Tee Grizzley’s “The Smartest” is a very impressive body-of-work.
HONORABLE MENTION. WINNING “Winning” gives Jay Rock’s “Win” a run for its money. Throughout The Smartest, Tee Grizzley talks about the struggles he has had to endure throughout the years. On “Winning,” the Detroit rapper actually gives himself a pat on the back for being someone who has made it out of the hood, for being a boss, and for being someone who dips his chicken in hot sauce. I feel like “Winning” is the most unique song on “The Smartest.” It features a catchy-ass hook, inspirational lyrics, flows that are impregnable, and vibes that are beyond sobering. “Winning” may not be your favorite song, but you cannot say it’s not dope.
5. LION & EAGLES
“Lion & Eagles” might be the toughest song of 2020.
Tee Grizzley and Meek Mill are very similar rappers: They both get very aggravated when they rap and don’t mind talking about violence in their music. On “Lions & Eagles,” Meek and Grizzley unite, and what they gift us with is a ferocious banger that has the former reminding folks that he likes to spend money on shooters, and the latter reminding folks that he is one of the only rappers in the game that is getting money but is still harder than left out biscuits.
The energy on “Lion & Eagles” is so toxic, I had an uncomfortable smile on my face while I was listening to the song.
Tee Grizzley and Lil Baby cover the coronavirus pandemic better than some newscasters on “COVID.”
Ironically, “COVID” is cold as s**t. For starters, the song features a beat that you would hear on a slasher movie. Over it, Tee Grizzley raps about the coronavirus pandemic and how it has affected not only him but his family, too. As for Lil Baby, in his verse, he talks about his come-up and how he’s surprised that he was able to go from robbing to flexing in less than five years (No, his verse doesn’t contain much talk about COVID).
I love how Tee and Lil Baby sound like they are simply chopping it up with us on “COVID.”
Detroit’s finest, Big Sean and Tee Grizzley, join forces for “Trenches.”
You get some serious yapping on “Trenches.” On the song, Big Sean and Tee Grizzley spit bars about how great their pen games are, how many hoes they got, and how they are willing to shoot more shots at their foes than AI.
Big Sean’s part on “Trenches” is very short. It sounds like he tried to get his s**t off on the song and Grizzley got him out of the booth with a water hose.
Ya’ll like “Trenches” so I like “Trenches” (If you ask me, the song is OK).
Tee Grizzley pays homage to his aunt on “Satish”
Tee Grizzley holds absolutely nothing back on “Satish.” On the song, he raps about eliminating naysayers, he pays homage to his lost friends and family members, and he lets the world know that he is paranoid about dying.
As a listener, I think you will love the urgency Tee Grizzley raps with on “Satish.” You will also love how animated he sounds throughout the song.
We need to get Jason Statham to play Tee Grizzley in his biopic (That is the only actor that can do his life story justice).
1. MR. OFFICER
“Mr. Officer” will give you goosebumps.
On “Mr. Officer,” Tee Grizzley, Queen Naija, and The Detroit Youth Choir tackle the topic of police brutality head-on. As expected, Naija and The Detroit Youth Choir hold nothing back when it comes to soulfulness, and Tee holds nothing back when it comes to spitting truthful/honest bars. If you are someone who feels frustrated by the bulls**t that is going on today, this song should resonate with you mightily.
The difference between Wayne’s “Mrs. Officer” and Tee Grizzley’s “Mr. Officer” is astonishing.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. THE SMARTEST INTRO (4/5)
2. I APOLOGIZE (4/5)
3. TRENCHES (4/5)
4. RAP A LOT (4/5)
5. THE FUNERAL (4/5)
6. LION & EAGLES (4/5)
7. NO WITNESS (4/5)
8. PICTURE OF MY CITY (4/5)
9. COVID (4/5)
10. TIMELESS (3.5/5)
11. SLIME (4/5)
12. EVERYTHING (3/5)
13. DOUBLE STANDARDS (3/5)
14. DAYLIGHT (4/5)
15. WINNING (4/5)
16. SATISH (4/5)
17. MR. OFFICER (4.5/5)
Tee Grizzley definitely showed out on The Smartest.
I have always felt like Tee Grizzley was one of the most intelligent rappers in the game. If you pay close attention to his punchlines, they are very clever. He also seems very calculated with his lyrics and knows the exact beats that will catch our attention. With that being said, on The Smartest, Grizzley shines by coming across like a mastermind that has the streets figured out.
If you listen to The Smartest from start to finish, you will hear riveting beats, explosive lyrics, and a hint of humor (I snicker every time I hear him talk about fast food on the album). Unlike other rappers in the game, Grizzley dives deep into why he is into violence, why money means so much to him, why he doesn’t trust women, and why he feels like his hood has been disadvantaged for all of these years. Though you shouldn’t condone most of the things he says throughout the album, you will at least be able to understand his point of view because of how articulate he is.
Two things were missing from The Smartest: Autotune and Lil Durk. Thankfully, the absence of autotune had no barring on the hooks on the album. As for the absence of Lil Durk, that was a bit glaring. I think he would’ve fit in masterfully on about two or three songs on the album. Hopefully, Tee and Durk are still cool.
Underneath everyone’s nose, Tee Grizzley is building up a resume that is as impressive as any other street rapper’s resume in the game.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.