MF Grimm: Breadwinner

Does life imitate art or does art imitate life? We have pondered that question for ages, but one artist has lived both sides of the line. Percy Carey a.k.a. MF Grimm has lived a life full of so many twists and turns, you would think it was fiction. From a shady criminal past, to microphone […]

Does life imitate art or does art imitate life? We have pondered that question for ages, but one artist has lived both sides of the line. Percy Carey a.k.a. MF Grimm has lived a life full of so many twists and turns, you would think it was fiction. From a shady criminal past, to microphone salvation, to karma exacting its balance, Grimm’s history reads like one of those urban novels. Paralyzed in a drug-related shootout, Carey was once deaf, dumb and blind. Through pain, hard work, and perseverance, he made his way back to life, back to reality and back to the microphone. What’s next? Along with the recent release of his, The Hunt for the Gingerbread Man, turning that real life into a graphic novel. Follow us to Candyland, through the looking glass, into the world of Gingy Breadman, better known as MF Grimm. How do your beginnings, coming up, affect the content of your rhymes?


MF Grimm: I would say..hmm.. good question.  Actually it’s the foundation, my exposure as a child, things of that nature, growing up and seeing things, it instilled inside me, you know, and I processed it and turned it into what I consider [my content]. You used to run with MF Doom. Can we get into your former partnership at all?


MF Grimm: Actually I want you to. MF Doom, that’s my brother. I would like to run with him again.  I don’t know if he would feel comfortable with me due to the very well known dispute between us.  That’s behind me, you know? He’s a brother to me and that means more than, you know money and financial status and just ego.  If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.  There’s a lot of things I’ve done that are wrong in this circumstance. There’s certain things that I feel he’s done wrong and things of that nature.  But as for him, he’s a genius, that’s my brother, I wish him nothing but success.  I would love to work with him again.  But if he felt like that could not happen, I will always support his music.  He’s Doom!  He uses Dr. Doom as a visual representation of his character.  I know you are an avid comic book fan.  Was that a part of your friendship? Have comics always been a part of your life?


MF Grimm: Yeah to a degree.  Me and Doom, we watched a lot of comics and animation. I don’t know if that was the structure of our relationship, but it was a part of it.  I’ve always been a DC [Comics] man.  Superman and Batman.  Most people are Marvel [Comics] dudes. [I was a DC dude] except for the Hulk.  To this day I’m with the Hulk. If I could I would write for the Hulk.  I like what Greg Pak is doing with the Hulk in World War Hulk.  Outside that I’ve always been a DC person. That’s why this was a great opportunity for me now that I’m a writer for DC comics and I could put my spin to it. I also got love for the villains, yunno? The Joker. The Vertigo line has allowed DC to be grittier than their normal line so I’m sure that would fit right in with your content and some of the ideas you are trying to bring forward.


MF Grimm: Yes, it’s definitely a blessing that I’m with Vertigo. We’re considered the HBO of comics.  There’s a lot of things I do that I can’t…that I couldn’t get to do with other publications or distributors.  Vertigo, I have free rein.  Karen Berger, she’s the best. I’m constantly learning from her. Look at the caliber of writers she has groomed or brought in. I mean, V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, uh… American Virgin.  I mean even the new ones. Stardust, that’s Neil Gaimon, she brought him in. Karen brought him in and that’s how she works with me on a regular basis. She works hard with me, so you know I’m thankful to be at Vertigo. Even though you’re confined to a wheel chair, recovering from where you were could be considered superhuman in its own right.  Can you tell us about that journey?  You couldn’t see, hear, or touch, basically Helen Keller status.  Now you’re strong enough to give an interview, still put out albums, and run a company.  That’s a pretty big deal.


MF Grimm: I have to say that’s the strength of the people I surround myself with and also The Creator.  I can’t even take credit for any of this because there’s so many times I wanted to give up.  I’ve been shot 10 times in my life, I’ve had two collapsed lungs, I’ve been blind and deaf, like you said.  I was told I would never talk again; I was in a coma.  It’s just fighting through all that.  I take more so that it’s about blessings and not about me like I’m some tough guy or something of that nature, or I’m superhuman.  I might feel sometimes that I’m superhuman, but it’s really about The Creator. 


It’s really about the people that support you, that give you the emotional energy that’s needed to get through those times because it’s not all fun and games.  There’s many times when I’m down.  There’s  a lot of times when I’m in pain and I don’t know how I’m a do tomorrow.  I have great people around me to help me.  So it’s a joint effort.  It’s still a struggle but I always look at it as there’s people under worse circumstances than myself who don’t know what I’m going through, so who am I to complain? You have one of the few triple album in Hip-Hop history, plus ghostwriting credits that people may not know about. Speak on that.


MF Grimm: Well the ghostwriting credits I don’t really want to get into, but the triple album I don’t know.  I was told that I was the first independent solo artist to come out with a triple album with 60 songs.  If anyone else did, I’m not sure who they are. I know 8 Ball (of 8 Ball and MJG) had a triple album.  I don’t know how many songs he had.


MF Grimm: From my understanding, it was a double album and a compilation of other stuff.  My stuff is all brand new material, 60 tracks deep.  Independently pressed up, and I did it, with the help of others but independently and I only did it because it had never been done. Is that your motivation now, as an artist, to create what hasn’t been done before?


MF Grimm: You hit it on the nose and you’re the only person that did.  That is my total motivation. My only motivation is to do what’s never been done. I just created The Hunt for the Gingerbread Man, The Mixtape. I rhymed for 32 minutes and 4 seconds about ingredients.  Strictly ingredients.  And it’s never been done, so I said you know what? I’m a do it.  I burnt my brain out trying to rhyme about ingredients for a half hour.  Strictly ingredients. I talk about nothing else. That’s what motivates me. What would you rank higher? Having your life story become a graphic novel, creating that triple album or creating things that never came before?  Which is higher on your achievement list?


MF Grimm: Creating things that never came before, cause that’s what motivates others to continue to do things of that nature.  So I can motivate someone that buys my triple CD to go “You know what? I’m a do that. I’m a do it in all Arabic. I’m a rhyme in Arabic and do a quadruple CD with 80 songs,” whatever.  It’s just a foundation , a stepping stone for someone else to achieve.  It might make them think about doing something totally different.  It’s just the fact of doing something that has not been done. Jay-Z named his album Kingdom Come, after the DC graphic novel. You got Ghostface as Tony Starks the Iron Man. Comic books are intertwined in a lot of lyrical content. Do you draw inspiration for the books themselves?   Rather than having your life be in the books, does it work the other way around?


MF Grimm: Good Question.  Now that I am behind the scenes as a writer, for the majority of the things you just mentioned, it influenced me, more so on the imagination side.  I have a lot of characters that I’m trying ot bring to the DC universe and to Vertigo so it just opened up another door. A side of me.  Like yeah back in the days, I’d be more influenced by a comic book or a character in a comic book, but now I know how to create characters to comic books.  So my influence is more internal.  Comics still have influence you know? But more so I’ve gotten to the point of being a creator. How does the creative process differ? Writing a 32 minute song has to be mentally taxing.  How does that compare with creating characters with the intent that the character lives on and isn’t finite like a song would be.


MF Grimm: Actually I was able to do that because I combined the mediums.  I learned that the mediums were equivalent; musically writing a song and creating a graphic novel is all designing new characters. Once I learned that, the formulas, and I combined them and made my own formula, which I have to say is similar to Bruce Lee. He learned many styles and then created his own.  For instance, now that I’m dealing with graphic novels and animation and writing and dealing with film structures, and I’m also in music—I got my own style; I call it Win Chun Tung.  It’s like a martial arts of the tongue and it’s just my own style. I’m not afraid anymore.  I’m not a fraid to create a style or an album and it be structured and they be like “Yo dude, that sh*t is wack, I don’t know what you was trying to do, but I’m not feeling it.” I think people get caught up into a realm where they always gotta do that.  They do what you expect.  I’d rather deal with the unexpected.  And expect the unexpected from me. Who would win, Batman or Daredevil?


MF Grimm: Batman Boston Baked Beans or Lemon heads?


MF Grimm: Lemon Heads What’s your favorite beer?


MF Grimm: Root Beer I’m going to say a couple words and I want you to say what comes to mind.  Candyland.


MF Grimm: Crumbs Gingy Breadman


MF Grimm: Percy Carey Gretel Honeybun


MF Grimm: Percy Carey’s Wife [Al] Sharpton


MF Grimm: Contradiction Ni**er.


MF Grimm: *Pauses* Wow. That stopped me in my tracks right? Umm…Overrated What’s the Future for MF Grimm?


MF Grimm: Films.  Working with Preston Holmes and Nyima Holmes, executive producer of Juice, New Jack City, and several other films.  I’m going into film writing.