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Justin Richard Griffith, aka GOAT, raps about things he would never teach his elementary students.
By Darryl Smyers |

By day he is an elementary music teacher in a North Texas school district. By night Justin Richard Griffith, 25, morphs into GOAT (Grades of Absolute Truth), a skilled rapper who boasts among other things of the liberating effects of vodka.

“Time to tilt the bottle up/no need for a cup,” raps Griffith on “Count Me In,” one of the better tunes on Absolute Truth, GOAT’s recent, and decent, debut album. GOAT is influenced most by Eminem, and that influence, inventive at times, would certainly offend his students’ parents, if not his boss.

“A lot of the material was written before I became a teacher,” Griffith says, by way of apology. Only trusted people at Griffith’s school—at least until now—know about his alter-ego.

Griffith grew up listening to alternative rock, but early exposure to rappers Jay-Z and Tupac Shakur got him moving in a more urban direction. After getting his degree in music from the University of North Texas, Griffith decided to test his skills on the mic. But, like most artists, he needed a steady flow of cash. By the time he got the music teacher gig, he’d fallen in love with the sweaty crowds in Deep Ellum. Griffith is aware his muse could get him fired, but he won’t quit indulging it. “I’m going to teach and I’m going to do what I do outside of that,” he says.

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