Rapper, Tulane alum Grosser debuts grungy new mixtape

Julia Engel, Contributing Reporter

Musical artist and Tulane alum Andy Gross, better known as Grosser, threw down his mixtape “Calm As Things Better Not To Tell,” at a release party Feb. 25 at Gasa Gasa. Born and bred New Orleans hip-hop groups SLAUORDER and Krewe of 77 set the tone for one of Grosser’s most eyebrow-raising performances yet.

Andy Gross has always had his hands in music in one way or another. In high school, Grosser began freestyling regularly with friends.

“I noticed I had a more natural gift for it than my peers, that it was easier for me than for them,” Grosser said.

With many friends and family in the audience, Grosser was anxious to debut his work, a culmination of two years of writing and six months of production. Until Thursday, no one in New Orleans had ever heard songs from the mixtape live before.

In terms of influence, Grosser developed his harsh, expressive and industrial-sounding tracks of “Calm As Things Better Not To Tell” from a variety of artists that constitute both old and new school hip hop.

“I’m definitely influenced by everything from specific hip-hop and old school [artists], thinking of the golden era — ’90s, New York, L.A., people who are considered the godfathers of the genre are who first got me into it,” Grosser said. “And people now who consider themselves to be musicians as well as rappers… like Earl [Sweatshirt] and Travis Scott, and the indie scene too.”

If his inspirations don’t appear evident on the mixtape, the influence of artists like Earl Sweatshirt certainly poured out of the raw style Grosser exhibited on Thursday.

With the bass amplified tenfold and Grosser’s scratchy voice spitting out his rap lyrics, the show had a heavy urban undertone entangled with emotional lyrics that made listeners do a double-take.

“There’s lots of energy,” Tulane senior Sue-Claire Lichtveld said after the performance. “This is attentive music.”

This was in fact a goal the rapper had for the evening. “I love to have people leave a Grosser show and not only did they enjoy it and have a good time, and listen to music that they were fulfilled by, but they were thinking,” Grosser said.

Grosser voiced his belief that often times people who know him personally tend to combine their notions of him into expectations about his music, an assumption the rapper sees as misguided.

“A live performance allows you [a literal stage] to set that misguided thought process in reverse and complete the picture for people,” Grosser said.

The show felt, quite frankly, more professional than Grosser performances of the past. The rhythms in the songs felt more audible, the beats catchier, the lyrics stronger and listeners followed along to each verse Grosser shot at them.

Earlier versions of this article said “specific hip-hop groups,” “on the SoundCloud version,” “Contrary to popular belief about on-stage personas versus everyday behavior, an artist creates a personality while performing, which may, but often does not, resemble who they are beyond the concert. Those who know Grosser personally tend to combine their notions of him into expectations about his music, which the rapper sees as misguided.”