“People are pretty much free to do what ever they want here as long as they don’t break the 1 golden rule. Don’t be an idiot.”
– Slab Gram
Slab Gram is a charismatic rapper from Slab City! I met Slab Gram when I was living in San Francisco in 2012 or 2013. He had come up to visit and made his way to an open mic that I frequented, which was close to the Haight District at the Sacred Grounds Cafe. I heard him perform his songs and immediately took a liking to his lyrics, rap flow, and his energy. Something about Slab Gram stood out to me from the dozens of other performers I had witnessed that month. Slab Gram seemed to be a living symbol of being yourself, a symbol of freedom. As I shared my sandwich with him and had heart to heart conversations, one musician to another, one human to another, I hoped that he would find a home at our open mic because of the flavor he added to it. Slab Gram graced our open mic and made for a night that I will never forget. He eventually went back down South and visited our open mic periodically, but I kept in touch with him all these years.
Slab Gram’s style of music is quite experimental and very much DIY but still fun to listen to, especially when he Gram performs live. Slab Gram is part of the Slab City community in the Sonoran Desert in Southern California which is often referred to as “The Slabs.” You may have seen footage of Slab City on YouTube or in the popular 2007 movie “Into The Wild” which was actually filmed on location. You may have even heard of parts of Slab City, perhaps their DIY museum and open mic “The Range.” If you are lucky enough, you’ve even gotten to visit this unique place and meet the gentle human, Slab Gram.
Rock the Pigeon had the privilege of interviewing one of Slab City’s own, Slab Gram more recently about his hip-hop music and about his experience living in one of the most unique places in North America.
The song “Seize the Day” talks a little bit about Alexander Supertramp which is the inspiration for the movie Into The Wild. slab Gram dives into chasing his dreams and living the lifestyle of his choice in this song. Enjoy it on SoundCloud and check out the interview.
“I never stopped writing since 1998.”
RTP: How long have you been making music?
Slab Gram: I’ve been writing songs since senior year of high school. Those were all metal songs though. I never stopped writing since 1998. I didn’t start writing hip hop songs until the summer of 2014.
RTP: How long have you lived in slab city?
Slab Gram: I moved here in February of 2012.
RTP: For those who have never heard of it, how would you describe slab city?
Slab Gram: It’s the most unique place you could ever see. It’s a place where anything can happen and might happen. Nothing I ever see here surprises me. People are pretty much free to do what ever they want here as long as they don’t break the 1 golden rule. Don’t be an idiot.
RTP: What’s the music scene like there? Are people supportive of each other’s art? What about of people outside Slab City?
Slab Gram: The music scene here is pretty primitive for the most part. Pretty much every musician plays acoustic music that works well at the range as well as around a campfire. People are very supportive of each others art here in slab city. Pretty much everyone here is an artist in one way or another whether is music, painting, drawing, cooking, woodworking, poetry, the list goes on and on. You name and there’s usually someone who does it out here.
“Why do I stay? I have been all over this country and Slab City is the closest thing to freedom that I have found.”
RTP: What is the best thing about Slab City?
Slab Gram: The best thing about the slabs to me is i can do what ever i want to do. If i want to sleep in, write music, watch movies, hang with friends or just avoid people all together, slab city gives me the freedom to do that. Why do I stay? I have been all over this country and Slab City is the closest thing to freedom that I have found. The reason I stay is because this place is so unique. I once heard a guy say slab city is a place where anything can happen and might happen. Pretty much sums it up.
You can hear more music for Slab Gram here through SoundCloud:
Written by Ryan Cassata