GW: When did you start doing your artwork and music?
Grimnasty: I was always a creator, my mother was an artist, she passed away when I was a week old and I just continued to be artistic naturally on my own, she wasn’t really there to guide me, but ultimately I just had those genes within me to kind of want to be artistic. When I got older, I didn’t really misbehave in school but didn’t pay so much attention, I was too busy trying to draw people in the class and make lunch tickets and stuff like that [laughs]. My dad would be like, “man you really got to start paying attention; you’re not going to be drawing much longer if you keep doing this”. So eventually they had to punish me from drawing because it started becoming a disruption in class, so once that happen I started to rap. I was like well if you’re not going to let me draw then, I mean I was drawing at school, but I couldn’t draw at home for a long time, maybe like a year. So I started to rap and then after that I got real serious about it, and by the time I started drawing again. Right around 18 I moved out and moved into my mom’s house and just began to pursue both. Then I thought if anything I could mix them [music and drawing] together and use them both because I wanted master different medias I guess you could say.
GW: Were rapping around school with your friends?
Grimnasty: Yeah me and my brothers would make little tapes and pass them out to kids in school and then we’d get them back and rerecord over the same tape again. Just little stuff that didn’t cost anything. Then that kind of turned into a real serious pursuing career, and I started releasing albums.
GW: When did you release your first album?
Grimnasty: I was like 18 years old, and we released this single through a label that was located in Columbia Missouri, the song was called “Wake Me Up When It’s Over” and it was actually on the radio for a while. When that kind of died down I started realizing that I wanted to continue to put stuff out and from there when I was 19 I released my own solo album. Following that I just kept releasing albums.
GW: How many albums have you released so far?
Grimnasty: Umm, I think probably eleven cd’s all together, but a few of them are EP’s and then maybe six or eight of them are actual albums.
GW: Have you released any albums recently?
Grimnasty: Yes, I released one last year. Well I use to be King Solomon when I was in Missouri, but I changed my name to Grimnasty and actually two years ago I released a self-titled album, and then I released “Bigger Blacker Nastier” which is actually the newest one that is out now. But I’m working on a newer album that’s going to come out in maybe a year in a half.
GW: Why did you change your name?
Grimnasty: Well there’s a lot of people that are named Solomon and I kept hearing King Solomon again and again, and just a lot of different forms of Solomon and as a rapper it just wasn’t that unique anymore. I realized that King Solomon wasn’t really viewed in the same context of what I was doing, and realized that it just really wasn’t my thing anymore. Then I decided to try and figure out an original name that I felt like nobody else had and that’s when it came about.
GW: How did you come up with that name Grimnasty?
Grimnasty: I was sitting around and going over that whole self-reflection and eventually I thought of the name. When I thought of it I started laughing because it sounded kinda like a, not an oxymoron but it’s just like a real extreme. And I knew since I liked to do comedy, I started thinking what would be the ultimate name for something like that. It made me laugh because it sounds sarcastic, its comedic ya know, it’s like two extremes put together to make this absurd extreme. It’s suppose to be this crazy absurd ultimate extreme.
GW: Is that how your music is?
Grimnasty: Yeah that’s exactly how my music is! It’s just absurd in most cases, but it’s good to listen to. There’s a lot of clever footnotes in it like all the stuff hip hop is supposed to have, where it makes it so people can be like this is absolutely ridiculous, so you’re kind of playing with the listeners. You want them to think yeah man I’m listening to this because it’s not like Lil Ice; you know his cd came out and it’s so serious and about the struggles of the inner city life and all that. We hear that all the time, so what I do is I can make a lot of creative songs and things and take people’s minds to other places and not the same old struggle that everyone lives in. And the name itself kind of takes you there and I felt like it embraces that whole fictional, dramatical, supernatural world that only a Grim Nasty can understand.
GW: When you say that your music is absurd, in what way do you mean that?
Grimnasty: Kind of like if I was to say something like why did the chicken cross the road? And instead of giving them a straight forward answer we tell them something like to get the keys to something and drive to here and then go here, ya know what I mean it gets absurd after a while. Ya know it just gets so extreme like the chicken just crossed the road why is he is outer space now? It eventually ends up in outer space and then gets eatin up by; uh whatever is out there [laughs]. That’s the kind of music I like to create, just take normality and turn it into something just absolutely ridiculous, but in a way that they can appreciate it and know that there is integrity there.
GW: Does that type of character and behavior come out in your performances?
Grimnasty: Absolutely! [Laughs] We’re just, okay I’m not trying to toot my own horn too much, but people enjoy the performance. They say it’s very animated and it gets them thinking about stuff that they wouldn’t normally be thinking of, I’ve heard that a lot.
GW: What’s your plan with your music, are you wanting to go mainstream with your style or stay independent?
Grimnasty: I’m not really sure if it’s really going to go that far because ultimately the music scene is a lot different from the way that it used to be when I was growing up. Now a days it’s really rare that art form that I use you would call underground style or call it whatever you want to call it…basically what I’m trying to do is tap into that Odd Future kind of market a little bit, that’s something I feel is right up my alley, but it’s a really small window because artists like that aren’t really around anymore. You don’t any Cypress Hill’s around anymore, but Wu Tang Clan is making a big come back, but will they be as big as they use to be, maybe not. I do it because I love it and there are a lot of people that like to listen to it, so I do it for them. But my art will be my biggest anchor that pulls me. There’s avenues that you can take that will make you pull up as an independent artist and I’m hoping to do that.
GW: Is your artwork or your music your main focus right now?
Grimnasty: I do a lot of different types of mediums. Right now I’m sculpting props for movies and I do animations for different clients and things like that. I’ve used a lot of my artistic talent to land a lot of really good relationships over the years so for the past ten or fifteen years I’ve been working as an independent artist.
GW: So you’re busy and staying focused on your art, but where do you see yourself going? Do you see yourself sticking with the art and having lead you into your music career?
Grimnasty: Music will probably slide in on the side with whatever opportunities I get from my art. Right now Bud Head is one of the toys that I created and we’re closing a deal where we’re trying to get Method Man and Red Man to the voices of Bud Head and Method Man might be either Bud Head’s friend or one of his buddies, and that’s what we’re working on right now. That’s something that’s in the works because I had to do something with the product itself to make it sell and right now the Bud Head is too fragile so I have to get it made in vinyl and we have to sell the original ones to get the vinyl ones. Then we’re going to take this one and use it as the official one for the movie deal that we’re working on, which will be more effective and it won’t break. That’s one way that the art has paid off and I’ve done a lot of animation out there for a lot of people, like a lot of big people. So now I’m working on a cartoon for Nick Cannon that’s being created by Nick Jr and that’s probably going to come out in the next couple of years. And in the mists of that you might see me having the opportunity to do maybe a jingle for kids on the soundtrack or something, who knows. But that’s where music falls in on the side to me. I’m go out and tour with other independent artists once I get my money right, but I won’t be chasin’ it full time because I can only do so much. I don’t want to have a full fledge Wiz Khalifa statues record career and be out there trying to make cartoons for people, that would be impossible.
GW: Is there anything else that you want people to know about you as an artist all together?
Grimnasty: If you want to hear anymore music or check out my artwork you can go to facebook.com/grimnasty or you can go to grimnasty.com or reverbnation.com/grimnasty.