It was December 2016 when I first heard the name Marty Grimes, a rapper from Berkeley, California who is set to release his project Martyjuana on January 27, 2017. By the name of the project, I wasn’t sure how to approach tackling this interview, since it instantly gave me the idea that it was solely about weed. However, it wasn’t until I heard Marty’s lead single, “All Good,” that I realized how much of a family man he really is. I then thought, “There’s my angle.”
Story | Nico Blitz
– The Lunch Table’s Exclusive Interview with Marty Grimes –
My features coordinator then told me, that he partially owns a pizzeria in Berkeley. Our location was set, and as we’re riding up to Gioia Pizzeria, I had this preconceived idea of what it would be like: hip-hop being played over the stereo system, couches with leather seats, and photos of Marty hanging all across the walls. I was severely mistaken as soon as I took one step inside the pizzeria, and took note of how 99.7 NOW was playing over the stereo system, how there were as many chairs as a person’s fingers, and how the accolades on the wall consisted of Gioia Pizzeria’s amazing customer service and one frame of Marty’s merchandise.
Meeting Marty was the best part. He welcomed us with a smile, wearing a bright red pull over and was willing to help out in any way possible. And when my pocket full of questions was ready and the cameras were rolling, I was more stunned to see first hand how humble the man really is.
What mattered the most to him in high school was basketball, rap, and family. Though playing hoops didn’t quite go the way he intended, his love for the game translated to his love for rhythmic lyricism. However, being the helping hand for his grandmother left Marty with the lone choice to work for Gioia Pizzeria around fourteen years old, where he learned the essence of work ethic, customer service, and networking.
His time at the shop caught the attention of many Berkeley natives, who aided him with audio equipment and local support for his music, the same way he aided them with a delicious serving of Gioia’s pizza. Similarly after the initial interview, he made us a serving of his favorite spinach pizza.
At the shop, I sat next to this older lady who was caught in the middle of all the cameras capturing Marty in his most humane state – making pizza – and she told me how she’s seen Marty grow since his beginning stages at the pizzeria to now. “He’s so sweet, and I know this since he’s been here forever,” she said. And that’s when it hit me: I knew exactly how to write this article about Marty. Let’s make it very personal to our time together.
What I learned from our experience with Marty at Gioia Pizzeria, was simply the fact that he’s one of the most hard-working, humble, and selfless people I’ve met in my lifetime. People complain about their jobs being tedious, uneventful, or just something they need at the moment to help them get by.
Marty, who’s been pursuing music since high school, took classes at Expressions College For Digital Arts, and just got off tour with his best friend G-Eazy, has been working at the pizzeria and had nothing but great things to say about it. Even if it’s one day out of the month, or four days out of the week, or even just to grab his daily slice of pizza, Marty loves his pizzeria.
It’s a part of him that keeps him grounded. It helps him remember that despite his rise to fame, Gioia Pizzeria symbolizes his humanity.
Marty Grimes just kicked off his Martyjuana Tour, showcasing his highly anticipated project, Martyjuana. For more on Marty’s tour visit his website.