Gruf the Druid
2 Sense Squared
Reviewed by Kent Manthie
The new CD by Winnipeg-based rapper Gruf the Druid, 2 Sense Squared is out now, available as a free download through Marathon of Dope (www.ugsmag.com).
It’s a half hour’s worth of old-school rapping: in other words, it’s not the over-stylized, overdone hip-hop, watered-down pop kind of rap, but a bustle of rhymes backed by some dope beats and inventively used samples (voices, sounds, bits of record samples, etc).
The first cut, “Sufferin’ Comfort”, which features Skratch Bastid, is not a bad start. It sets the scene for what’s to come: “The Salt and Seasoning”, “Driving Home”, etc. and then it ends with a mellow, chilled “Not o Canine” – all in all, not a bad day’s work.
Gruf started out as a member of Winnipeg’s Twisted Spirits, back in the early 1990s – so this guy’s been around a while. Twisted Spirits eventually morphed into The Frek Sho and in ’95 they had a single, “Patience”, for which they made a video that made it onto the rotation of Canada’s MuchMusic, which, it turns out, was a first for a hip-hop act. His next move was a collaboration with Pip Skid, one that worked out well, since both seemed to be into counterculture ideas and was influenced by an interest in health, of all things. The two formed a thing called Fermented Reptile, in 1999. After this, he started going his own way, releasing his solo debut in 2001, Druidry.
Gruf can best be described as an “abstract” rapper. He doesn’t have a particular message he dishes out in his lyrics or his image, he doesn’t get deep into political rants or social critiques or polemics, yet there is a bit of the individualistic in his work. Yet, one can also hear him rapping about the mundane; stuff like trees, plants and animals.
It’s been quite a while since his last CD came out – Hopeless (Peanuts and Corn) came out eight years ago. So this new album is a big thing for his fan base who’ve been waiting for something fresh to hit the streets. –KM.