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‘Filthy with experience’: Teamwork 2013 about to erupt - VIDEOS

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 


Compared to last summer when rapper Chae Hawk and producer Grabbitz opened for Talib Kweli, LL Cool J, Curren$y and Salt-N-Pepa, the warm weather season of 2013 has been pretty quiet for the rapper-producer duo.

Until now.

At 8 p.m. Saturday at Waiting Room, Teamwork 2013—a celebration unveiling Chae Hawk’s buzz single, tracks off Grabbitz’s coming EP, “Biodome” and a performance by Crooks—will reunite hip-hop fans with the thought-out lyrics and masterfully-crafted beats that echoed regularly along Buffalo’s waterfront last summer.

Tickets are $8 in advance at Cowpok, 177 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo and $10 at the door. Part of the proceeds from Teamwork 2013 will be donated to Compeer, a national mentoring program for individuals seeking mental wellness.

“I have a friend who works at Compeer of Greater Buffalo,” Hawk explained, “and she told me a little about what she does. Our beliefs definitely coincide: I want my music to impact the community, and she helps people [on the fringes.]”

Shortly after releasing a brief film to accompany ‘Remember this Night” off of his debut album, “Dance Party for the Heavy-Hearted,” Hawk sounded disenchanted with Buffalo’s music community and pledged not to perform live again until he felt he was ready.

“I will be doing no more local appearances until I feel it is the right time to share this project in full. When people can really appreciate and understand truly what it took to make this work come together—as well as understanding the creative presentation,” Hawk told Buffalo.com’s Ben Kirst in a Feb. 2013 interview

His winter and spring were dark months, as Hawk was arrested outside of Toro Tapas Bar, fueling this part-gloomy, part-hopeful Artvoice feature—“Ground Up”—written by Cory Perla. The well-written piece closes with a figurative embrace between Hawk and his home city, stemming from visuals in “Chin Ups.”

“Being in that chair in bondage and then being locked up in that cell, it suddenly clicked in my mind that I’ve been trying to run away from something when I should be running to something,” Hawk says.

That something he refers to is his own city.

“This experience has helped me to appreciate the love that I do have here,” he says. “Buffalo will give me my name and I’m proud to be from here.”

The warm weather has encouraged a change of heart from Hawk, whose new buzz single “Dirty Rich”—debuted live on Saturday—will provide a taste for what his presently unnamed project will entail—he’s deciding between an EP and a full-length.

Asked to explain what “Dirty Rich” meant, Hawk simply said, “It means filthy with experience.” You can let your imagination determine what that means.

“I’ve got my confidence and creative mojo back,” Hawk admitted. “This project is my form of therapy—I’m learning about where I am and who I am [in relation to] the world.”

Throughout the arduous four-year process of weaving together “Dance Party for the Heavy-Hearted,” Hawk reflects that he became too preoccupied with the business side of the music industry and lost focus on who he was as a musician. With music suddenly as the No. 1 priority, community collaboration has been a handy byproduct.

“I’ve been seeing changes, but there’s always been a divide in Buffalo’s hip-hop community,” Hawk explained. “Teamwork 2013 is an example of that change, as it shows that two creative outlets (Team Radio & Compeer) can come together in unison.”

Hawk’s producer—Grabbitz—has solo plans of his own for the near future, as his EP “Biodome” drops in Aug. 2013. The 20-year-old’s music career is beginning to take further shape, though, as he’s dropped the mic and will focus exclusively on producing for the foreseeable future.

“I didn’t want to keep making a fool of myself,” Grabbitz said in a brief interview. “[My rapping] was originally meant to be a joke and I wasn’t doing it too seriously. I got fans but the whole process [of juggling rap and production] became too much. I belong more in the production realm; I want to produce for movies, TV shows and so on.”


Grabbitz’s recent singles “Lock It” and “Dress to Impress” have stampeded around the blogosphere, earning acclaim from This Song Slaps and ranking regularly in the top three of trap music charts.

Crooks, a group of three regular artists that Hawk met last summer, is “organically talented with an honest edge,” according to the headliner. The newcomer to the lineup is still a bit of an enigma, however, so revisiting the talents of Hawk and Grabbitz will also lend an opportunity to experience a new band.

(Photos of Chae Hawk and Grabbitz courtesy of Buffalo.com’s Chuck Alaimo from summer 2012, Cody Osborne from fall 2012—see the full gallery here).

TAGGED: chae hawk, crooks, grabbitz, hip-hop, teamwork 2013, waiting room

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