Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley and Shawn Biggs
It's not specifically the idea of Seattle's Grayskul to use all of the money the United States is spending making war to fix the crap radio situation this country calls its own. They shouldn't be accredited with that direct quote, but one can read between the lines and take the next logical step after a couple listens to the band's 2007 album Bloody Radio. All of that dough could go a long way to re-establishing some kind of legitimacy to not only the airwaves, but also most of hip-hop, which has taken to corporate money, gloss and makeovers like flies on stink. They would gladly support the overhaul and the upheaval.
You must understand, the way they see what's happened to mainstream, or all stream, radio and the majority of hip-hop is that it's taken a nosedive into the oil pits of mediocrity, cashing in only on what's selling at the time, just like The Container Store makes millions of dollars a year on Americans' inability not to buy stuff and avoid over-cluttering their homes. Hip-hop artists aren't morons, but that doesn't mean that they're completely enamored with the idea of being artists and doing what they can to make credible contributions to culture. Will the songs of Yung Joc and Flo Rida stand any tests of time? Will they and Lil' Wayne and a whole class of others go down the tubes as artists who simply made their own versions of money, violence and bagging trim songs - making their own little Macarenas and cashing the checks that are being handed out at the door for doing such things? Grayskul and the majority of the Rhymesayers Entertainment crew have always been dedicated to the pontification of the state of affairs as they see them. They call out the brainless acts of fellows MCs and the easy roads that many of them choose to go down because it will mean more cars and pricier cars in a shorter amount of time, with much less hassle.
On the duo's title track, they develop a tone in the chorus that is designed to make you feel as if you're shuttling down or off through a time warp. JFK sounds like a decelerated record playing a public service announcement, denouncing the Nazi Party and Communism or something of the like when he says, "The RADIO," as if the words were slowly burning off of the tip of his tongue. It makes you understand the hypnotization that leads to the flocks and flocks of sheep. Onry Ozzborn bemoans the monotonous nature of everything that gets heard on radio, the severe dumbing down, a lack of saying anything important. It's a running theme on the album as they personally examine how music and being able to express very individual viewpoints through their lyrics has allowed them a purpose in life and on the other hand allowed them to tsk tsk those who abuse the limelight or the lure of easy money to just get their strings pulled, to act a specific way and to make the songs that have been testing high in the laboratory. Both Onry and JFK are buzzsaws on Bloody Radio, trying to make sense out of a churning grinder of a world that earns its reputation on the idea that there is no fair and there is no just. If there were more equality for all - in every aspect - Grayskul would be more likely to sit around with bags of potato chips and mint juleps, commenting on the lovely weather we've been having, and not setting off explosions everywhere they step or shoot their gaze. They prepare for these explosions and provide them, from their pockets and from their whip cracking truths - or the closest thing they know to truth.