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Many artist struggle to establish their musical identity, laboriously trying on different musical styles like an article of clothing, looking to find what fits. But there are others that emerge fully formed, in full command of their craft, their identity and their music. 5 Grand fits firmly in the latter category. His new album, Life is Grand v4; Occupy Wall Street is a captivating body of art that heralds the arrival of a gifted and significant new talent, one whose music will resonate with the masses in the best possible way, while striking out on its own territory.
West Philadelphia native 5 Grand grew up in the Wynnefield section of the city where at a young age he aspired to become a rapper under the heavy influences that hip hop culture had on his life. He explains, “My oldest brother & cousin were a rap group back in the day & I used to watch them with admiration. This is what sparked my interest in music.” He would later begin a rap group with a few of his childhood friends but when music started to take priority in his life over school it created friction between he & his mother. “I left Philly to attend college at Clark Atlanta University in attempt to escape what so many of my peers fell victim to which was the street life, received a 3.5 GPA in engineering my first year in but I wasn’t happy with what I was doing.”
Devastated by the fact that at the time CAU wasn’t an accredited university in engineering it began to feel like a huge waste of time and money. “Neither one of my parents went to college so we were all ignorant to the fact of researching a school before you attend. I just wanted to leave Philly because people were dying, hustling, and going to jail. I wanted a better life. Returning to Philly after my first year in school probably was one of the worse decisions I’ve ever made.” And in that return to his hometown those experiences would began to shape his musical career moving forward. “Once I came back to the city it became harder to resist the temptation of street life. A friend of mine introduced me to hustling cocaine and in an effort to help him I got involved in the game myself. I had access to a large sum of cash, we started making $5000 a night at 19 years old with the help of his cousin so there wasn’t a need for school anymore.” With the sudden death of 3 of his close friends all in succession, 3 months apart, it began to weigh heavy on the conscious of 5 Grand. “I returned to my first love which was music. It was therapeutic for how I was feeling at the time. The community suffered great loses, everyone was somber but only I had the talent to put those emotions in song form. And when my friends begin to embrace what I wrote it encouraged me to continue.” He would go on to form the independent record label, Global Recording Group, with childhood friend and Co-CEO Allen Stokes to professional push his music throughout the industry. “When people hear my music they may initially walk away from it thinking I’m the typical flossy style rapper not knowing my background. The music comes from a real place. The stories are real and that’s what makes it easy for me to compose. But because I grew up on old school hip hop I have the ability to jump in a variety of lanes and that’s what I believe gives me the competitive edge over most.”
Building his network through the likes of acclaimed movie/film director Benny Boom and Juwan Lee, 5 Grand has managed to collaborate with some of the music industry’s most prominent producers; Grammy award winning Maestro, Alex and Harry, Quran Goodman, Don Canon, Chris Styles, Bruce Wayne, and the Architects. He has also written songs for the legendary Teddy Riley and his Godson Nefu the Don (Mr. New York ft Tony Sunshine). Other accolades include songs on the original motion picture soundtrack Next Day Air and Swat II. The first single released on Global Recording Group entitled “Over Here” has achieved mild success on iTunes while the video directed by Dave Patten has peaked over 10k views to date on YouTube. Global Recording Group has also re