words by Eamon Whalen
What does it mean to live free? On the eve of an election day with truly horrid stakes, this question is at the center of Greg Grease's installment of the AstralBeat Theories, the third in a series of solo EPs by members of Grease's Minneapolis outfit ZULUZULUU.
Over the span of five tracks, Grease precisely twists syllables over understated soulful production with a working-mans humility. Through anecdotes and diary-page-like personal dilemmas, his verses take the form of both thoughtful meditations and critical diatribes on Black life, and death in America. And he does what the best art often does, ask more questions than offer answers. Namely, how do you live free when the larger social forces seem hellbent on shortening your life expectancy at all costs?
On the introduction Grease looks to the elders for wisdom, sampling the legendary politically-outspoken comedian Dick Gregory. In so many words, Gregory says that living free means to live without fear, and to maintain that your light shines brighter than the terror brought on by the dark forces of power, what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the plague of western civilization," the "triple-prong sickness" of racism, materialism and militarism.
This Friday you can catch Grease and ZULUZULUU at the third night of their AstralBeat Theory residency at Icehouse.