With two tours and over 275 performances under his belt, GOAT, born Justin Griffith, has been relentlessly building an independent movement since 2005. This elementary music teacher hails from Dallas, Texas, and represents The Intelligent South, bringing soulful indie music laced with melodic and poetic lyricism. PegasusNews.com states, “Each of his songs takes on its own distinct flavor, pulling from varied musical and lyrical sources.” When writing and recording, GOAT (Grades Of Absolute Truth) is a focused musician carefully crafting each phrase to perfection. On stage, he immediately attracts his audience with an inviting, endless energy by combining singing with rhyming, instruments with live looping, and multimedia visuals.
Aside from GOAT’s guitar obsession at the age of 12, his passion for writing quickly progressed into lyrical expression. After collaborating and performing in rock, blues, and metal bands throughout high school, he soon realized that his hunger for success outweighed that of anyone around him. GOAT began producing solo material that evolved toward hip-hop, but he thirsted for more knowledge of the recording industry. Without skipping a beat, he ventured on to study audio engineering and music production at The Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, Ohio (2001). After returning, he continued honing his performance skills by studying Classical Voice at The University of North Texas in Denton, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree (2005).
In early 2005, GOAT & dj three6t, a long-time friend, began building a loyal fan base by performing several times a month in various venues throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. By the time of GOAT’s CD Release Party for Absolute Truth in August of 2006, they would perform for a packed house at Club Clearview. Absolute Truth received extremely positive reviews and Harder Beat named the Release Party one of the “Best Shows of 2006.”
Soon after the release of Absolute Truth, GOAT & dj three6t took a look at the current mainstream mixtape frenzy and decided it was time to show some hometown love. Dallas Got Next: The Mixtape was released to an eager crowd at the Curtain Club in September of 2007. A solid 80-minute headlining performance concluded another strategically planned and perfect night.
While desiring to help unify the D/FW scene for a philanthropic cause, GOAT founded Hip Hop Helps Heal, or H4, in 2008. H4 is a non-profit organization built on the love of music, where egos are left at home and people become selfless. They pledge to throw two benefit shows annually to financially aid specific concerns of the community. They have raised and contributed thousands of dollars to organizations, such as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Genesis Women’s Shelter, Toys For Tots, and American Lung Association.
In February of 2009, GOAT and three6t launched the first volume of a collaboration series entitled The 4 Track Sessions with rapper JackRabbit James & singer/songwriter Elle in an intimate “invitation only” event. The effort formed a strong bond and support system among them. GOAT & three6t took their music out of state for the first time during the Summer of Mileage, a weeklong west coast tour to promote their upcoming album. Their performances were received with immediate positive feedback at venues such as Babylon in Fresno, California, and Copper State Tavern in Glendale, Arizona. In November, after months of hard work and preparation, the long awaited birth of Mileage had arrived.
Several doors were kicked open in 2010. GOAT joined forces with director Teddy Cool to produce “Highest Low,” his first official music video. Filled with intense symbolism, the video shows the internal struggles that life brings us, each character personifying a different battle. It would later go on to be screened at the Fall Indie Fest. The same month the video was released, GOAT was invited to perform at SXSW for the first time. The summer of 2010 brought the successful completion of the Southern Elements Tour, a month long run covering Colorado, Utah, California, and Nevada. This opportunity gave GOAT another chance to continue building his west coast following. In the final days of 2010, GOAT was booked to play at the House of Blues in Dallas, where a live band accompanied him. The show was the culmination of an amazing year and was yet another result of his undeniable perseverance.
Mileage: Retuned was released the first week of 2011. The album was a collection of songs from Mileage that were each remixed by a different producer. The result was a showcase of multiple genres that gave fans a new take on songs they already knew and loved. Alongside the release came “Lost,” GOAT’s second official music video, also directed by Teddy Cool. It gave the public a more personal look at GOAT wandering the streets he calls home. Then came another milestone in his career. He was signed on to co-produce ArtLoveMagic’s prestigious Underground 2011, a live show that boasts over 75 artists of various mediums. It set in motion the creation of a massive collaborative song. Produced by GOAT, it joined 14 musicians, each from different groups performing at the event. “We Rise Up” was performed once and released in February, along with an official music video by uFilmhouse. He is currently in the studio recording an extremely insightful project entitled senseless, which highlights the abuse of our five senses.
GOAT’s professionalism is at its peak, and his obsessive-compulsive tendencies fend for a keen sense of self-reflection; therefore progression is definite. He intends to continue building a larger regional and national following by consistent performances, creative releases, constantly being proactive with his website, and staying connected with fans through facebook, youtube, and twitter. According to LIT Monthly, he is named “one of Dallas’ top independent artists” and “you’ll learn that, in this incarnation, G.O.A.T. ain’t playin’.”