by Uther Blakwhel
Listening to the new EP, Astralbeat Theories 3 by Minneapolis-based M.C./Producer Greg Grease gave me the feeling that this M.C. was interviewing and narrating to the listener simultaneously.
Greg Grease greets me and the other passengers before our journey begins with soulful and subtle jazz trumpets that soar through the air as a prelude for something special to come on “Soul Intro“-“Let me smoke something while I waste my time. Let me roll something just to ease my mind. Just breathe. Expand your vision to relax recline, we free.”As I get to my seat and settle in “Everybody Cool” comes over the speakers. The journey begins with Greg Grease as the navigator. He poses a question to all passengers, “Everybody wanna be cool. Why nobody wanna be free?” The song opens up with a cool jazz piano riff that affirms, supports and guides the song with the same boldness as any firm and strong bassline would. Laced with just the right amount of percussion to make you forget that there is no bass on “Everybody Cool” and that the song is so mesmerizing that it’s not needed.
Everyone is relaxed and slightly contemplative after hearing “Everybody Cool.” I can see heads bobbing slowly down the aisle as mine joins in when “Frequencies (featuring MMYYKK)” comes on. The slow and steady pulsing drumbeat and driving bass line puts everyone in sync. The iniquity of the American criminal justice system for young black males is felt on “Frequencies.” MMYYKK sings, “Stop waiting on the frequencies to change” which basically means that you can’t wait for change to come you have to make it happen yourself.
I recline in my seat to further enjoy trip I’m on. The cosmic highway is cool. Greg Grease comes over the speakers and talks about “LFDO.” He proclaims over the speakers that “We just wanna live free and die old.” The verse is so simple and profound at the same time! Piano keys and bass that give a less is more jazz soul feel that would make Marvin Gaye proud. I look to my left and right and see that I’m not the only one singing “Live Free, Die Old.” The cosmic ride is almost over.
A church organ starts with a slow but steady drumbeat. The organ gets replaced by funky keys. Greg Grease has started church service speaking about that “Riverlife” Greg Grease goes from navigator to preacher with MMYYKK singing as his choir.”Dirty spokes from roadways that’s unpaid. See how I’m rollin’, livin’ that Riverlife.” Franz Diego comes in “O.G.’S teach keep the peace don’t blow up the spot and don’t invite your homeboys who get fucked up alot.” “Riverlife” is about just wanting to have a peaceful chill time with no drama. The cosmic ride has come to an end. All the passengers exit and feel better about the end of the day. Soulful, reflective, hip-hop jazz laced music that calms and intrigues at the same time, is the best way to describe M.C./Producer Greg Grease’s Astralbeat Theories 3 EP. This emcee delivered a philosophical, inquisitive hip-hop jazz and soul record with a less is more jazz feel that truly delivers!