Less than two years removed from his industry breakthrough, Tee Grizzley hasn't wavered far from his assets. On his newest release, Tee Grizzley showcases an ultra-personal, trap-heavy project; essentially leaning on a sound he's embodied since late 2016. From start to finish, the Detroit native does little exploration of new styles, instead opting to stick to his lumbering strengths. Features from Quavo, Chance the Rapper, Offset and Lil Pump make for an enjoyable experience as well.
Since blasting onto the scene with the ultra-popular "First Day Out", Detroit's grittiest MC has found sanctuary in hard-hitting bass lines, fast-paced keyboard loops and bars that tell a story of his upbringing.
Like many rappers of this era, Tee Grizzley has kept it consistent since his musical inception, but his lyrical quality and polarizing story have made it an enjoyable "one lane" ride to say the least.
Tee Grizzley found stardom in "First Day Out", a song he released only a day or two after his release from prison for armed robbery of a Rolex store in Lexington Kentucky. The song instantly clung to listeners for a plethora of reasons, the biggest being Grizzley's ability to paint a clear picture of the past few years of his life. Over the course of a few minutes, he details the plan of the robbery, as well as the court case and incarceration that followed. Much like Meek Mill's "Dreams and Nightmares", the song takes a menacing switch from mellow to banging halfway through, effectively grabbing listeners and yanking them through their headphones into the Jaguar Portfolio Tee Grizzley and his crew fled in the day of the robbery.
A year and a half after his initial release, the Detroit artist has successfully "stuck to the script", identifying his strong suits and stretches them over a handful of mixtapes and album releases.
His newest release, appropriately titled Still My Moment is no different, to an extent.
Over the course of 15 tightly woven tracks, Grizzley and Co. cover topics including, but not limited to: trapping, luxury, women, hardships, oppression, empowerment, persistence and motivation.
Tee Grizzley is the neighborhood dealer on one song, a youth pastor the next, and a civil rights leader the very next track. This may sound inconsistent, but his ability to weave each role fluently plays well when it's all said and done.
"Still My Moment", the albums intro track, is a great tone setter for the rest of the project. Tee Grizzley flows effortlessly over a groovy, key-driven beat, outlining his dominance in the field he occupies.
On "Pray for the Drip", Grizzley teams with Offset on an instrumental that sounds like it was taken straight from the Migos playbook. Both rappers dish out solid verses on the albums only pre-album single. At one point, Tee Grizzley raps:
When the police tried to get me (Hoo) I used to run and jump fences Now when I'm pullin' up, it's a Bentley (Skrrt) I became one with the mission (Agh) We like skydivers, everybody strapped And we like a good audience, 'cause everybody clap
As the listener sees above, Grizzley's goal on this track is to give the listener a "past and present" scope, highlighting where he is now and the road he took to get there.
My favorite song on the album is "Wake Up", a surprise collaboration with Chance the Rapper. Never in a million years would I have suspected a track with these two together, but "Wake Up" is a perfect mixture of their differing styles. On this song, both artists illustrate a feeling of empowerment, urging listeners to literally and metaphorically "wake up", calling on ears to urge a change and fight the power. The instrumental is nothing more than a muted organ and some bass and percussion layering, but its simplicity works quite well, as the focus of the track isn't meant to be on the beat, but rather on the lyrics.
My favorite bar from Chance is when he says:
Get the Zulu and show sides and I gotta ride shotgun Ain't no fun when you ghost ride, tell the mayor I'm gon' slide And the city my co-pilot, nothin' but a lil' more mileage
This is not Chance's first time expressing his distaste for Rahm Emanuel (Chicago's current Mayor), as he smeared the man's lack of action and paid vacations on "No Security", one of four singles released by the rapper over the summer.
Although the albums sonic's can get monotonous at times (soooo many piano driven beats), I think there is a greater message to be taken from Tee Grizzley's newest release.
As the project's title suggests, Grizzley knows how hard it is to stay relevant in the ever-changing rap world. He's aware that he struck gold with his polarizing debut single (see "First Day Out"), but a year and a half into his industry breakthrough, he wants to make something clear.
He is not a fluke.
Numerous projects after his introduction to rap, the Detroit storyteller still has much to say, and unlike most modern-age rappers, he has established a solid stream of fans, music and consistency.
Still My Moment isn't flashy, nor is it amazing. Essentially, this album is an example of musical stability in the most competitive of genres, so for that, I cannot complain.
Almost exactly two years ago, Tee Grizzley exploded onto the airwaves with one of the songs of the year, emphatically stating:
These niggas prayed on my downfall (they what?) These niggas prayed on my downfall On all ten, bitch I stood tall Show these disloyal niggas how to ball
Such a recognizable phrase has listeners wishing the best for the still blooming artist to this day, and just like Tee Grizzley promised on November 7th, 2016, he's still on "all ten", standing in the faces of haters, judges, policemen and naysayers.
He beat the case, beat the critics, and is in his element, making music to his liking about the life he's lived to this point.
They prayed on his downfall... and honestly,
The opposite happened.