I’ve seen the above picture on Dart Adam’s blog for quite some time before I had ever heard a song by Che Grand. It was definitely eye catching, and if Dart was going to promote a guy’s album for this long before it dropped, I figured Che would be someone worth listening to. And then I’d totally forget to track down any music by Che. I sleep, and sleep is still the cousin of death.
One day I came across the song “Gift Wrap” produced by Brizzo, a titan of a producer I got very familiar with via 2ew Gunn Ciz’s iTunes, as well as his work on Ciz’s mixtape Tailgating: The 3 Second Rule. The song was bonkers, and I ended up first slapping myself with a Dwight Shrute bobblehead for sleeping on Che Grand for so long. Then, after I recovered from a self-inflicted concussion, I feverishly began hunting down his music. Wouldn’t you know it–Haj of Dumhi nabbed a verse from Che for his latest project Yoga at Home. This was a sign from a higher being.
Turns out, Che Grand has the internet going nuts, and with good reason. The Brooklyn by way of England emcee has a penchant for choosing experimental yet accessible beats. His voice is slightly accented and his flow is confidently sincere. His collaborations with the celebrated Tanya Morgan, Elucid, Aeon, Spec Boogie and more tend to take one step forward and one step sideways. His new project, Breakfast at Wimbledon, isn’t so much a mixtape as it is a soundtrack–interludes, taped conversations, and sharp mash-ups make it much more than another weekly CDR throwaway.
It’s time for Che Grand to learn you something!
1. At what point did you realize music is what you wanted to do?
It was a gradual thing. Took years to get to this point…. I’ve always been heavily into music. I always told my parents one day i’ll rap. Later i’d have my mom sitting in the audience at my talent shows lol. But to be honest I really decided to chase these wild rap dreams around 2001, when I finally gave up on trying to get money for college, my immagration papers were all fucked up and I couldnt see myself working (damn near illegally) in a call center for the rest of my life.
2. How has London, Virginia (and later Brooklyn) shaped and molded your sound as an MC?
I think more than any one place its the various situations and all the many kinds of people i’ve met, shared some sort of lasting relationship with and/or lost touch with, that’s what has molded me the most. Sometimes when I look back it feels like i’ve live 1,000 lives (hence “Grand”) With that said it feels good to be able to claim all three spots
3. Who are the people you look up to and learn the most from?
I look up to my Mother and my Daughter. My Mother is the strongest woman in the world, and I see that already in my Daughter.
4. With everything you’ve learned so far, what do you wish you could have told yourself at the beginning? Would you have done anything differently?
I dont think I would do anything different, because like I said its the many experiences negative and positive, I wouldnt be where I am without them. I do wish I could go back in time to tell myself to have more paitience. This music thing takes time and dedication.
5. What’s hard for you? What do you struggle with?
I have a ton of personal battles. The one that hits me the hardest right now is not being able to spend time with family like I would like to.
6. Here’s a scenario: tomorrow you become the CEO of a major record label. What are the first three things you do as the boss?
Fire the bad employees (from exec’s to a&r’s, interns and crappy artists)
Hire some top notch employees to fill the newly open positions.
Make some damn hits that people will really feel (and buy.)
7. What are some of your favorite albums?
Folks dont have enough time to read that kind of list. lol
However it’s well known that Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders is one of my fave Hip Hop albums of all time.
8. What is inspiring your work right now?
So many inspiring events have been taking place, I got put on a list for a grammy, people started a petetion for my album, yet the biggest one is Obama. I think his run into being a elected president has inspired a large number of people worlwide, including me!
9. What advice would you give someone looking to get into the music business at this time?
It definetly takes years to become an overnight success. Never be satisfied, always push forward to do something new and dope.
10. Any words to live by?
Don’t do it if you don’t love it.
I’d like to thank Che for putting out quality music and for being a another dope interviewee! Also, thank you Ciz for making that new Google phone work for me (you bastid!) and getting the questions out to Che.
Che Grand Primer
Too Much Good from Breakfast at Wimbledon
And You Say (prod by Von Pea) from Breakfast at Wimbledon
And for more on Che Grand, be sure to check out his blog ZFTP