Grey x THATLOWD
THATLOWD interviews Grey, a rapper who rose to fame this past November after dropping on Instagram a funny and intelligent freestyle about vegans on Thanksgiving. He is now manifesting his lifelong dream of becoming a full-time artist. However, with Grey it’s not just about the music. The Atlanta rapper, who is vegan himself, is impacting people’s lives by shifting their perception on veganism. He has created his own lane as a rapper and also an influencer. Read along to learn more about Grey’s story.
How did you get into making music?
I grew up listening to classic rock, classic blues, R&B, you name it. I was introduced to hip pop in 1994 when Bone Thugs-n-Harmony came out with Thuggish Ruggish Bone. It’s when I heard Bone Thugs-n-Harmony that I decided I wanted to do music, thinking that, if I perfected my skills, I could even be part of their group. When I was I was thirteen, I was writing my own music. Ever since then, I’ve been putting out projects and I never lost sight of the dream of becoming a musician, an artist.
Is music your full-time job?
Right now, yes.
What was the instance that made you realize you needed to make music your full-time job?
I quit my nine-to-five on November 20th, 2015. I worked in IT recruiting. I used to rap in my office and tell people to come out to my open mic shows. On November 20th 2015, the whole office was told to watch a motivational speech video. As soon as that video was over, I looked at my boss in the eyes and I said: “I’m sorry but I can’t work here no more.” I realized that we don’t have that much time to live on this Earth. I was born to chase my dream and that’s what I wanted to do with that time. Interestingly enough, I dropped the “Vegan Thanksgiving” video on November 20th 2016, so everything came full circle.
What new artists are you listening to right now?
When will you know that you have made it?
I made it when I quit my job in 2015. Work is not work anymore because I’m doing what I love every day and I’m paying the bills in the process.
What are some of the biggest struggles you have been experiencing in chasing this career?
Obviously, the biggest struggle is financial. I’m overcoming that now. However, when you, as an artist, take that initial leap of faith, you are cutting out your guaranteed source of income. That’s when your survival tactic is gonna kick in because you are going to work for that next paycheck, you have to. If you truly believe in your dream and in your passion, you have to know it within yourself that you are going to make it, and you will. You are built for more than just your nine-to-five. God put a talent in you and once you identify your talent you just have to think of ways to make it happen. Another struggle is having to cut a lot of people off your support system. A lot of people are negative and you have to cut them out of your life and surround yourself with dreamers. It’s vital.
What are some of the milestones in your career so far?
Definitely the “Vegan Thanksgiving” freestyle. I have been doing freestyles in the car for the last two years under the hashtag #GreyCantFreestyle, but this freestyle opened up so many different doors for me, it’s crazy. As a kid, I used to think that people were going to love me for my music. Then, when I actually put my music out, it didn’t get nearly as many downloads as I thought it would. But I didn’t give up. I just kept doing what I was doing and, eventually, my time came.
What motivated you to spit the “Vegan Thanksgiving” verse?
The beat, first and foremost. Big shoutout to DJ Suede the Remix God for that one. I didn’t even know it was a challenge.
How did you get into veganism?
I was introduced to veganism through my girlfriend. I’m telling you, I used to eat chicken wings, steak, you name it. If you had told me that on this day I wouldn’t have been eating meat I would have probably laughed at you. Then, my girlfriend started cooking amazing vegan meals. At first, I couldn’t believe there was no meat in them, but after the third meal I pretty much quit cold turkey and transitioned into veganism.
We also saw that you were a guest at the Animal Hero Awards [Note: The Animal Hero Awards recognize and celebrate the most inspiring examples of bravery, dedication and resilience in the animal world.]. Have you always been involved in events and organizations like that one or have these opportunities come after the “Vegan Thanksgiving” video?
This and other opportunities in the vegan community all came after the “Vegan Thanksgiving” video. A lot of opportunities are opening up outside of music. For me right now it’s much bigger than just my songs. Every day I get an email or a message on social media from people saying how my freestyle changed the way they view food and how they are going to get into veganism. This past Thanksgiving, a group of people told me they were going to go vegan this year and go buy tofu turkey and other types of vegan foods. This stuff to me, knowing that I am impacting people’s lives, means so much more than someone big reaching out to me to be on a track. That’s gonna come, that’s my love, and I will always make music. However, the fact that I’m now changing people’s lives outside of my music is bigger than what I could have ever imagined. It’s really about food knowledge and I’m about sharing my knowledge with other people. For example, through talking to friends and fans, I realized that some people don’t know you can get vegan options at Taco Bell. That’s because what we have been trained and conditioned to eat and what we have been told is “healthy” it’s a lie. Once you know what you are actually putting in your body, maybe even thinking you are eating “healthy,” your perspective on food will change.
Do you cook?
I do, and I’m learning how to cook vegan meals now.
I saw you on the Freestyle 50 challenge in Atlanta, can you tell me more about your experience with that?
When people go left, I go right. So, when everybody was doing the Freestyle 50 challenge, I didn’t want to do it. The only reason why I did it that day is that I was waiting for some video content from my videographer, but nothing was coming in and I hadn’t posted anything in two days. Therefore, I just decided to post the freestyle and rock it. WorldstarHiphop picked it up, posted it, and it went viral in its own little way.
After that, we got a call from Verizon telling us that Kevin Liles, the person who put the Freestyle 50 challenge together, wanted to meet me. Unfortunately, I had submitted the freestyle two hours too late to make it into the competition, but they invited me to open up for the whole finals. I performed with Migos, O.T. Genasis, and all the finalists. It was a great experience.
What’s cooking up for you in the next year?
More video content, whether that may be on TV, on YouTube. I’m going to be pushing veganism, and I have a new single dropping in the first quarter of 2017. I’m also working on different partnerships, doing outreach, and working with nonprofits.
Watch the official music video for “Vegan Thanksgiving” below.