Push play and pull down...
Sir Grzzwall is a dynamic, high-octane musical persona. He first found local accolades as a member of the popular Latin-fusion collective Bayonics. He's also been a close friend of mine for the better part of 10 years. I've seen him on stage with Bayonics several times at the venerable Elbo Room and I was consistently blown away. He brings an intensity to the stage that can overpower the horns section. He exudes charisma and animalistic intent.
I followed his journey as Bayonics racked up accolades, headlined the Great American Music Hall, and took their music beyond the Bay. We have always bounced crazy ideas off of each other, and encouraged one another to see them to fruition. I remember distinctly when he first started to tell me about a new project: a smaller, more streamlined group of emcees and producers who were working together on a project that was focused more on the studio than the stage. It was an artistic evolution.
So when Grzz was ready to put out "Savage Sessions", I saw a perfect opportunity to revisit the HeyBadAss concept.
I've been listening to the album a lot lately– it's great from beginning to end. Grzz uses hip-hop as a vehicle to explore genre, from hard rock to funk to Cali surf-pop. He strings them all together with clever lyrics, slick flow, and reality-bending perspective.
I set out to make a transmedia mix-tape that would reflect my understanding of Sir Grzzwall, one of the Bay Area's most unique and exciting performers, and this is what I've come up with so far...
Track 1: A Man On A Journey
"Times R Strange" was playing in my earbuds while I was commuting to the day job early one morning. These 2 poor devils got on the bus and I grabbed some footage to take home. I lifted some technique directly from Fog City Maverick's video for "Vegas Knights" (below) and looped "Times R Strange" back into the creative mix to tell a story about a psychedelic journey across the streets of San Francisco.
Track 2. A Storyteller
The hardest part about illustrating my conversation with Sir Grzzwall was sorting through the material. I could do an anthology of stories just like this one.
Grzz told me about the 7 years of his youth which he spent in Alaska. They were tumultuous and trying times, but also critically important in the formation of his artistic perspective and worldview. Hip hop and rock were early outlets, as well as social testing grounds. He listened to AC/DC and the Sugar Hill Gang and found like-minded outcasts with Adidas track suits and a piece of cardboard to break on.
Track 3. A Work In Progress
"At the end of the days, I don't just want to count my chips. I want to count for something."
He's never quite done. Grzz suffers from a certain creation addiction which is common in prolific artists. He creates, he explores, he reinvents. He is constantly moving forward. Chasing the dragon, looking for some more perfect form of self-expression.
I have at least 3 more badass concepts for illustrated pages. I could have done 10 pages about his time in Alaska easily, and the story of how the grizzly bear came to be a sort of spirit animal for him will make your head spin.
But that's a story for another artistic evolution.