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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Gr& Phee
Monday, July 16, 2007

Born in Alabama and raised in Buffalo, NY, Gr& Phee spent most of his childhood experiencing what he calls a “typical low income upbringing.” Despite this, music still found a way to permeate his household and by the time the 8th grade rolled around Gr& Phee was writing his own rhymes. He’s quick to say the lyrics were “nothing great,” but he stuck with it. Phee remembers, “I didn’t have a lot of friends, but I always could remember a song word for word even if it was brand new.” Now he not only has his own songs memorized, rather than simply the songs of others, but a heck of a title as VP of Operations at Buffalo based DeepThinka Records. Generating a buzz in a place most known for a missed field goal can be tough, though, and with the recent release of his album with Rhyson Hall, Detained @ The Border, he’s been constantly on the move trying to make things happen. This week Phee sat down with me to talk to me about the album, his travels, and how Eva Mendes finds her way into his presidential aspirations.

Adam Bernard: Earlier this year you released an album with Rhyson Hall titled Gr& Phee and Rhyson Hall are Detained @ The Border. What kind of a statement were you looking to make by naming your album this?
Gr& Phee: Detained @ The Border is the kind of work that changes what comes out after it, like a new standard for music. It’s a reality concept album and you don’t see many of those. So much stuff comes out nowadays with no message at all, let alone a positive one. The name of the album, like Hip-Hop, can be taken in many different directions than the obvious. My mission is to eliminate the negative stigma of Hip-Hop today. I know, good luck!.

Adam Bernard: The lyrical content on Detained @ The Border is especially grabbing. What messages were you looking to get across to the listener?
Gr& Phee: There are a couple messages in this album, but it’s up to the listener to decide where he wants to take them. Like “Home Skillet” featuring Eturnia, this joint is discussing the pros and cons of our home towns from an indie point of view, while “Y U Mad!?!” is an anthem for disgruntled heads who’ve had enough of BET.

Adam Bernard: You’re VP of Operations at DeepThinka Records, which is in Buffalo, New York, not exactly the epicenter of the music world. How are you going about getting your music heard while in a place that’s closer to Canada than NYC?
Gr&Phee: We just got back from the Code Brown Tour where we hit the Midwest; Minneapolis, Iowa, South Dakota. We tour at least once a year and we try to hit up all the big events like CMJ, Scribble Jam, North By Northeast, etc. Our next goal is to try to get to Europe in the next year.

Adam Bernard: It’s interesting you mention the overseas market. I’m wondering, in what ways, if any, has the nationwide slump in album sales affected your goals as an artist? Have you changed what aspects of the game you’re focusing on?
Gr& Phee: Yes and no. My goals have changed as far as I see that retail sales and royalties are not my bread and butter. Live shows are where it’s at. So I keep up with as many DJs as I can to keep my music out there without having a budget as I try to get my base higher.

Adam Bernard: OK, you’re on a label called DeepThinka Records, you released a thought provoking album, so let’s say it’s 2008 and Gr& Phee becomes president, what changes would you make as the head of the country?
Gr& Phee: I would first go get the troops and take them all to Rock The Bells. Then I would have my first lady, Eva Mendes, make Bar-B-Q for them after the show. Then I would have the entire secret service relocate to urban areas to combat police brutality. Every person in the ghetto will have private security.

For more Gr& Phee check out myspace.com/grandphee & deepthinka.com and you can pick up Detained @ The Border at CDBaby.com.

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