The story of MF Grimm a.k.a Percy Carey is a screenplay waiting to happen or at the least a book waiting to be read*. His story is filled with tragedy, triumph, adversity, alliances, and nearly everything in-between, which is also reflected in his music. The early 90s saw Grimm start to demand attention with a series of vocal appearances on wax/CD, radio show freestyles, such as on The Stretch Armstrong Hosted By Bobbito, and his infamous New Music Seminar MC Battles.
It was those moments that turned me into an official MF Grimm fan. His entertaining extremities such as warning MCs that, “Street Battles turn to FED cases”, led to me listing him as one of the illest MCs to watch out for in the debut issue of my Caught In The Middle Magazine in ’94, courtesy the Microphone Mathematics Column. One day I got a call from Bobbito, who informed me about Grimm’s, then recent, situation of being shot and paralyzed. He told me he had visited Grimm and taken him a copy of the article to read in order to bring some positive energy his way (or something to that effect). In the midst, of going thru that dark period in life, the encouraging words were appreciated and later when I was visiting New York to do some research I was invited to visit Grimm at his home in Manhattan. It was cool to meet him and his peoples, as well as talk a bit about this history, which I then discovered was very intriguing, to say the least.
Looking back to the beginning, I believe that MF Grimm first got on my radar after reading about his appearance at the New Music Seminar MC Battle of ’93. There was talk of him annihilating MCs all day long until a rumored controversial loss to Supernatural. Not long after he started to pop up on records such as Kurious “Baby Bust It”, K.M.D “What A Ni**a Know Remix”, Kool G Rap “Take Em To War” and his solo 12”, “So Whatcha Want”. In each moment, he shocked and captivated listeners with a steady stream of brutal imagery, shot out verbally with impressive precision and purpose.
Right as the 90s were slipping away, MF Grimm started to experiment more with this flow, content, and concepts, opening the door to different lyrical realms and giving revitalized meaning to the Many Flows association, which was one of many possible definitions of the MF attached to the front of his name. Over the next decade+ he explored many vocal techniques, never completely abandoning his gift for dark visuals, but often significantly altering the manner in which he manifested them. With his latest release, "Good Morning Vietnam", he has quite possibly discovered the best perfect balance of his original style merged with his well-aged experience and versatility.
The approximate 20-minute EP is meticulously put together in a seamless, but explosive fashion. The production is cinematic and dramatic, effectively providing a range of soundscapes for Grimm to make vital use of his years of acquired mastery and varied microphone mechanics. Even when the music is comprised of beautiful sounds, the gritty tuning and sparse programming of the drums keeps it grounded in the battlefield environment that the title suggests. The loops are charmingly imperfect. The words are aggressive and intelligent, with healthy traces of nerd-worthy references. The means in which the tracks melt and morph into each other never leaves time for a mental breather, the listener is enchanted for the duration and left hungry for repeated listens when the experience has concluded.
The chaos is controlled, but you are advised not to get to comfortable, as this is war. Good Morning Vietnam indeed…
Written By Kevin Beacham
*This actually exists, Grimm wrote a book on his life called “Sentences: The Life Of MF Grimm”. I haven’t read it yet, but this article just reminded me to seek it out and do so…