I first heard about you on the Perfect Attendance mixtape while in college. I was studying journalism and I just knew I was going to be the next Lola Ogunnaike. I was getting to know everything about Atlanta’s music scene, mainly Hip Hop because I just finished an internship with Ozone Magazine. I began to know you as Grip.
I was introduced to Fadia Kader and she loved you! I missed you at her A3C Perfect Attendance showcase, but I eventually saw you a year later at a string of East Atlanta and Apache Cafe performances – We Put the ‘A’ in Austin fundraiser, 89.3’s ‘I Love Rap’ showcase, and some other stuff. I really liked the “Fuck That Hipster Shit” song. It was so real and you never really gave me full blown hipster anyway lol.
I recognized that you were the independent artist that was really contributing to the culture. You weren’t an underground rapper to me but a staple for all things involving Atlanta’s underground hip hop and art scene. I knew exactly who you were and saw how everyone, from audiences to artists, gravitated towards you. Your name would come up in conversations with ease. The stories, memories, or random thoughts people shared about you were always light-hearted, funny, and in-the-moment. I mean, who can forget the infamous plank?! I didn’t know you personally or that well, but more than enough of my closest friends, mentors, and inspirations care about about you in ways that were so heartfelt.
I haven’t really been writing or following the Atlanta hip hop scene for some time now so last year when I found out you were battling cancer, I actually couldn’t believe it. I just kept saying to myself ‘Grip is that guy! This is gonna pass. He is gonna win this fight and everyone is going to have so many more stories to tell about him’. I have this mindset that people are invincible and that my prayers with faith will take care of them. I definitely saw you pulling through and hitting a stage for all of us to see your healthy return. That’s what I saw in my head. I genuinely believed it. It’s what I knew.
I won’t sit in the fact that you are not here anymore because I know you fought and this is simply not the end of your story, nor your influence. We all know you went through it but you fought the shit out it. Your spirit fills many of the streets and spaces that you blessed with your presence, music, and impact.
Trust, you will not be forgotten. We will always hold you high brother. Rest easy.