Grap Luva was born in Manhattan and raised in Mount Vernon, NY. He is younger brother to legendary producer Pete Rock but became involved with music through his father who DJ’d in Jamaica and can still be found rocking parties in the Bronx. Gaining attention for his production work for J Live and Lone Catalysts and MCing on releases from the UKs Nextmen and his own “Touch the Sky” from the Wide Angles Compilation. Check for his work with Sound Providers being released on ABB in the coming months.
Q: What are your musical influences?
Grap Luva: It ranges from Bambaata to James Brown, from Ahmad Jamal to Bob Marley and a few genres in between.
Q: What type of music do you listen to the most?
GL: I think I listen to hiphop the most. Also, I like good modern soul music. Stuff that you don’t hear on the radio twenty times a day like Loose Ends or Omar Lye-Fook. Not too many people know about him. I also dig jazz , Roots Reggae, the doo wop sound, fifties to present in soul music. If it has a good groove, I can get with it.
Q: What do you prefer, producing or MCing?
GL: I lean toward producing. I used to write and not take it too serious. Then people started telling me they liked my voice and I started taking it more serious. I always liked writing but I started taking it more serious. That was five or six years ago. I prefer producing.
Q: Do you have a list of MCs you would like to work with?
GL: Dat X, Common, Pharaohe Monch, and Mos Def.
Q: Who are your favorite hiphop artists?
GL: GURU, Large Pro, Q-Tip when he’s on some real shit. AG, OC, Busta, Rob-O, Mos Def, De La Soul, The Roots and the entire Wu Tang family, even Old Dirty Bastard. I like the Toronto scene. Cyrkle Crew, Kombo, Unspoken Heard, and even a little Jay Z once in a while.
Q: Favorite producers?
GL: Pete Rock, of course! Primo, Marley Marl, Dr Dre, Leon F. Sylvers, Quincy Jones, Carl Macintosh, Prince Paul, he’s sick. Mark the 45 King and James Brown, one of the funkiest mofos ever.
Q: Being someone who works with an SP 1200, how do you feel when people say sampling is stealing?
GL: They’re wrong. Its an art form. If you do it properly its an art form.
Now if you do it the way those cats did who came out in 95 and 96, its not the same. When people heard it, they knew their motive. Money. Fast easy money. Trying to make money off what someone else has already put out. Now when its done properly… when people take certain sounds and make it go, its like they are playing the instruments. Then there’s layering. Its fuller more orchestrated. Horns can come in. You can bring keys in. Its dope. Like conducting.
Q: What do you notice about a track?
GL: I like it when it hit hits you in the mid section. I like funky bass plucks. Acoustic bass, jazz bass.
Q: What do you think about the response to your music from Europe?
GL: I appreciate it. I appreciate it all and am looking forward to going back over there.
Q: Do you think being on an independent label limits access to your music?
GL: Not at all. Every level has a fan base. I would rather have creative
control and help with all the aspects of putting a record out. Help get it
distributed. But it’s a paradox. You can have that on the major label side too. Look at my brethren Dead Prez. They do it the way they want to. You’ll never hear them on the radio fifteen times a day. You’re never going to hear Jeru’s Return of the Prophet on the radio ten times a day. That’s false. Lauryn Hill’s not the only one doing culturally responsible music. They did that song for Diallo and you never heard that on the radio. It’s not the DJs fault, his hands are tied. You’ve got to have ying and yang.
Q: What is your ultimate goal?
GL: My own label where artists could express themselves.
Q: Would you want to work in other genres?
GL: I would be willing to produce some deep soul music. All the music I make has to mean something. Someone has to take responsibility. These rappers out there putting out those oppressive records will tell you they are doing it to help their kids live better. But how much better are their kids going to be living when they come into contact with other kids who were influenced by the things they were saying on their records.