Benjamin Laub, better known as Seattle-based rapper Grieves for his poetic style of hip-hop, is on tour following his fourth album. With Winter & the Wolves covering topics of heartache, addiction and raw emotion it would appear the rapper would make for a serious interview. But over the phone Grieves was comical and engaging, bringing a sense of excitement and even mentioning Madison as a place of solace.
Being no stranger to the city, Grieves has mainly performed as a supporting act here but is now looking forward to giving his second headlining show. Grieves explained with excitement that his “upcoming show has already sold more tickets than the past venue could hold” and that he looks forward to “connecting to the people again.”
Additionally, the question came up of what new fans experiencing a Grieves concert for the first time should come to expect. He explained that both current and new fans are going to get a very unique show with more of a “band setup with guitars and keys and a much more developed performance.” The two openers, K. Flay and Sol—both of which Grieves describes as “dear friends”—offer enticing sets.
Grieves describes K. Flay as someone who puts on an “amazing badass show featuring a live drummer that has a very catchy flow that remains smart.” As for Sol: “he is up and coming and looking to go for the throat as a very hungry performer.”
As for the Madison scene Grieves described it as a “piece of home” thanks to a friend who lives here, making it a place where he can feel like he is “not on tour and can get a good home cooked meal while talking to a familiar face.” Speaking of relaxing and a laid back scene, Grieves’ latest music video for the song “Recluse” covers that very topic. “It simulates this long day where life is just continually nuts and you decided to not let it in,” Grieves said. When asked if he could have made a video before being signed under Rhymesayers Entertainment he did acknowledge that Video Director Maria Juranic, whom he met through Rhymesayers, is a “crazy genius that comes up with the coolest ideas and is someone who I let her just run with it.”
Grieves says he would have felt his career would have been different had he never signed with them. “I don’t know we got hit up by some smaller labels early on and at that point we didn’t really know what we wanted to do, but when we started talking to Rhymesayers that’s something that we knew we always wanted it to do. It was part of our business plan to create something in a Rhymesayers theme with a cult fan base. The big thing was that it was something that we could use to put out pure and honest solid music.”
On a different note Grieves extrapolated on how music was his outlet that he says saved his life.
“We all need an outlet and a lot of people struggle with that and we find negative escapes. I was definitely one of those people. In submerging myself with music when I get something down, it has settled for me.”
As for advice, Grieves recently started writing for City Pages answering fan’s questions with the aim to connect with fans on a personal level.
“I look forward to the process of doing this and it’s a very eye-opening process for me, but this is meant to be something fun and answer genuine questions not teach someone how to get a record deal.”
Grieves will be returning to Madison at the High Noon Saloon come Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.