Review Summary: One of the most consistent albums in recent times."I live it, I breath it; it's all I know"
Percy Carey is a survivor. Also known as MF Grimm, he has survived several murder attempts and eleven gunshots, resulting in paralysis from the legs down. In 2000 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for narcotics and conspiracy, but Grimm was determined to study prison law books and get his sentence shortened. After being released in 2003, MF Grimm made a resurgence as one of the best emcees to come from the '90s hardcore scene, appearing on releases such as Digital Tears: E-mail from Purgatory
and Special Herbs and Spices Volume 1
. One of his most notable releases, however, is Scars & Memories
. Although the majority of the songs were recorded the decade prior, the original song reels were stolen, forcing Grimm to re-record much of that material.
What separates Scars & Memories
from the vast array of other hip-hop albums released is the inclusion of radio interviews, acting as a sort of chronology of where Grimm was at mentally, often in relation to the song which follows. These segments give insight into not only Grimm, but the music within the album, whether he is discussing inner city violence, hip-hop or his philosophies.
Hailing from Manhattan, New York, it's to be expected that much of MF Grimm's lyrical content revolves around the violence that surrounded him, much of which participated in at the time. In the classic "King of New York", he spits, "There's three rules I live by, boy: crush, kill, destroy" over a clanky, dark East Coast beat. In the vicious yet catchy "So Watcha Want?", he calls out the hordes of gangsta rap poseurs and boasts "I'll put the Starsky and Hutches in motherfu
ckin crutches". And he meant it.
Elsewhere on songs such as "Bloody Love Letter" and "Dedication", the pace and tone is mellowed in favor of introspection. "Bloody Love Letter" finds a much more heartfelt MF Grimm, as he reads out the fictional letter he writes after being, "Life is blunt, death is sharp as a blade. I hope you meet another love and all the pain will fade." Here his flow is like liquid as the words constantly flow; not once does anything seem harsh or typically hardcore in this ghetto tragedy of a song. In the latter, Grimm and Squeeze rap over light beats and some chorus trumpet, detailing camaraderie among crews and friends; "Some passed away, now they livin' up above, but not even death can separate the love".
The variety of producers here (including MF DOOM) enhance Scars & Memories
to the point that one could not imagine how an album such as this would sound otherwise. The two aforementioned styles of thought appear throughout the rest of Scars & Memories
, whether it be in nostalgic bangers like "Crumb Snatchers" and "The Original" or tracks that demonstrate, through perhaps Percy Carey's own attitude when the album was mostly written, how much more there is to life than living in constant fear and violence. Surrounded by death and the loss of comrades, family and friends, seeing MF Grimm stand
so confidently on the cover only furthers the message.