Join us here at NoJumper as we catch up with rising rap sensation, GrandeMarshall. The 18 year old rapper has built a reputation for hot singles (including last year’s “Robert Earl”, recently reviewed by NoJumper), earning him a coveted opening act slot for A$AP Rocky. The Philadelphia-Born/DC-Based sensation took the time to speak with NoJumper about what separates him from the rest of the ‘trillwave’, from Philly’s other rap alumni, and anyone else in rap for that matter.
No Jumper: Hey there; for those who are unfamiliar with you and your music, can you give us your name and your age?
GrandeMarshall: 18 years old. I go by many names and aliases, but I’m more commonly known as GrandeMarshall.
NJ: How long have you been working on your raps and your production?
GM: I’ve been producing since about 2006-07ish. As far as how long I’ve been rapping it’s been a good while, since about 2002. I wrote my first verse in the 3rd grade, kept up with it ever since.
NJ: Can you name some of your specific influences that inspired you to start making music?
GM: Influences to make music as far as people go would probably be the rappers I grew up listening to. Ghostface, Raekwon, UGK, DMX, Three 6 Mafia, State Property, Major Figgaz, Nas, Juvenile. Those guys had a direct influence on my music and me creating it.
NJ: You claim Philly as your hometown. But how does the “Grandemarshall” experience differ from say, other Philly rappers like Meek Mill, Beanie Siegel or anyone else from your city? How do you think it’s made your life growing up unique in comparison to other talents from your home?
GM: I think what separates me from heads like Meek and Beans is I didn’t live in Philly all my life. I moved around a bit growing up, but I would always find myself BACK in Philadelphia. I’ve seen a lot of the world and what not, but it’s never detached me from being a Philadelphian. Still have the accent, still have that blue collar drive, that “dog-eat-dog, by any means necessary” mindset. Regardless of where I go I’ve always taken Philadelphia with me. But added to that, living in different places has also had an effect on my music. My style is completely different from Meek’s and I would say a little different from Beans. Meek is more fast-paced, aggressive rap. Beans and myself is a lot more slowed down, but still blunt and brash. As far as I see it. Look at it like this, Meek’s weapon of choice would be a gun in this situation. Quick, ferocious and without hesitance. While mine and Beans would be a knife of some kind. Same level of ferocity, but a lot more “artistic” so to speak.
NJ: Songs like “Robert Earl”, “E & J” and “V-Nasty” are all pretty unique from each other, and drawing from various influences. What keeps you eager to change your style so often, rather than develop a specific sound?
GM: A lot of times new rappers, or people who are new to a good amount of exposure, they get put into a category quick. I never want that. I never want to be a “east coast rapper” or “trillwave” or any of those things. The only category I want someone to put me in is “good music”. I put out three different styles of songs to show people I don’t do just do car talk, or make songs about women doing this that and the third, etcetera etcetera. I’m a versatile artist (not to brag or anything), and I want to show people that. The day “Robert Earl” dropped I was getting all kinds of shit. “Next ASAP Rocky?” “East Coast Rapper, Down South Style” like, come on son why I gotta be all of that? And I know some people did it with good intentions, and I appreciate that, but don’t try and categorize my music. Because I don’t.
NJ: You mention “Robert Earl” being regarded as “East Coast Rapper, Down South Style”. And you do show a decent amount of southern influence in your work, which almost makes your songs feel ‘region-less’. What makes you feel so comfortable emulating those styles as opposed to say, other east coast rappers who feel like they have to act in strict accordance with how rappers from the east coast are ‘supposed’ to behave?
GM: When I moved around and I’ve traveled to all of these different places, I was exposed to that culture. But what a lot of people don’t know is that Philly has been into lean, classic cars, candy paint, 24′s and all that for decades. But that’s where people mess up, that ain’t what it means to be trill. Yes it’s a part of car culture, but as far as being trill? That’s not the culminating piece. Like I said on R.E. “It’s more than your cars nigga. It’s more than your fronts. It’s about who you are and how you hold yourself down.” So that’s how I see it. I know who I am, where I’ve been. Shit, I met Bun B last year and got the salute from him on my music, the person everyone looks on to about all the “trill shit”, so I can’t be anything but comfortable making some southern influenced music.
NJ: Is there anyone coming up right now that you look up to and/or admire musically?
GM: I wouldn’t say I look up to anybody really. As far as admiration for their craft and skill? There is a good handful. A lot of my homies, I admire what they do and the music they put out. I listen to their stuff and it helps me better critique myself. I mean, over the course of the last year I’ve come into contact with some incredibly talented musicians. I feel like, if the people around you don’t inspire you, you’re in the wrong crowd. At this point, looking at my “crowd” I’d say I’m in pretty good company.
NJ: What are some of your goals and dreams for the immediate future? What can we expect from GrandeMarshall in 2012?
GM: In 2012? More money, more murder, more homicide. I’ve got 800 dropping, music videos on the way, more shows everywhere. 2012 is going to be big. And I know, everybody says that, but I’m forreal about this, 2012 is going to be big.Share