working together toward the end of 2008 and Together/Apart began taking shape. After a 3-year long journey of self discovery, Grieves delivered one of the boldest and most emotionally charged albums of 2011.
Together/Apart deals a lot with the idea of growing up. More specifically, not growing up too fast. The album's first track, “Light Speed”, is entirely about this idea. In the song, Grieves paints a self portrait detailing what growing up was like for him beginning “when mom was a religion and happiness was a fact” and ending at age 19 in Seattle “with a head full of drum beats.” Because “Light Speed” deals so much with Grieves' own personal life, it does well to perfectly set the stage for the rest of the album.
“Bloody Poetry” may be one of the album's strongest tracks both lyrically and musically. The song shows off Grieves' lyrical dexterity by featuring a dark yet undeniably catchy hook. Somber piano chords and simplistic drum beats coupled with vivacious horn flourishes, typical of Budo's production, give “Bloody Poetry” a sound that is not often heard in conventional hip-hop music.
Unlike “Light Speed” and “Bloody Poetry”, Together/Apart's third single, “On The Rocks” offers a more uptempo beat. Grieves uses a combination of synthesizer and bass to create a rhythm that will definitely catch the listeners attention. Although the lyrics may not be the happiest, “On The Rocks” is one of those captivating songs that you'll want to listen to on repeat.
Currently, Grieves and Budo are on a headlining tour in support of Together/Apart. Having been witness to what these two are capable of on stage, I would highly recommend attending one of their shows if ever given the opportunity. They are two of the most passionate musicians that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and they bring that same passion on stage with them.