A wise man once said that success isn’t measured by what you accomplishment but by the obstacles you overcome. If that sentiment holds any weight, then Camden, NJ lyricist Gramm is one of the most successful MCs to ever touch a microphone.
The product of every possible pitfall one could encounter growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Gramm pours his pains, frustrations, redemptions and lessons learned from a past life of crime into melodic musical testimonies.
Making a name for himself with a small handful of regionally released singles and mixtapes, Gramm (formerly known as Grammar) is due to set the world on fire with unapologetic, reality-based rhymes on his forthcoming mixtape The Rededication aka REDASH
“Because we’re in a bad environment doesn’t mean that you have to take on the mindset of that environment,” Gramm admits. “I rap about a new found change I had from being in the streets. I got to see a lot of wrongs and see life from a lot of different sides. My own upbringing was crazy within itself so I have a lot to say in my music.”
Born Terance Williamson in the Pollock Town section of Camden, Gramm’s early life was a constant spiral of turmoil. “Pollock Town was rough,” he admits. “But it was all I knew. You don’t really realize how rough your environment is until you get out of it. Coming up out of there was less than possible for most cats.”
Not unlike many other young, Black men from the bricks, Gramm is familiar with instability and uncertainty. His mother gave him up for adoption when he was only four years old. Subsequently, that was the last time he had seen his father as well. And even though his foster parents did everything they could to give young Terance the proper Christian upbringing, he still fell victim to the streets early in life.
His behavior had gotten so bad that his parents kicked him out of the house when Gramm was only 16. Hopping from one family member’s couch to the next and then to sleeping on park benches, he found himself at a crossroads. On his 18th birthday, he was serving time in county jail on burglary charges.
He was facing five years and had already spent six months behind bars. He knew that he would either be swallowed up by the streets or do something positive to turn his life around.
“I said to God ‘if you truly are real, I need you to show me,’” he recalls, ‘”and if you show me, I’ll walk with you from here on in…’ And I stayed true to that promise.”
Two weeks later, the charges were mysteriously dropped to misdemeanor trespassing. The judge handed him three years on probation and he was ordered to get a job and to attend college.
He enrolled in Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., where he majored in worship studies and music.
“I was brought up on Christianity, God and going to church,” says Gramm. “I didn’t follow it because I felt like it was forced down my throat since childhood. So I always knew God. It’s like learning to ride a bike; you don’t forget it. You always have that since of right from wrong.”
It was during this same time that Gramm revisited an old passion for hip hop that started when he started rapping at age seven. He began to perfect his craft and also became head of Bridging the Gap Urban Ministries in Virginia and became a major part of the Blood Pakt, a group that trains and sharpens the skills of aspiring Christian rappers.
In 2007, he was featured on Christian rapper Humble Tip’s highly popular single “Dat Bangin' Cypha.” Then, in 2009, he dropped his mixtape debut The Dedication and distributed it throughout the Northeast. That same year, he appeared on Humble Tip’s single "Lethal Poison.” The videos for both “Dat Bangin’ Cypha” and “Lethal Poison” became highly visible on many video shows and networks including the Gospel Music Channel.
Since, he has kept his name ringing with collaborative mixtapes with fellow independent rappers Monro,Prominence and Mell Omii
“My music is about my beliefs, my experiences, my heart and how I feel about things,” Gramm explains. “It’s not even about Christian rap. We don’t have to take every bad situation given to us lying down. We can make our situations different. We can change ourselves in a bad situation.”
Continuing to pass on that knowledge, Gramm is readying for the late spring release of forthcoming mixtape The Rededication aka REDASH Adding to his performance roster, Gramm is also pursuing another of his childhood dreams of acting in feature films & TV shows.
He has played the role of an extra in Lifetime program “Drop Dead Diva,” A&E network drama “Coma,” Queen Latifahʼs remake of “Steel Magnolias,” and Tyler Perry's film “For Better or For Worse.” Added to that, Gramm is also working on the soundtrack to straight-to-video short film “Goodfella.”
With no plans of letting up in the future, Gramm is going full speed ahead ... His voice is clear and concise as he speaks from the heart...
“When you tell people that you do gospel rap or Christian rap, they turn off immediately. This is from experience,” he contends. “So I’ve taken the labels off since they got people tripping but my message is still in my music. When I tell people I’m just an artist, they’re much more receptive.”