For those who haven’t been paying as much attention to the site as they should have been, you may have overlooked Theodore Grams in the last few posts. A young 20 year old rapper from Philadelphia, Theodore Grams has recently been featured on the Xaphoon Jones mixtapes, and is on the Chiddy Bang song “Fresh Like Us”. He’s also released two mixtapes in the last few months, and will soon be following it up with his latest one.
Not only do we have a leak off the new mixtape, exclusive to Beat The Elite Four, we have an indepth interview with the man himself.
First things first, a bit of music for you all to listen to while you read this…
This interview was initially posted on Beat The Elite Four, the old version of this site. The interview was conducted by Felix Morgan.
Okay, so for the people who don’t know about you, why don’t you tell us about your background musically, You seem to have connections with Xaphoon Jones and Proto, from Chiddy Bang? Did you guys grow up together or just friends through music?
Well i’m from uptown Philadelphia, and so is Xaphoon, so when i was in High School, me, my man Triz, and my man Spaz did a performance at Xaphoon’s High School and I was introduced to him, not knowing he lived not too far from me
and from there, we were making music. He went to college, and when i went down to Drexel to record with him, he introduced me to Proto, and from there we all clicked.
My music background stems from my dad mainly. He was big in the afro-cuban community, so i was used to seeing music being made, but I’ve always been addicted to the structure of hip hop, and the culture that goes with it.
You seem to have a lot of electro and indie influences too, with songs featuring people like MGMT and Justice, and a generally unconventional sound which separates you from the crowd. Where does this stem from, and who do you see as your main inspirations and influences?
Xaphoon introduced me to alot of electro music, and I introduced him to the more classic sampling realm, and industrial sound, so it’s like we traded ideas, and really utilized them.
That said, my main influences are like Queen, J Dilla, Kanye, Jay Z, Swizz Beatz, Bangladesh, Justice, to super classic bands like New Birth, Earth Wind and Fire, and The Doors…I could go for days. Good music in general keeps me pushing.
So you mentioned to me earlier that you’ve got a new mixtape coming out soon. How long has this been in the works, and how many tracks are we getting?
Well I dropped my last mixtape “Great job!”, last month in March, so like the day after I dropped it, I was working on the next one. I don’t quite know how many tracks yet, but the last one was 26 tracks, so I think I’ll cut it down to about 10 to 12 good conceptual songs. To the heart, other than just “bounce around” music.
So would you say this one is more personal to you?
More personal than i’ve ever gotten. “Great Job!” had alot of personal info, but this one has more personal concepts, and depth.
Taking a step back back from the mixtape for a sec, let’s talk about the Philadelphia scene as a whole. How much do you think your music has been effected by the scene you’ve grown up in, and where do you think Philly stands in the music industry at the moment?
Philly has had a huge impact on my music. So much goes on in the city, its hard to keep up. like i stayed right off of Germantown ave, and one side of Germantown ave you had 250,000 dollar houses, and bunnies and shit, and the other side you had the hood. Basically taught me that the world can go from sugar to shit in 3.5 seconds, so I knew through my music I had to let that pain out. That fear of “I might never get the chance…”, only made me explore more.
But the Philly scene in the music industry is utterly sickening. We have some of the best talent from hip-hop, electro, neo soul, punk rock, heavy metal, all the way to the infamous b more club music. Like, we take music to the next level here, but the industry is so programmed it’s hard to make it.
But then you have people that get those breaks like Xaphoon, Proto, and a couple of other dudes, and they keep the city’s faith home. There’s no better scene than Philly though. Philly has it’s own industry, it’s own popularity chart, it’s got everything.
Okay, one last question to tie things off. If you could collaborate with any rapper, and have any DJ remix it, who would it be?
This might be a shocker to you haha. I would get Nas, and Lil B from the pack to rap on one of my tracks, and get Xaphoon to remix it. Best track ever haha.
Thanks a lot for the interview. I know you’ve got a few words to say to tie it off, so do your thing…
I just want to thank my daughter, her mom, my dad (rest in peace), my grandmom, my click, dogtown, uptown, Philly, and most importantly, the fans. You’re all my inspiration, and I couldn’t do it without you.