Photo by Athena Delene
At the pinnacle of the independent hip-hop movement, Oakland’s The Grouch and Los Angeles’ Eligh formed the duo G&E. “The first day I met this guy, he wanted to get in the studio and create; I had some equipment. We ended up back in my basement sampling vinyl and recording songs. I don't do that with just anybody,” recalls The Grouch, who has worked with legions of artists as an MC and producer.
Fast forward many years later, The Grouch & Eligh have cemented themselves as salient artists who have maintained legions of loyal fans across the globe while consistently releasing music that stays true to their roots, yet remains relevant in today’s ever-evolving landscape. The duo have recorded three official albums together; “G&E Music Vol. 1 & 2”, “No More Greener Grasses”, and “Say G&E!”. Outside of their collaborative efforts, the two are established solo producers and MC’s who have toured the globe and shared the stage with world-class artists. After hundreds of songs carefully crafted together, The Grouch summates, “Eligh and I love to record music together. For the most part, we see eye to eye in and out of the studio”.
On February 18, 2014, The Grouch & Eligh released their latest collaboration, a triple disc project titled, “The Tortoise and The Crow”, comprised of one collaboarative G&E disc called, “333”; one solo disc from The Grouch called, “Lighthouses”; and one solo disc from Eligh called, “Nomads”. The triple disc was the first of its kind in the world of hip-hop, and was met with critical and acclaim as well as debuting on the Billboard Heatseekers chart at #1, and #12 on the Rap charts.
Comparing the title to an allegory or fable, Grouch deduces, “We make music with a message, music that people can get something out of.” While Eligh’s 2010 album introduced his Grey Crow persona, The Grouch admits his newfound affinity for the tortoise. “I speak steady and my rap-style is slower than a lot of people—definitely Eligh’s flawless machine gun flow." Slow and steady wins the race’ is a philosophy we align ourselves with.” Albeit not a "concept album" the group embraced the imagery in delivering their latest fully-formed triple LP.
This collection of songs is particularly meaningful to the evolution of G&E. “We started exploring places we hadn’t before,” reveals The Grouch. “By the time we turned on beats, there was so much to say.” Whether the abstract poetics of the Exile produced “AkFam” or Beatle-esque experimental musicality of “Fireflies,” the duo feels reinvented, despite a proud history. “For any fresh listeners that think we’re a brand new group, that’s fine,” says Eligh, who opened up about overcoming addiction on last year’s Therapy At 3 solo effort. The most polished work from the pair to date boasts guest appearances and production from Pretty Lights, Slightly Stoopid, Kreayshawn, Ant of Atmosphere, Blu and Exile, Zion I’s Amp Live, Pigeon John and Starky to name a few. Eligh describes G&E's music as “multidimensional and relevant.” Grouch adds, “It’s music for humans. Let the soundwaves take you where you're supposed to go.”