Addictions occasionally pay off. Hunter S. Thompson famously wrote, “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” If you add to “the internet” to those vices, you could make a similar point for Adam Grandmaison.
You may not recognize his government name, but if you’re familiar with underground rap or BMX racing, you know him as Adam22 or Adam Onsomeshit, or maybe just as the host of YouTube’s No Jumper. Over the last few years, he’s turned obsessive dives into the smoked-out vortexes of SoundCloud into one of the most popular podcasts and YouTube channels in existence.
“I stay up most nights until like 6 or 7 in the morning listening to music online, watching videos and going down weird reading wormholes,” Grandmaison says, sipping a Jameson on ice. He’s covered in ink, 6 foot 3 or 6 foot 4, and looks ready to front a Black Flag reunion.
It’s a particularly chaotic time for the 33-year-old, but he’s surprisingly Zen, especially for a guy with cranial tattoos. His BMX and clothing store, On Some Shit, is moving from its downtown digs to a larger Melrose space — complete with an area to shoot videos (the dream is to become a modern version of BET’s Rap City: Tha Basement).
Tomorrow, a major label flies him to New York to discuss a potential interview series. Later this month, he’ll launch and host the first No Jumper tour, a West Coast swing featuring Smokepurpp and Lil Pump, which includes an April 7 stop at the Echoplex.
“I want to keep doing big tours, but I’m not dying to take big-name rappers, just the underground dudes we’ve had on the podcast,” Grandmaison says, underscoring an ethos galvanized in the hardcore punk and BMX subcultures. “Eventually I want to do a big festival in L.A., but it’s all about building a rep first.”
Raised by a community college librarian and a social worker, the New Hampshire native dropped out of college and moved to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick in the mid-2000s. Eking out a living via online poker, he developed an internet dependency that led him to start On Some Shit, which quickly became a thriving blog and de facto nerve center for the BMX world.
Moving to Long Beach about six years ago, Grandmaison finally headed up the 405 three years later. Despite a longtime hip-hop obsession dating back to the G-funk era, No Jumper’s focus came about by accident.
Grandmaison started doing BMX podcasts, but an early episode with a friend, rapper Xavier Wulf, blew up. Others reached out, and in just a little over 15 months, each installment usually racks up anywhere from 500,000 to a million streams. In an increasingly corporate media landscape, he’s admirably done it completely independently.
It’s easy to dismiss the show’s occasional crudeness, but Grandmaison has a Howard Stern–like gift for coaxing information out of people. His honesty and personal admissions — including a past Xanax habit and former life dealing drugs — creates an environment where artists can’t help but confess. Despite his menacing exterior, he exhibits the quiet diligence you’d expect from a librarian’s son. He estimates that he does a minimum 10 hours of research on each guest.
“I find a lot of freedom in being totally honest about myself,” Grandmaison says. “I know it opens you up to where people can accuse you of being a drug addict or being crazy, but I’m more than happy to put myself out there. If I had a PR debacle right now, my saving grace would be that there are these people that feel like they know me because of that openness. I never want it to feel fake.”
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NO JUMPER TOUR | The Echoplex,? 1154 S. Glendale Blvd., Echo Park | Fri., April 7,? 6:30 p.m-9 p.m. | $15-$50 | theecho.com