The most talented of emcees, producers, and DJs dropped by the Troubadour Thursday night to perform to a packed house of Los Angelinos. Hailing from Rhymesayers, the same indie hip-hop label as rap veteran Atmosphere, the set list went something like this: MC Type, Prof & DJ Fundo, and  headliners Grieves & Budo. The sold-out West Hollywood show was the twenty-eighth stop on their first ever headlining tour, named “Together/Apart” after their new album that was released in June.

If I had to choose just one word to summarize this show, it’d be UNREAL! There was so much creativity and talent oozing off the stage that at one point, I felt my head was certain to explode. I was right–eventually it did!

Grieves & Budo have been popping up on everyone’s musical radar these days, and if you haven’t heard of them, then the only logical explanation would be that you’re living under a rock…or just relying on those radio stations for your daily musical fix. I was lucky enough to be introduced to their work by a friend awhile back, and the rest is history. It was love at first track! That seems to be the consensus all around. Earlier this summer, MTV premiered Grieves & Budo’s music video for the single “On The Rocks,” so I am extremely psyched to inform you that these guys are finally getting the exposure they deserve!

In addition to the newly released Together/Apart, Grieves has released three previous albums in the last four years by the names of Irreversible, 88 Keys and Counting, and The Confessions of Mr. Modest, all of which are worth buying/listening to. This Chicago native by way of Seattle has locked his craft down. He’s nearly mastered his art form and only puts out consistent and confident records.

The new album is an attestation to just how solid this guy is as a rapper, so don’t walk, RUN to buy Together/Apart. It. Is. Brilliant. Stay on the lookout for singles “Bloody Poetry,” “On The Rocks,” “Against The Bottom,” and “Lightspeed.” My personal favorite tracks are “Boogie Man” and “Heartbreak Hotel,” but really who am I kidding? It’s all good!

Photo by: Bryant Shim

Now on to the show… I’ve seen Grieves & Budo perform three times now, and I have to say the third time was a charm! Don’t get me wrong, the other two performances I saw–at this year’s Paid Dues and Van’s Warped Tour festivals–were great. However, there’s something about headlining that changes the whole essence of an artist’s performance. They just completely let loose and gave fans their absolute all, which Grieves & Budo did, zooming off the side of the stage and immediately hitting the crowd with “Bloody Poetry” as the show’s opener. The song’s soulful piano accompaniment just made you want to close your eyes and vibe with it. Hands started to go up, bodies started moving, fans started singing, and the set had officially begun!

The entire show was kick-ass, I’m sorry there’s just no other way to put it! Grieves brought his A-game, rapping and singing to his songs with passion and energy. He chatted it up with the audience and just looked like he was having a good ol’ time all around. In addition to the rapper himself, producer Budo also shared the stage and was giving us one hell of a performance.

The Seattle native by way of Brooklyn has produced Grieves’ last two albums, and the outcomes have been unfathomably excellent, a match made in musical heaven no doubt! To put it modestly, Budo’s a one man band. During the show he busted out an electric guitar, then all of a sudden he had a trumpet in his hand, then he was back playing the keys, all the while you’re thinking “WOW! Is that one man up there really doing ALL that?” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he is, and I’d bet good money that that’s not even the half of it.

Photo by: Bryant Shim

This collaboration is one of the most well fit and innovative that I’ve seen in a while! Grieves & Budo fed off of each other’s energy throughout the entire performance in a way that was contagious. By the end of the set, when the duo performed their hit “I Ate Your Soul” off the Irreversible album, the whole crowd had been taken over by that energy. Everyone just started singing the lyrics, perfectly clear, and extremely LOUD! Other old favorites that were performed were “Scar Gardens,” “Pack It Up” (which may be the best modern-day rap/love song around), “Irreversible,” and the show’s closer, “Gwenevieve.”

A little before the show started, I caught Budo standing out by the merchandise table. “First headlining tour, how’s it going?” I asked. “It’s like a huge science experiment. We just didn’t know what to expect!” he responded wide-eyed. So I edged on, “Good turnout at all the shows?” What I received back was a definitive and excited “Yes!”

While my friends were in line to get some autographs and buy some merchandise after the show ended, I got to talking to MC Type & Prof, the two performers who opened for Grieves & Budo. Everyone was in an infectiously good mood, cracking jokes here, snapping pictures there, handing out CDs, etc. The place was alive with fans and artists just sharing anecdotes and enjoying themselves!

When it finally came time to talk to Grieves & Budo, I snapped a few shots, thanked them for a great show, and asked Grieves the following: “So how was LA tonight? Did we do you proud?” He answered “Yes,” so I threw another one at him: “Were they rowdy?” “No not rowdy,” he told me, “They were perfect!” Well, what a coincidence! Those were my thoughts exactly…Grieves & Budo, you guys were PERFECT that night!

Check out Grieves’ music video for the single “On The Rocks!”

For more info on Grieves and Budo, check out their official site , as well as their Rhymesayers’ artist profile.