Last week, our friends over at Impact 89FM interviewed Rhymesayers‘ own Benjamin Laub (aka Grieves). On his way through Michigan supporting his Back On My Grizzly tour, Grieves sat down with 89FM in Grand Rapids.
By: Daniel Hodgman
Growing up and living in East Lansing, Michigan for 22 years has shaped me more than I can imagine, and for that I’m thankful. As a kid among thousands, I have grown as close to the city as I possibly could have, and although I’m no longer a Michigan resident, East Lansing will remain close to my heart until the end of days.
For those readers who aren’t familiar with the area, East Lansing is a suburban city located due east of Lansing, Michigan’s capital. It’s home to Michigan State University, which stands on the south side of Grand River Ave., a tree-lined major road that divides the neighborhoods from the campus and also connects Lansing to Detroit. The main drag of East Lansing consists of college shops and restaurants, and despite the consistent shuffling of businesses (the old Taco Bell location WILL NEVER hold a company for more than a year; RIP Barnes & Noble), it serves as the epicenter to events like The Great Lakes Folk Festival, The Art Festival and Michigan State’s homecoming parade. Moreover, East Lansing’s diverse population and mix of residents, teachers and students provides a unique and fundamentally sound environment for anyone.
Along with a good chunk of my friends and residents of the Lansing area, I’ve seen things come and go, especially in the music scene. Some of the first records I bought were at Tower Records on Grand River and CD Warehouse on Abbot; my first local show was in middle school at The Temple Club, a venue that brought in acts like KRS-One, Story of the Year and Mustard Plug; and one of the first articles I ever wrote in college targeted Small Planet and its resurgence in Chandler Crossings and its eventual closing. While all of those venues are no longer a part of the Lansing area, new ones have surfaced to fill the gaps.
Most important about all of this however is that despite some venues’ fall, there are organizations and companies that have been here from the beginning. One of these is The Impact.
Impact 89FM is Michigan State’s student-run radio station that broadcasts on 88.9FM and streams online. It has been named “College Radio Station of the Year” 11 times by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, and has also been nominated by CMJ and mtvU.
During the day, the station shares the latest alternative, indie and rock music along with old cuts and classic tracks. Cuts like “The Top Five at Five” make daytime listening worthwhile because not only does the station share music with listeners, it actively seeks out to include them by giving away prizes and concert tickets. During the evening The Impact switches gears and provides listeners with speciality shows such as Sit or Spin, Accidental Blues and The Asian Invasion. One of The Impact’s speciality shows is The Vibe (FKA The Cultural Vibe), a program that has not only stood the test of time, but has challenged its listeners to dig into crates for raw and important hip-hop cuts.
On Saturday’s from 8pm to midnight, The Impact presents The Vibe, a speciality show that features hip-hop, soul and funk in grand fashion. Highlighting both mainstream and underground songs that matter, DJ Riddle does an excellent job at showcasing the diversity and message hip-hop brings all while retaining flair on the radio. Unlike other hip-hop stations you’ll hear, The Vibe shares actual hip-hop, instead of the greased up gloss that parades the mainstream media. And this right here is why The Vibe and programs like it are important to our society.
These days it’s become increasingly evident that national media and news outlets have opted to go for extreme bias instead of presenting a clear-cut path of righteousness down the middle. In fact, its come to the point where companies like Fox News, CNN and CNBC have to pick sides as they present news, instead of reporting on the real. In addition to this, no matter what stance these companies take, they still present stories without fully giving us all of the evidence. To me, the news is slowly turning into the digestive slime our politics has slowly become. With national radio stations it has become the same thing. We see the same stuff get churned in and out every hour on the hour, and it’s a one-sided affair. They will give you one side, but you sure as hell won’t hear the other.
So how does all of this play out with hip-hop and Michigan and The Impact and The Vibe? Well, because everything is intertwined and everything is cyclical, and the fact remains that if there are still programs and organizations like The Vibe and The Impact around the country, then there’s still hope for truth. What both The Vibe and The Impact present is more than just good music; they shower us with content from all sides, further enriching our lives with everything from everywhere, and the fact that they’ve stood the test of time is a testament to the notion that the good always outweighs the bad.
Last Saturday, Bonus Cut co-creator Gus Navarro was lucky enough to sit down with DJ Riddle for a few hours during The Vibe and discuss hip-hop with him face-to-face. As a longtime fan of the program it’s an honor for Bonus Cut to interact with The Vibe, and it’s a wonder why there aren’t more programs like it.
Simply reading and writing this isn’t enough, and it’s important that when we actively seek out information and news we do it so we’re presented with all of the facts. Furthermore, it’s important that we continue to explore all realms of each story so that we know the truth from all sides. Like The Vibe, a program that gives us everything from mainstream to underground, we can better ourselves by spreading the full picture.
You can visit Impact 89FM’s website and radio stream here.
For more information on The Vibe click here.
For more organizations and friends of Bonus Cut click here.