#TBT: When I Interviewed the Guy Who Blew Kanye West's Mind w/ His Freestyle

Despite the 24-hour live feed that Twitter and Instagram have given us into many celebrities day-to-day, to meet an A-list musician, athlete or actor on the street is still a heart-pounding experience for most of us. “Starstruck” is a very real affliction and in many cases our words come out in jumbled, sloppy sentences.

Last week this very predicament fell upon emerging Los Angeles-based rapperCameron Grey, who was standing outside of a packed Big Sean concert when Kanye West almost walked past, surrounded by a scrum of paparazzi photographers. “Almost” is the key word in this case, because rather than shout for the superstar’s attention or crowd close for a handshake, Grey kept his head and did what comes naturally to him–rapping. His freestyle stopped West in his tracks, and with lights and cameras circling the young MC earned the respect of the most famous rapper in the world.

After some heavy social media stalking, we had already generated a few opinions of our own about Grey. But shock still came when, upon visiting his Twitter page, there were few posts about the experience, other than a retweet from T.I. and Lil’ Waynecommenting on it, and maybe a few mentions of upcoming radio interviews. From an outsiders first glance, Grey seemed modest, and our 30-minute conversation confirmed that. Speaking in eloquent terms about his past and current projects and what he hopes to become as the years go by, Grey demonstrated just how seriously he takes his MCing craft, and how he’s not letting his fleeting Kanye co-sign go to his head. If you need a refresher, watch the video of their encounter below and read on for you in-depth interview with Grey.

Okayplayer: First off, how the hell did this happen? Was your mission for the evening to freestyle for Kanye West?

Cameron Grey: So, we were at this real shitty pre-Grammy party, we had already hit like 3 or 4 pre-Grammy parties before that, and at the final one we hit they ran out of food and they ran out of beer and I was just not trying to stay there. That Big Sean concert was going on so my friends and I decided to go up there. I checked Twitter on the way up there and saw that Kanye went out on stage.

Read the full interview over at Okayplayer

Portraits: 6 Faces You Might Have Seen at SXSW

Last week I went to SXSW to support the first ever Philadelphia showcase curated by Rec Philly. SXSW is a great place to people watch. Almost everybody is pea-cocking with their eccentric styles and personalities, hoping that blogs, records labels, stylists and whoever else will gravitate towards them. That’s all fine and good, but I was more interested in those that no one was really watching: the mixtape hustlers, the people behind the cameras, the pedal cab drivers, the homeless.

Here are some of those people.

1. MIKE

Photo by Dwayne Brown 

Photo by Dwayne Brown 

Mike has been living in Austin, Texas for over twenty years. We met him near a shelter which just happens to be located only a block from 6th St – the musical hub of SXSW. When we asked him how he feels about the festival he told us, “It’s crazy out here, it’s hard to explain”.

2. RYAN 

Photo by Dwayne Brown 

Photo by Dwayne Brown 

“Welcome to the sh*t storm,” camera man Ryan told us as we waited out an epic rainstorm under an underpass together. He wasn’t down to talk to us on camera, but he was cool enough to sit tight for a portrait.

3. Hayley

Hayley is the Project Leader at Philadelphia's up-and-coming music initiative, Rec Philly. We caught her looking out over 6th Street at Old School Bar & Grill before the big Philadelphia showcase featuring Freeway, Chill Moody and more.

4. MARV MACK

Photo by Dwayne Brown 

Photo by Dwayne Brown 

Marv Mack is a Philly rapper who performed for the first time ever at SXSW this year. “I don’t think I’m taking my artist wristband off until next year’s festival,” he laughed before we snapped his photograph.

5. Johnny T

Photo by Dwayne Brown 

Photo by Dwayne Brown 

Johnny T. is a comedian from Brooklyn. He came out to SXSW to make some extra cash as a pedal cab driver. His most interesting rider was Riff Raff. He also wanted us to know that he hates “that chipmunk, Kanye West”.

6. toby-wan kinoby 

Photo by Dwayne Brown 

Photo by Dwayne Brown 

toby-wan is a southern emcee with more energy that can be captured in a single photograph. His latest mixtape, The Wade Phillips Project, is based after the man who saved his life.

Photos by: Dwayne Brown