Although, his name might not be heard as frequently or as well known as some of those considered the best in Chicago, I assure you, The Immortal Griffen is among the all-time, all-around great Chicago MCs.
When you consider all the key factors involved and you have the evidence in front of you, it’s really a hard claim to dispute. Those factors include; skill level, writing aptitude, freestyle ability, creativity, diversity, voice, delivery, longevity, hustle, business acumen, & quality of music catalog/discography. Immortal Griffen excels in all those areas with a career that started to become familiar with the public circa 1992.
I’ll go further in saying that if you are preparing a Chicago All Time Top 10 MCs List and he is not on it, then your list is inaccurate. Bold statement, I know, but I’m prepared to stand behind it. However, if you are reluctant to believe I understand. Only few people had access to his 90s catalog. Those who did were very responsive. He remained one of the most popular and most requested artists on my Time Travel Show. You can also ask many other Chicago greats such as Rubberoom, Spalaney’s, Gravity, etc..., and they are likely to sing high praises as well.
Thru out the 90s, Immortal Griffen was relentless in his pursuit to write and record music. It’s extremely rare that I’ve met an MC as productive and prolific as him. The abundance of music he recorded between ’92-’99 is astounding. The frustrating part is most of still remains unreleased. There are solo albums, plus a wealth group projects; Cyanide, Syllabyss Illabyss, Chicagoutfitt, Freeloadz, JP Schmedrick, Avalanche Branch, etc…
Even with recording all of this music, he found time to start his own label, Unlabeled Records, to release not only his music, but also his crew and others in the Chicago area that he respected. Thus also establishing him as a leader and inspiration to other young artists in the city, teaching them that it is possible to do it yourself and don’t wait around for someone to discover you.
His hustle wasn’t limited to making music, but also in attempts to get it heard. He stayed active in getting it in the right hands. I’m pretty sure no other artists dropped off more demos to the Time Travel Radio Show than Griffen. He was also a regular on the opposite side of town, at Southside’s Pride WHPK. He was also active in being out at the various Hip Hop events. He didn’t let not having a car, or whatever other ridiculous excuses artists always had, be a barrier that prevented him from being where he needed to be.
It’s because of these combined factors that nearly 20 years after the time I first heard him, Griffen is still active, hustling, producing a stream of quality music, and still being presented opportunities. He’s been able to maintain a sustainable career in the music business, with basically no assistance from the industry itself. He created his own luck and success. Which most recently, lead to him impressing a Hip Hop legend. Scarface (of Ghetto Boys) signed Griffen to a deal last year and they are in the process of releasing his album, “Apotheosis” in 2012, for Scarface’s Face Mob Music label.
All that and more is discussed in what has previously only been the whispered legend of the man known as the Immortal Griffen:
PART ONE: Discusses the early years of Immortal Griffen including, first demos, the meaning of the name, staring his own label, and the Cyanide Crew!!
PART TWO: Breaks down the various crews that Griffen was a part of; Chicagoutfitt, Freeloadaz, & JP Schmedrick. Plus the unreleased "Theater Of The Mind" album and his move to LA.
PART THREE: Grif gives the scenario on how he connected with Scarface and got signed to Face Mob Music!! It's an inspirational story! Plus we talk about the pros & cons of coming up in Chicago, upcoming projects, and his music archive!!
I’m currently on a mission to lead a campaign to make sure these unreleased Immortal Griffen projects get released. Not only does the world need to hear them, I’ve personally waited too long myself…let’s do this Griffen ☺ Perhaps what I’m most excited about is what would have been his debut album, “Theater Of The Mind” (conceived before other albums of the same title). Below is a collection of songs that give a nice glimpse of his early recorded music leading up to his perfecting of crafting songs; ’92-’99.
Let The Pen Speak For I '92: Produced by Heritage and featuring Grav on the hook and final verse. This is Griffen's first real recorded song.
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Pen-Speaks-For-I-feat-Grav.mp3|titles=Pen Speaks For I feat Grav]
Anuff Iz Anuff '93/'94: This is the second song I ever heard from Griffen. I remember making a trip to New York with this in hand. On that trip I met EL P for the first time. He was in the process of getting ready to drop Fun Crusher EP. When he heard this, he bugged out and had to get a dub:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Immortal-Griffen-Anuff-Iz-Anuff.mp3|titles=Immortal Griffen-Anuff Iz Anuff]
"NFL"(From "Theater Of The Mind" '95):Yeah, this type of thing has been done before but I challenge you to find someone who’s done it better...as good perhaps, better? hmm....
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Immortal-Griffen-NFL-1.mp3|titles=Immortal Griffen-NFL 1]
"Creature Of The Mic" [From Theater Of The Mind '97: This is the underground classic. It perfectly illustrates his hinger to make music, even if exaggerated for effect. Ill concept:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Immortal-Griffen-Creature-Of-The-Mic-97-1.mp3|titles=Immortal Griffen-Creature Of The Mic '97 1]
Windy City Warlord '99: This is the title track to album he was working on in '99 that never dropped.
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/02-Windy-City-Warlord.mp3|titles=02 Windy City Warlord]
GRIFFEN DEMO DOWNLOAD: Click to D/L all 5 songs above!!