As part of the Pacific Northwest indie rap collective Oldominion, Grayskul made a name for themselves regionally with futuristic sci-fi raps over gloomy, innovative production from the likes of Mr. Hill and Smoke before catching the attention of Rhymesayers Entertainment while touring with Eyedea & Abilities. Opening for Atmosphere on the At It Again Tour in 2005, emcees Onry Ozzborn (aka Reason) and JFK (aka Recluse) took to the stage with aliens draped over their shoulders and televisions set to static on either side of the turntables. From the early days of their existence, it was clear that Grayskul was on another plane.
A host of tour-only releases paired with RSE albums Deadlivers and Bloody Radio put Grayskul on the national map, with indie rap icons such as Slug, Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, Cage and Pigeon John making appearances. Occupying the roles of superheroes and vampires on the aforementioned records, Onry and JFK combined seemingly disparate elements of abstract, goth, horrorcore, and free associative lyricism into something fresh. “Prom Quiz”, from Grayskul’s RSE debut Deadlivers, married their outsider worldview with accessible narratives and catchy production. In 2009 they released a joint effort with Chicago producer and longtime Qwel collaborator Maker under the name Graymaker, before taking some time apart to focus on a variety of projects such as Dark Time Sunshine (Onry), Building Wings on the Way Down, and Th3rdz (JFK).
The time off from Grayskul gave Onry and JFK the opportunity to polish their respective blades before stepping back into the booth to record Zenith, their first release on Fake Four, Inc. The entire album was conceived, written, and recorded in Momentum Studios in Seattle under the watchful ear of sound engineer Zebulon Dak. Zenith finds Onry and JFK at their storytelling finest, examining school shootings, hollow social media existence, fatherhood, and the false allure of the club under explosive production handled by Aesop Rock, Smoke, Void Pedal, and Moodie Black. Raekwon starts the show in classic Wu fashion with a spoken intro, and the record also features guest shots from Aesop, Solilla, Reva DeVito, and Fake Four labelmate Terra Lopez of Sister Crayon. True to its title, the 17-track Zenith is the masterfully produced and executed crown jewel of Grayskul’s decade in the indie rap game.
released 17 September 2013
All lyrics written & performed by JFK (Jeffrey L. Bautista for Gunman Lyrics/ASCAP) &Onry Ozzborn (Michael S. Martinez for No Hoax Music /ASCAP) except the following..
ZENITH has a guest appearance from Raekwon the Chef (Corey Woods /BMI)
COME ON features cuts by
D.J. Spark / Sparkerlewis @Sparkerlewis Sandpeoplemusic.com
THE GIFT features Reva DeVito (Reva Maureen Wiltberger for Reva DeVito Music /ASCAP)
I ADAPT features
A. Sarton and A. Brooks (Solillaquists of Sound) BMI, and Nyqwil of Oldominion.
CLUBS features Katie Kate, &Thaddeus David of Moor Gang
WIDE AWAKE features David Lincoln Mann /BMI on vocals &Themes
(Jacy McIntosh on synths &
Kelsey Crawford on vocals)
THERES IS NO EDGE features Ali Baker (guitar, violin, &vocals)
BAD BUISNESS features Xperience / Tyler W. Andrews /ASCAP
NOT GOING ANYWHERE features Aesop Rock /I. Bavitz for 21 Bazooka Salute (SESAC)
U.F.O. features that nigga Snafu of Oldominion
#s 1, 6, 11, &14 Produced by
Smoke M2D6 (M. Smokovich /ASCAP)
#2 Produced by 6 Fingers for Carpaltunnel Vision /ASCAP
#s 3, 5, 15, &16 Produced by Void Pedal for Void Pedal Productions /ASCAP
#s 4, &7 Produced by Taco Neck for Lil Beirut /ASCAP
#8 Produced by Pale Soul for Headlock Muzak /ASCAP
#s 9 &10 Produced by Bruce Waine Beatz for Timothy William Gray/ASCAP
#12 Produced by Kuddie Fresh for Kuddie Fresh Since1999 publishing/ASCAP)
#13 Produced by Aesop Rock /I. Bavitz for 21 Bazooka Salute (SESAC)
#17 Prod by Marcus D.
courtesy of Marcus D productions for Marcus D Marino/ASCAP
#18 Produced by Kdeath of Moodie Black for GAHEDINDIE Record House /ASCAP