It’s my pleasure to be reviewing Greg Grease’s new album, Born To Lurk Forced To Work. As I mentioned in my previous post about Greg’s single RIP Van Winkle here, I was fortunate enough to attend Greg’s listening party in February. That was my first listen to the album and I’ve have had the opportunity to listen and sit with this album some more since then. If you don’t know Greg Grease here is a lite summary for you: Greg Grease is a former funk and punk rock drummer turned Hip-hop Emcee repping South Side Minneapolis. Greg is also a part of the artist collision that is ZuluZuluu, which is a music collective with influences that range from Afrobeat, reggae, dub and funk. DJ Just Nine (Greg’s DJ), keyboardist/producer/artist Proper-T (Taylor Johnson) and MPC player Trelly Mo are also part of this collective. Greg is closely affiliated with Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree, he has worked with members Mike Mitclan and P.O.S on various projects and he has also toured with collective as whole. He just recently did a few dates on their ‘All Hands’ tour.
The concept of this album, Born To Lurk Forced To Work is derived from a line in Gwendolyn Brooks’ iconic poem We Real Cool, that reads “we lurk late”. This line was used in describing a group of young black men shooting pool on the south side of Chicago. The last line of this poem reads “we die soon.” Death preceded by the carefree attitude of the youth is a juxtaposition all too familiar to Black Americans. To lurk is to be your own boss; to defy America’s social order. To lurk is to survive, and as a Black American, survival is work in itself. This is a poem that Greg is very fond of, so it makes sense that this album is a spawn of its contents.
Greg’s music is eclectic bold, and unrestricted and this is very prevalent on his new album Born To Lurk Forced To Work. He speaks on the grind of “working seven to four and feeling mis-er-able,” on the track Seeing Being, which features Ak Rite, Tall Paul and Alicia Steele. This is actually my favorite song on the album, I say this because when I attended Greg’s album listening event I told my good friend and TLO contributor Simone that the tracks I gravitated toward the most, even in the midst of the liveliness of the event, was this track and the track Killer Love ft IBE. Now that I have listened to the album and know more about the context behind it, I feel these songs best address the struggle that most creatives like myself have, such as finding the balance between working a regular 9-5 and being out all night and all weekend in pursuit of a creative platform or chasing life’s thrills. Born To Lurk Forced To Work, works by honing in on what Grease has always aimed for: music that is multi-dimensional. Music that makes feel you good when shit goes bad, and hits you in the gut when you think shit is sweet. It conveys the highs and lows that everybody experiences in life as well as the presence of prejudice within social classes in our society today.
Greg’s verses are boisterous and conscious and are delivered with the intent to evoke emotion from the listener and spark conversation. He invites similarly minded emcees like P.O.S, Fresh Daily, Akrite and Tall Paul to complement and bring the idea and concepts behind his songs to fruition. There is a craftsman’s attention to each syllable within his myriad of flows, and a desire to explore the range of his voice-as-instrument, singing several of the album’s hooks. The album’s production, partly provided by Grease and aided by WalkingShoe, Medium Zach, Proper T (Taylor Johnson), Ackryte and Starro of Soulection breeds authenticity and exceeds expectation. The album was mixed by Medium Zach. Overall I think this album is a wholesome body of work; Greg delivered superb his verses and top notch production on this album. There is a great flow to the album; the song sequencing is on point. I think it’s awesome that he has his Minneapolis peers on this record, it shows the camaraderie that Greg has established within the music scene over the years.
If you haven’t already, listen to Greg Grease’s Born To Lurk, Forced To Work below on SoundCloud or you can also stream it on Spotify here and purchase it on iTunes here. Let me know what you think of Greg Grease and his music; comment below or tweet me TLO (@thelitestyle) and let me know your favorite songs and your thoughts.
Favorite Songs: Seeing Being Ft. Ak Rite, Tall Paul, and Alicia Steele, Really Tho, Killer Lover Ft. IBE, Moody, and On A Limb Ft P.O.S and Proper-T.
This Friday join Greg Grease as his takes over Public Functionary in celebration of the release of this album. It’s a free event and it will be great time.
Images (Top and Bottom): Greg Grease’s Facebook Page.