Grey Matter consists of Illustrate and TEMPERMENTAL. One MC and one Producer. It’s a formula that allows each member to showcase their individual craft and allows their music to have a consistent vibe. The group formed in 2001 in Orlando (Ozone), Florida and soon after they released their first single on vinyl “No Question b/c The Problem”. It achieved regular rotation on college radio and was picked up by “Music Choice” for the cable TV hip-hop channel. In 2007, they completed a 40 city US tour with the very talented Solillaquists of Sound. They are currently working on music and performing. Outside of music both TEMP and Illa teach audio engineering at Full Sail University in Orlando.
Illustrate was born and raised in Central Florida and has been listening to hip hop since he was 8 years old. Influenced by early to mid 90′s hip hop he started rapping when he was 14. Moving to Orlando when he was 21 to go to school he was given the job of Producer for an underground radio stations afternoon show. There he met most of the people involved in the local music scene. After earning the respect from the MC’s in the city and re-connecting with TEMP (who first produced for illustrate when he was 17) while at school they formed Grey Matter in ’01. Crediting everyone from every different genre within hip hop as his inspiration, he tries to give to people what he gets out of music.
TEMPERMENTAL has been making beats since 1991. He lives in the crates and literally has thousands of records in his studio. He was born in Central Florida and due to the south’s lack of hip-hop, grew up listening to a combination of New York hip-hop (LL, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, EPMD etc) and Electro – Funk (Africa Bambataa, Planet Patrol, Egyptian Lover etc). He started making beats at the age of 13 by creating pause tapes (using a dual cassette deck to record parts of the beat from one cassette to another). At the age of 15 he bought his first drum machine and sampler (a Yamaha RY-30 and a Peavy SP). In 1995 he upgraded and bought an MPC 3000. Getting the MPC changed the method and focus of his beats and allowed him to take his production to the next level. Currently he makes beats with a combination of an MPC 1000, Acid Pro, Reason, etc etc. TEMP has been influenced by the same producers that most producers list (Premo, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, etc) but also allows himself to be influenced by artists outside of hip-hop. TEMP believes that you have to sometimes get inspiration outside of the genre in order to bring something new to the table.
“The most important part of music is the vibe. I don’t care about lyrical gymnastics and how many metaphors a verse has…or how many ways a sample is chopped…or what the beat was made with. None of that makes any difference if the song doesn’t have a vibe. Music is my life… It’s the soundtrack that gets me through the day. With Grey Matter we try to make songs that you can relate to. We’re trying to show listeners that they’re not alone… we all struggle… we’ve all had relationship problems… we’ve all felt depressed… it’s all part of life… and at the end of the day music is life.” – TEMPERMENTAL of Grey Matter (Producer / DJ)
“My focus has always been making sure that people understand me…I want them to be able to feel the words I’m saying, not just hear them. I know lyrics are super important but I think the flow and delivery of the rhyme take precedence over what is said sometimes. If you have a MC who is lyrically a genius, the message can get lost if the flow isn’t there. For instance, we’ve all gotten into an argument because of something we said and someone took it the wrong way, it’s usually because of how we say it. I try to approach my music like I’m attempting to get the listener to understand exactly what I’m saying and exactly how I mean it. I feel TEMP does the same when it come to his ways and methods of producing our music. And just so we are one the same page, this isn’t some special skill that only we have. To be honest anyone can do it, we just make a conscious effort to make sure that this is the result every time we are in the studio or on the stage. I think this is the reason people tend to gravitate towards us. All of the different moods and feelings that go into Grey Matter music are universal in the sense that everyone can relate to something that we are doing. No one gets left out. I am a huge fan of Hip Hop. I always will be. But even the stuff that I’ve been listening to since I was a kid I cant completely relate to because I come from a different walk of life. Not everyone sells drugs, or gets shot, or goes to the club every night and pops bottles. At the same time not everyone grew up as a backpacker or hipster. But everyone has lived life, good and bad times. Our music is based on that.” – Illustrate of Grey Matter (MC)