Beloved Atlanta Hip-Hop artist Grip Plyaz has passed away after a years-long fight against a rare form of cancer.
Grip Plyaz may not have been well-known outside of Atlanta, but many of your favorite Atlantans knew exactly who he was. Hailing from Atlanta’s “Old 4th Ward,” which is often recognized as one of the birthplaces of Atlanta’s trap sound, Grip was known his unique blend trap and underground Hip-Hop that allowed him to move in many circles. While he was a fixture and icon in Atlanta’s underground Hip-Hop scene mentoring the likes of KEY!, Two-9 and Trinidad James he also worked with Dungeon Family members Killer Mike and Backbone. He was also an associate of Yelawolf‘s SLUMERICAN collective and recorded songs with Strange Music artist Rittz.
Throughout the mid and late 2000s Grip rocked stages at many festivals including A3C, SXSW and Leaders of the New Cool. He released three projects, 2005’s CUMGITSLUM, 2008’s GRIP HOP and his final release, 2012’s Purp, Wind, And Fire. Known for a style that was one-part Too Short and one-part Blowfly, Grip won fans over with audacious songs like “Ray Lewis,” “Died In Yo P*ssy” and perhaps his most known song “F*ck That Hipster Sh*t” that was featured on Killer Mike’s 2009 compilation Underground Atlanta.
Grip’s musical output slowed in recent years due to life events including a house fire that left him homeless and ultimately being diagnosed with stage three pleomorphic sarcoma in June 2015 that prevented him from holding down a job. The aggressive rare form of cancer also came with a “five years to live” diagnosis. Upon the diagnosis, a GoFundMe Page was set up by close friend Larry Baker and was supported by the local Hip-Hop community. The initial goal was $2,500 but it wound up getting donations exceeding $17,000.
After a nearly two-year fight against the disease, the cancer spread to other parts of his body, resulting in him suffering cardiac arrest earlier this week and falling into a coma. He passed away early Thursday afternoon.
Journalist Gavin Godfrey wrote an expansive piece on Grip’s life and career for Atlanta alt-paper Creative Loafing that covered the many ups, downs and impacts of his career ranging from being managed by Coack K [Gucci Mane, Jeezy, Migos, Lil Yachty] to giving Yelawolf a place to stay.
“I know some real niggas,” Grip said in the piece, pondering his situation. “It’s like why couldn’t this sh*t happen to them? I’m out here trying to make ends meet and pay child support every month. These n*ggas knocking people over the head, stealing vans, and going to the strip club blowing money fast, but they still live another day healthy as f*ck. Maybe God got they karma coming to them. I question that sh*t like, ‘Damn, what the f*ck? Why me?’ But then again, why not me?”
Grip is survived by his teenaged son Zaid. Known for his crazy sense of humor and authentic accent, Grip’s passing is almost symbolic of the many physical and cultural changes the city of Atlanta is current going through. Peep the some of reactions and celebrations of Grip’s life below.
Photo: Motion Family