C-Grimey knows you have to become involved in order to help change things. The Chattanooga musician (whose given name is Cameron Williams) holds a deep respect and reverence for hip-hop and the ways it strives to alter perceptions. Earlier this year, he led a course—in collaboration with Hip-Hop CHA and The Chattery—that sought to educate people on the history of hip-hop and its relevance in the modern musical landscape.
His own beat-driven work finds an equilibrium between the movements of classic rap music and a more modern aesthetic style that eschews rote production in favor of excitable rhythmic divergences. A storyteller who uses wit and bravado to uncloak the harsh realities that exist around him, C-Grimey bends your expectations of hip-hop until they snap with an audible pop. Rather than relying on whatever is fashionable at the moment, he presses ahead with his own vision of what the genre should be, revealing a knowledge of its mechanics that few other artists can claim to understand.
He’s currently getting ready to release a new mixtape called “Grand Theft Audio” and has given us a glimpse of it with recent single “Still Grimey.” Over lush string and brass samples, he details his dealings with love, social frustrations and his familiarity with a handful of illicit substances. And while it’s true that these topics aren’t only his to claim, he does manage to infuse the song with a sense of individual purpose and direction. The specificity of his words makes them incredibly personal and adds a much-needed dose of emotional intimacy.
For the video to the song, he teamed up with director Josh McCausland and iQ Flicks to create a video that marries the intensity and personality of his lyrics with a dreamlike atmosphere of unidentifiable substances, a collection of friends and a large painting of a horse. As the music rolls along and light is shined on the intricate melodies he embeds within its length, the video adds a nice visual counterpoint, as the images ebb and flow in time with the track’s liquid gait.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.