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Photo: Brandon Fernandez

About proGrammar

proGrammar is the stagename of Graham Arthur Mackenzie. He was born in Columbia, South Carolina on January 12th, 1977, was raised in Seattle, Washington, has lived in Rochester and New York, New York, and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. A professional musician since the age of 8, proGrammar was clasically trained as a member of The Northwest Boychoir and Vocalpoint! Seattle, two wonderful vocal programs for youth in the Seattle area. At the same time, Grammar was nursing what was to become a lifelong obsession with hip-hop music, ever since seeing "Beat Street" on TV at the age of 7. proGrammar sings, raps, beatboxes, makes beats, records & mixes his own stuff, creates cover art, and sells everything through his own label, Media Mackenzie. He has made a lot of albums at this point, most with some sort of connection to hip-hop. Check out all of them for free at proGrammar.net.

What Some Relatively Well-Known People Have Said

"This is cool, man."
- Blastmaster KRS-One, The Teacha, in regards to the concept of this website (read the whole thing)

"Wicked! Nicely done!"
- Nu Shooz, via Twitter, in regards to my cover of their song "I Can't Wait" from Somaphone 2: Grammar Sings the Classics

"Bomb... Sick, sick, sick."
- Mic Crenshaw, in regards to my song "Music" (read the whole thing)

"proGrammar opened me up... to, like, new possibilities in hip-hop... Looking at, like, Emcees who are doing stuff, he's really, like - He taking a step!... that a lot of cats - Most cats is not willing to take that step... [He] is The Sun-Ra of Emceeing."

- Kid Lucky, Beatboxer Entertainment, The Hip-Hop Subway Series, May 2008 (read the whole thing)

"proGrammar has... a hiphop heart. [One of the] golden few - the sensitive descendants of Q-Tip... - who prefer to deal with matters of the heart. [W]orth watching."
- Charles Mudede, The Stranger, October 2002 (read the whole thing)

"Always meant to tell you, your version of 'I Can't Go For That' is spot on."
- Charles Mudede on Twitter

"Grammar sings and beatboxes bugged takes on classics like Stevie Wonder's 'Hey Love' and Hall & Oates's 'I Can't Go For That' - and goddammit, it works."
- Larry Mizell, Jr., The Stranger , October 2005 (read the whole thing)

"proGrammar is a rapper/beatboxer/badass from NYC that I can say with some confidence is nothing like you've ever heard. These songs are from 'Somaphone 2' which is a collection of covers that he recorded with nothing but his voice and a glass of water."
- MySpace page of AtoZ Media, February 2007

"It gets no realer than this home brewed hip-hop... proGrammar is the Internet's answer to the Hip-Hop creativity drought."
- Dante, GigaTracks.com, January 2005 (read the whole thing)

"You're really, uh, kinda out there... You use a lot of big words."
- Deena Barnwell, host of The Soundbox, KBOO 90.7 FM, Portland, OR, December 2003 (read the whole thing)

"You'll prob'ly never be in XXL."
- Dennis Page, Publisher, XXL Magazine, January 2004 (read the whole story)

Kudos

- 2010 Featured musician on two seasons of Sesame Street.
- Early 2005 Featured on National Public Radio's All Songs Considered: Open Mic.

Interviews

- Early 2007 Interview With Sean Solo, host of BeatsAndMics.com Cincinnati, OH.
- December 2003 Interview With Deena Barnwell, host of The Soundbox KBOO 90.7 FM, Portland, OR.

What Some Relatively Unknown People Have Said

I just downloaded your version of "Don't Answer Me"... and I think I like it more than the original. Looking forward to hearing more. -Chad 5/1/12 Love this Album boys!!! Cheers from Spain! -Trujas 4/17/12 It's been a couple years since I got Somaphone 2... and I've been hooked since; it's traveled from hoboken to ft. lauderdale to philly. And now I just found "breaking up is hard to do" on youtube - probably my favorite out of everything I've heard so far (which is saying a lot)... Well, thanks for the tunes. Looking forward to the next album. -Elliot 1/5/12 As a kid, I remember at some point composing lyrics for C64 game titles - I was a lot better a gamer than lyricist, so it didn't go that well. Thank you proGrammar, The Advantage, for reminding me :) -Conny 6/23/11 Wicked! -Nu Shooz 3/13/11 Hi I'm fellow artist, a budding bassist and poet. This album is really incredible! I love the themes addressed in the lyrics, they really resonate with my thoughts of late even though I discovered this album a couple years ago (amazing what a revisit to good art can do). You've taken familiar and somewhat trivial tunes and given them a brand new context and depth. It's not to say that the Advantage doesn't have something going on their own, but I am infinitely more drawn to the life that your voice breathes into this. I hope to see future collaboration between you and The Advantage (by which I mean to say I'm in favor of your permanent residence with the group.) Much Love as we are in all of God -dmarbizzle 9/22/10 You are a talented fellow. -Gap Lady 5/2810 your music is amazing! (and your work with Advantage just blows my mind) -Luis 1/1/10 BRILLIANT. You have an amazing voice without doing all the additional stuff but that is also done in a very subtle way, and I do like that you don't try to mimic voices you just sing in your own style. I truly was amazed at the purity of your voice. -Sam 12/28/09 what you're doing is extremely creative, but what I love most about it is the reverence you give to your source material; I mean, it all sounds updated and contemporary, but you have kept it almost note- and beat-perfect throughout, and still made a really interesting listen.  I am LOVING your cover of "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" -Nicholas 12/12/09 Anyway, I write because I'm listening to your CD right now and its AMAZING... I think you're really talented and I don't write to many people... Great stuff, really. Wow. -Alessandra 12/16/08 Been listening to your CD. Its really fuckin good. Nice work! -Brian 12/14/08 Dude! I'm listening to your cd RIGHT NOW. And it's really awesome. You have a great voice, and your range is amazing. : ) - Nacole 11/24/08 That album is amazing... The best thing I've heard in three years.  Everyone I play it for loves it...  I've listened to "In Your Wildest Dreams" at least 50 times by now. -Michael 11/7/08 I gota say, that album u gav me is impresiv. Can't stop lisnin 2 it... Thr's nuthn out thr like it. -Eso 10/20/08 This album is fantastic... Outstanding work, Holmes... Best thing I've heard all year... -Tah 9/14/08 listened to your shit. good stuff. really interesting stuff. it has a weird old school vibe with weird avant gardiness i feel... i don't know how to describe it...? the playfulness in the inovating of the old school with the sensibilities of a modern day indie kid perhaps? sort of a not as goofy biz markie...? ...keep going!!! -Jae 5/26/08 you are like the best beatboxers around -Mike 9/30/07 Loved a few video clips I seen on your myspace. Dopeness. Ooooh and you had this one singing song on there that was fresh. You do something in your creation that I really admire. Its something in it that is pure and real. Like that part in the freestyle when you said something about "ignoring your lil sister in the kitchen" or something like that. You da man brother. -David 9/20/07 i thought i'd take a shot at telling you directly how incredible i think you are, and how much i love what you're doing. i looked you up, and was blown away...and i'm gonna be redundant and say again how fuckin amazing your music is. -Katie 9/19/07 Sweet! i love your raps! the best are the video game ones. you should get some more old school video game music and write raps for them. i hope you add more to your site. Your beat boxing isn't bad either! -Nayaka 6/29/07 Wow! Nice work! I was totally taken by surprise and thought your original versions of classics were awesome. -Jon 5/07/07 i really like your videos in asl..ive been learning asl for 6 months now. your facial expressions is awesome..and youre cute too =) -Kimmy 4/21/07 ...i've just gotta say that i am completely taken by your work... i was looking on youtube and found the ASL poetry/rap videos and was completely flooooooored... i don't know who the dude is in the video...maybe that's you. but that dude is AWESOME! like a personal hero in a way... and i'm thinking he must have Deaf parents or something cause that's some really pure ASLing... i've been watching your videos every day for the past 3 days and i gotta tell ya what an inspiration you've been to me. thanks for giving such a sincere and mind-expanding shout out to God. I've never been able to express my feelings about God the way you put them in your ASL poetry. wow. -Chrissi 1/28/07 I have to say, your ASL videos are great! I'm not usually one for rap, because if you've ever seen an interpreter try to interpret rap, well that's a special kind of nightmare. But you sir, are a crazy kind of genius, and it was actually music my boyfriend and I can both enjoy together. We sat and watched your videos last night and today I feel inspired. You've got a gift. Thanks for sharing it! -Ashley 10/08/06 Grammer, Your videos are dope. I enjoyed watchin' 'em myself this evening. -Anthony 9/05/06 Saw you at the [Bowery Ballroom show with The Advantage 08/26/06.] I was sort of confused when you came out and performed a set of rap covers, probably because I was there to see The Advantage, and I'm not a rap fan at all. My girlfriend said that they were pretty good covers, though. Then you started performing with The Advantage, and I really got into it. After you directed me to your website (at the merch table) I was surprised to see that you had two albums worth of stuff that you did with the NES music. I have to say, I was honestly impressed. I spent a lot of time listening to your original stuff, and watching your videos. You write some absolutely amazing lyrics, and you seem to fit the tone of all of the nintendo music, even if the lyrics are as far from the original subject matter as possible. Anyway, count me as a fan. I hope you make it huge, someday. -Rich 9/01/06 I like the [Advantage: proGrammar] tracks, very fuckin cool. muchos propas -Nick (former member of The Advantage) 8/29/06 Hi, I checked out your website after you gave me your business card last week. I was blown away! I loved 'Life is Work' and the videos in ASL... Anyways, keep on rockin' in the face of danger. :-) -Marlie 7/31/06 You, my friend, you are VERY gnarly... People *need* to know about you. I'll tell you what, I'm going to show your music to every friend I have. I already blast your music with my windows down when I'm driving and passersby are always interested. They always turn their heads. The best music is known solely by the word of mouth ;-) -Daryn 5/23/06 Grammmmmmmmar- We have been rockin' out to Money Can't Buy Me Happine$$. This song is AWESOME! This whole album is great. I thinks it's probably the best album of yours that I've heard. -Katie 5/15/06 I wanted to let you know that your sound is hot. -Chesney 9/07/05 Hi You gave me your card at French Roast a week or so ago. I just checked out your website...cool -Katreese 3/30/05 what a surprise! I just started listening to your CD and digging it. you are quite a singer. -Charles 2/21/05 I happened to remember your lyrics today while reading an email from my girl who is going through some hard times right now.. I found your lyrics insightful and remebered seeing your show while I was attending Gallaudet about two years ago.. Your website has improved alot since I've last checked it out.. It would be cool seeing your show again sometime.. I had the pleasure of reading your lyrics and still think your asl interpretation was more visual appealing for me.. Netherless, your lyrics rock!! -Justin 3/05/05 Just wanted to drop a note and say what great talent you possess. I visited your website and listened to a couple of songs. Enjoyed it very much. -Cassandra 2/01/05 What up man, met you on the street today. You're nuts. I haven't listened to many songs, and to tell you the truth the first couple I tried I wasn't really feelin, but I'm listenin to that "Music" joint right now. That's some other shit. Dope, original. Reminds me of some cats in S.F. and some other cats I know... ...Yo man, I'm digging back in your catolog...I'm feelin it more and more, I'm seeing the progression...allright -Wreckon 11/15/03 Yo fam. I peeped sum of your stuff...Its Diffrent man....Props on creativity, and vision. -Insurgent Comand Mac40 11/15/03 I love what you're doing please DO NOT take me off of your email list =)...I think your vision is wild man, I can't wait to see where it goes. -Tom 9/11/03 Hey man good site...It's great! -Allison 8/05/03 ...dope...im definently feelin what youve been puttin out there. -Craig 7/27/03 ...not bad, i have yet to d/l any of the songs seeing as though i have a painfully slow connection. however i have read the lyrics, interesting, i like how diverse your references are, from Plath's suicide to lobotomy-ies... -Kunukunu 7/25/03 Hey, just wanted to say that the show at Java's last night was realy cool! Anyways, I was checkin out your site, downloading some music, but "My God" isnt up yet. Any idea when the music will be available for download, I really want to get a hold of it. Keep Rockin -Steve 1/18/03 Wow, what a wonderful being you are. I am listening right now. I really like you. Thank you for giving me this. -Stacey 4/22/02 Hey, thats a pretty balls out approach to getting yourself out there, nice. Just wanted to say thanks for the sounds, i haven't gotten to most of em but I love the Bjork cover, hyperballad has been a favorite of mine for years. tribute to mathew song was pretty cool, i love queer songs. -Nick 4/02/02 Last night I was at the café Victrola up on 15th and programmer (was that you?) promoted his website on us. I just checked on Fresh Blood and needless to say, I'm impressed. Itslikethatanna is my favorite. Great work, keep it up -Eric 3/31/02
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