Rapper 30 Deep Grimeyy Can’t Quit St. Louis, Despite Dangers

Apr 29, 2022 at 12:32 pm
click to enlarge 30 Deep Grimeyy in his "Dead Goofies" music video. - Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube
30 Deep Grimeyy in his "Dead Goofies" music video.

A lot of rappers write diss tracks. “Dead Goofies,” by 30 Deep Grimeyy, is a diss track on steroids.

The song has no chorus. No auto-tune. It’s straight rap, jam-packed with so many specific people, street names and neighborhoods that it’s indecipherable to anyone not from St. Louis.

For four straight minutes, Grimeyy name-drops all of his enemies. Forgetting that he could be incriminating himself, forgetting the potential for retaliation, he raps about how “Lil D tried creeping through that crib” and how “they shot his ass through the door.”

In the video, he roams alleys and points his gun at the camera. Dressed in the blue and orange of St. Louis’ Six-Deuce Crips, he holds an AR pistol in one hand and a stolen street sign from an enemy gang in the other, which he told an interviewer, Shawn Cotton, he uprooted from the ground, in broad daylight, daring them to do something about it.

“Did you think twice about making [“Dead Goofies”]?” Cotton asks.

“Fuck nah,” Grimeyy responds before Cotton even finished the question.

“Like, ‘This shit could put me in another situation?’”

“I’ve been in situations all my whole motherfucking life,” Grimeyy says. “Fuck nah. St. Louis is the murder capital.”

Despite the chaos around him, Grimeyy’s star has risen exponentially since the debut of “Dead Goofies” 2 1/2 years ago. That video is approaching 13 million YouTube views, and he’s signed to a management company representing rap superstars such as YNW Melly and Hotboii. His success has earned him features with magazines Genius and XXL and inclusion in Apple Music’s “New Midwest” playlist.

In December, Grimeyy and fellow St. Louis rapper NWM Cee Murdaa dropped Splash Brothers 2, the latest in a string of mixtapes representing a return to their St. Louis drill roots, and a single, “No Cap 3” this year. He has also hinted on Instagram live about a new project, possibly an album, for 2022.

Grimeyy possesses charisma and media savvy; he gives thoughtful interviews. But in his videos and songs, he seems overtaken by a demonic countenance. In a city full of trap rappers, Grimeyy stands out for his appearance — his neck tattoos, his shiny gold teeth, the skeleton tattoo on his hand. He combines mean-mugging with a frightening glee, like he could pop out from an alley, shoot up the block and then laugh about it.

In his song “Monster,” he dances on a basketball court surrounded by swarms of people aiming guns at the camera. He raps about falling “in love with them Glocks” over an ominous piano beat that sounds like a horror movie.

Yet when Cotton, pointing to the “Dead Goofies” thumbnail, asks if the AR is one of his favorite guns, Grimeyy laughs.

“Yeah, man, that’s a prop,” he says.

Grimeyy was born Arthur Pressley Jr. in the historic Ville neighborhood, once an epicenter of Black St. Louis life and home to Chuck Berry, Tina Turner and Tuskegee Airman Wendell O. Pruitt. Known for castle-like churches, bright-red brick homes and the first Black high school west of the Mississippi, it’s also full of vacant lots and crumbling houses.

Grimeyy moved a few blocks outside The Ville during his childhood but still reps the area. Before they called him Grimeyy, they called him Baby Arthur and then Little Arthur — he has a tattoo of the cartoon character on his chest. He’s also got the name of his sister, with whom he’s especially close, on his face.

His dad was a Six-Deuce Crip. His mom was a Six-Deuce Crip. Even his grandparents were Six-Deuce Crips. They helped import the gang from 62nd and San Pedro streets in Los Angeles. There are baby pictures of Grimeyy throwing up crip signs.

He first witnessed something violent when he was in elementary school, maybe 7 or 8.

“It was a bad thing,” he tells DJ Vlad. “Like the baddest thing. “It either turn you up or turn you down when you witness your first, you know? And shit...it turned me up.”

As he started gaining fame, Grimeyy’s fans begged him to leave St. Louis. Numerous up-and-coming rappers have been killed here, often as a result of their songs. Grimeyy talks about how he doesn’t even stop at red lights for fear of being shot.

So, in 2019, he moved to Miami, to focus on his music and connect with other artists. He collaborated with one of the biggest rappers working, Lil Baby, as well as recently deceased artist King Von. Grimeyy has even begun expanding out from the St. Louis drill sound, making more-melodic songs like “Emotions” and “How You Lie.”

But despite his success out of town, he keeps coming back to St. Louis, and his fans continue to be worried for his safety.

Legal trouble has followed him as well. As a juvenile, he was arrested at least twice, serving five months in the Workhouse on one occasion. He’s also faced at least four firearms charges. On January 5, 2021, Grimeyy was pulled over in North City for a missing taillight. As the officers walked up to the car, they noticed a Beretta M9 handgun sitting next to him “in plain view,” according to the police report. He was arrested and faces an upcoming hearing in June, as well as a separate federal firearms charge.

As his star continues to rise, fears for his safety — and for his freedom — continue to grow. It all feels oddly familiar to him. “Growing up with this shit,” he tells Star Quality Entertainment. “It’s regular, everyday life.”

One fears that, despite his loyalty to St. Louis, there may be no respite for Grimeyy here.