Getting to know…KUNG FOO GRIP
BY KEEGAN PROSSER
The setting was the Kirkland Transit Center.
It’s the place where emcees Greg Cypher and Eff is H met around 2007, at the suggestion of some mutual friends. At the time, they were a pair of teenagers with a love for music and the dream to make it big. Five years and three mix tapes later, the duo, known collectively as Kung Foo Grip, are on their way to becoming the next big stars in Northwest music.
Hailing from Kirkland and Bellevue, respectively, you might not expect this pair of Eastside-bred 20-year-olds to be aspiring rap artists. But if their slick rhymes, spit over powerful urban beats, are any indication, it’s a stigma they have already begun to shake.
“People talk about [us being from the Eastside], but I don’t really pay attention,” Cypher says. “I feel like this is the Greater Seattle Area, anyways, so I don’t know.”
Inspired by Seattle emcees the Blue Scholars and Macklemore before them, the young rappers have been writing and performing rhymes since their days in middle school – but just recently started attracting attention in the local hip-hop scene.
“Seattle’s just really easy to get your hands dirty – and be out there and learn [the business],” says Cypher, speaking to the urban renaissance that’s developed over the past 10 years. “I feel like just doing it, people see that.”
“And the music got better,” Eff adds.
With help from the artists that inspired them, they’ve made moves: independently recording and releasing a handful of mix tapes online, making connections and playing shows whenever they can.
Influenced by everyday life experiences, Kung Foo Grip’s high-energy tracks touch on themes ranging from working and partying to public transportation and women. But what sets them apart as artists is their ability to grow in their craft. From one release to the next, Cypher and Eff continue to mature in both style and sound – trading amateur “backpack” raps for tighter verses, stronger melodies and more effective flow.
In addition to playing the Vera Stage at last year’s Capitol Hill Block Party, the duo qualified as finalists at the Experience Music Project’s 10th Annual Sound Off! in 2011 – and most recently performed at We Out Here Magazine’s Swag Fest event. This month, they’ll return to the hill, as one of many anticipated acts at this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party.
“We’re trying to see how far we can go – how far we can really take this,” Eff says.
With this attitude, and their voracious hunger to succeed, it seems anything is possible for this lyrically diverse duo.
Kung Foo Grip’s music is available HERE. You can also catch their set at 5 p.m., Friday, July 20, on the Vera Stage at the Capitol Hill Block Party.