Grieves and Budo
with K. Flay. Dec. 6, Arch Street Tavern, 85 Arch St., Hartford, archstreettavern.com
By now, if you're into this sort of thing, you've heard Thurston Moore's gonna play a show at the Wadsworth in January. That's one of Hartford's handful of venues who've been hosting interesting acts and big-deal artists in the city, and here comes the Arch Street Tavern too, where you can see the Seattle hip-hop duo Grieves and Budo this week.
Grieves (whose name is Benjamin Laub) and Budo (Josh Karp) collaborated on this year's "Together/Apart," an angsty-but-dance-y follow-up to last year's "88 Keys and Counting." In a recent interview, Laub and Karp, who were just getting back from tour in Europe, talked about how they think of Northwest hip-hop.
"We cut our teeth out here," Laub/Grieves said. "It's out here where I learned about shows and shit like that."
Seattle-based but Minneapolis-headquartered, the two met while on tour with Atmosphere. They're on Atmosphere's Rhymesayers, a highly regarded indie hip-hop label based in Minneapolis, with other contemporary underground-hip-hop icons like P.O.S., Brother Ali and MF Doom. Grieves met Budo and they became buddies and "Budo made all the beats and I made the raps," Laub said.
Regional association these days is more music-categorization metadata than signifier. The east-coast/west-coast rivalry spirit of rap is less relevant today, where hip-hop's more or less transcended whichever barriers limited it to its designated regions to begin with. And Karp/Budo says he worries a little bit that the region-tagging is more a distraction than an identity (and Grieves agreed).
"The danger of those labels and genres is it forces you to microcategorize. It's a reductionist thing." Karp said.
"Within America, wherever the fuck [a region] is," Grieves added, "whatever borders you set up, those are somewhat artificial. … It also can kind of pigeonhole things for fans. If you say, 'This is Northwest hip-hop,' it can make someone from Arizona feel weird."
And besides: "The Internet is where the people are right now," said Grieves. "If you're gonna reach people, you gotta do it on the Internet. There's no way around it."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times