You have to be pretty confident in your talents to compare yourself with the likes of Pharell, Talib Kweli and Kanye West. Left coast rapper Rob Grimes, a self-described backpack rapper, doesn’t feel far off and apparently neither does Kweli.
When the 22-year-old emcee reached out to the Hip-Hop veteran for a verse on his mixtape dedicated to fallen producer J Dilla, he got it back in the same day. That is the type of love Grimes’ music has been receiving. In fact Atlantic Records A&R Consultant and CEO of Famous Firm Sickamore told Grimes something he is living by, “Let’s take your shit ‘From backpacker to icon’.”
Hip Hop Ruckus took time to talk to Grimes about his music including his tribute to J Dilla as well as becoming an icon. So get out your Jansport and holla back.
YaBoyJavi: Rob what’s going on, tell Hip Hop Ruckus readers a little bit about yourself and where you come from.
Rob Grimes: Born and raised in Southern California. I’m a Hip-Hop head to the core. I’m a B-boy, skater and a business-minded go-getter and trendsetter.
YaBoy: You titled one of your mixtapes Dillathon in honor of the fallen super producer J Dilla. What do you admire most about him and his work?
RG: That he couldn't be put in a box. After everyone start biting his hard drums and soul samples he switched it up. He was the best of all time. Every time I hear a beat or song he produced 60 percent of the time I get chills. No one producer has been able to do that for me.
YaBoy: I hear ya. Talib Kweli lent a verse on the mixtape, how did that come about?
RG: Honestly , I just emailed him about the Dillathon mixtape and I kid you not three hours later he sent me stuff back. I was honored he thought of me in that light. He is one of my favorite emcees of all time - glory to God.
YaBoy: Cool. “From a backpacker to a icon,” explain what the saying means to you?
RG: Basically, to me it means don’t think small. That goes for anything; if you’re a sales rep in a store, why not be the store owner? If you have a dream chase it till it’s real. Actually I got that phrase from Sickamore. We had a meeting and he said let’s take your shit “from a backpacker to an icon.” It stuck with me.
I’m working hard not to just be another backpack rapper/mixtape rapper. I’m Hungry and I’m ready, lets go!
YaBoy: That’s what’s up, I like your enthusiasm. What emcees have influenced your music and rapping style?
RG: Jay-Z, Fabolous, Kanye West , Mos Def, Tribe Called Quest, Talib Kweli and many more.
YaBoy: Have you taken from anything from those artists you just mentioned and incorporated it into your music?
RG: I studied these artist night and day. Coming up I wanted to be Mos Def and Talib so bad. This music is all I live. What I learned from them is just don’t be afraid to tell ya story. Stand up, be bold, grind and out shine the rest.
YaBoy: What do you have in store for fans next?
RG: Shooting a video November 1 for my single “Around the World” and November 18th “Around the World,” the single drops on iTunes. Struggle Hustle, the album is coming soon.
YaBoy: Any last words?
RG: Log on to www.robgrimes.net and watch me as I take my career “from a backpacker to an icon”