Album Review: Tee Grizzley - Built For Whatever
Written By: Mike Double G
Grade = 79% or 3.5 ⭐️
Track List - 54 Minutes
Grizzley Talk 3:29 ✅
Not Gone Play (Feat. King Von) 2:35 ⭐️
Built To Last 3:06 ✅
In My Feelings (Feat. Young Dolph & Quavo) 2:52 ⭐️
Careless (Feat. YNW Melly) 2:58 ⭐️
White Lows Off Designer (Feat. Lil Durk) 2:55 ⭐️
Mad At Us 2:37 ❌
Life Insurance (Feat. Lil Tjay) 3:53 ✅
Evictions 2:35 ✅
Left Wrist Icey (Feat. Baby Grizzley) 3:26 ❌
High Speed 2:50 ✅
Never Bend Never Fold (Tee Grizzley & G-Herbo) 2:30 ⭐️
Less talking More Action 1:49 ❌
White Dior Tee (Feat. Allstar Lee & Mu) 2:51 ❌
What We On (Feat. Big Sean) 3:29 ⭐️
Quit Trappin 2:00 ✅
Change 2:52 ✅
Late Night Calls 2:54 ⭐️
Free Baby Grizzley (Outro) [Feat. Baby Grizzley] 2:07 ✅
Tee Grizzley came up during a time when a lot of young rappers were riding trends. If you look at both the 2017 & 2018 XXL Freshman covers you’ll notice only a few names are still relative in 2021. Besides the late XXXTENTACION only 3 rappers on the 2017 list are still relevant today. Those being A Boogie wit da Hoodie, PnB Rock, and Playboi Carti. Until recently you couldn’t even say Carti because he took nearly 3 years to make his latest LP Whole Lotta Red. The rappers on the 2018 cover got clout back then but only JID, Ski Mask The Slump God, and Trippie Redd remain relevant.
Before rap Tee Grizzley attended Michigan State University. After undergoing some financial difficulty he decided to start robbing the dormitories at the college. Grizzley and another individual ended up stealing $20,000 worth of electronics. Him and his friend were later caught and released pending an investigation. Grizzley went on the run but ended up being arrested 4 months later following an attempted robbery at a jewelry store in Lexington, Kentucky. Tee Grizzley was sentenced to a total of 27 months in prison. While being incarcerated he started writing music. When he was released in October of 2016 he put out a song titled First Day Out. The song gained over 2 million views in just 3 weeks and received praise by Jeezy, JAY-Z, and even LeBron James. This song led him to signing his first record deal with 300 Entertainment and Atlantic Records.
Tee Grizzley - White Lows Off Designer (Feat. Lil Durk)
His first album Activated was released on May 11th of 2018 and had success by peaking at number 10 on the Billboard 100. His sophomore album Scriptures wasn’t as successful. Last year when he released his mixtape The Smartest, Tee Grizzley made the song I Apologize. A song dedicated to himself and particularly his fans as he felt he let them down. After his first album Tee Grizzley started making music that wasn’t him. Many of his fans thought he was “selling out” by working with more mainstream artist to find that one hit record. With the experiment not working Tee Grizzley realized he’s not a radio friendly artist. He went back and started recreating the kind of music his day 1 fans loved from the start.
The thing that separates Tee Grizzley from the other artists in his generation is his story telling. His strength is his song making ability. He does a great job painting a picture of what he is talking about in his lyrics. His life story is very interesting and people want to hear all about it. Besides his own experience in the streets and in prison, Grizzley’s mother was arrested in 2011 for drug tracking and his father was murdered in 2012. On this album he makes records like High Speed and Late Night Calls. Both good examples of his song writing ability. On Late Night Calls he tells the listener that he prefers to put his phone on “do not disturb” after 2am because those late nights calls are never good ones. In this song he describes a time when he received a call about his brother getting arrested. In High Speed Grizzley describes a situation where he is running from the police. The pre-chorus goes:
Police behind us, just turned on the lights. Ayy, bro, make a left, then take a right. No, we not stoppin', Blow through the lights. I gotta makе it back home, I'm not goin' to jail tonight.
Baby Grizzley is Tee Grizzley’s younger brother. Baby Grizzley is a rapper himself and appears on this album twice. Right now he is incarcerated for a federal gun charge and could serve up to 5 years in prison. Baby Grizzley appears on track 10 Left Wrist Icey but he really shines on the outro to this album titled Free Baby Grizzley. This record shows his potential as his own artist and not just the younger brother of Tee Grizzley.
Leading up to this album Tee Grizzley has had a strong year. He appeared on several artists projects such as Peewee Longway, Young Buck, and Lil Yachty. Tee Grizzley also appeared twice on the OTF compilation album. Back in December of 2017 he and Lil Durk dropped a mixtape titled Bloodas. The two artist have great chemistry as they have very similar styles. Despite being from Detroit, Tee Grizzley can easily be mistaken for a Chicago drill artist due to his content and his aggressive delivery. Ever since the mixtape Tee Grizzley and Durk have had a strong relationship. Durk appears on this album as well. White Lows Off Designer is one of the singles and one of the best songs on the album.
Tee Grizzley - Late Night Calls
Other features on this album include the late King Von, the incarcerated YNW Melly, G-Herbo, Young Dolph, Quavo, and Tee Grizzley’s mentor Big Sean. Most of the better songs on this album do have features but we still see a lot of growth on this album. Tee Grizzley is known for rapping offbeat. Whether purposely or not it’s always been easy to notice when he’s offbeat. Eminem even through in a shot at Tee Grizzley during there feud. On You Gone’ Learn, Eminem said:
I am too volatile and too grizzly to bear... It ain't even worth dissing someone so offbeat that they can't even figure out where their words should hit the kick and the snare.
Since then, the two Detroit rappers have worked things out. Tee Grizzley even paid homage to Eminem by saying he opened up the door for many rappers in Detroit and that the whole situation was a misunderstanding. On this album Tee Grizzley shows great improvement when it comes to flow and catching the beat.
In my option this is Tee Grizzley’s best album. He has improved his rapping ability without hurting his content. He has a good amount of features but also caries a healthy portion of the album himself. 10 of the 19 songs have features which is close to the ideal 50/50 ratio. Tee Grizzley’s lyrics and story telling ability is what separates him from his peers and what is going to give him longevity. I gave this album a 79% or a 3.5 ⭐️ rating.
Best Song: Careless (Feat. YNW Melly)
Download: Built For Whatever
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