Tee Grizzley goes through a bit of a metamorphosis in the jam-packed “Built For Whatever.”
TOP 5 SONGS
HONORABLE MENTION. LIFE INSURANCE
Believe it or not, featured guest Lil Tjay goes harder than Tee Grizzley in “Life Insurance” (The world is about to end). “Life Insurance” is very captivating (At least, to me). In the song, Tee Grizzley admits to the world that he prays to the LORD often and that he used to move very carelessly. For 90% of the song, he sounds gentle as f**k. For 75% of the song, he sounds like PnB Rock. Lil Tjay doesn’t quite sound as remorseful as Tee in “Life Insurance.” Throughout his verse, he comes across as a dude that is proud of his heinous ways. Don’t worry, he’s young, he will learn. Is it gangsta to have life insurance?
5. NEVER BEND NEVER FOLD
I would hate to owe Tee Grizzley or G-Herbo money.
I don’t know what’s in the water down there in the Midwest. These days, it feels like every single rapper that comes out of that area is on some violent s**t. Two violent-ass dudes from Detroit and Chicago, Tee Grizzley and G-Herbo, decided to unite for “Never Bend Never Fold.”
“Never Bend Never Fold” is powered by an instrumental that features a helluva tempo and menacing vibes. Over it, both Tee Grizzley and G-Herbo hit us with riveting bars about revenge killings, bread-stacking, and slapping contests. If the hair in the back of your neck doesn’t stand up while you listen to the song, you must be glued to the hood like an emblem.
4. WHITE LOWS OFF DESIGNER
I am pretty sure that “White Lows Off Designer” was supposed to be a Drake song.
“White Lows Off Designer” features a very smooth Noah 40 Shebib-Esque beat, a few vulnerable lyrics here and there, and the kind of melodies that Drake tends to use when he tries to grab a hold of our hearts. With that being said, the song does also feature a few lyrics that will remind you that both Tee and featured guest Lil Durk are rich and would probably slap the mess out of anyone that tries to steal their hats (Do you hear that, Jake Paul?).
3. GRIZZLEY TALK
“Grizzley Talk” is yet another track by Tee Grizzley that sounds like Meek Mill’s epic “Dreams & Nightmares” track.
Tee Grizzley never misses when it comes to album intros. His latest, “Grizzley Talk,” might be my favorite. I like it because it gets more and more intense as it plays on and features a version of Tee that is humble, violent, and boasty. By the time you are done listening to the song, you will be ready to indulge in the rest of the album (Isn’t that the point of an intro?)
My favorite line in “Grizzley Talk” is: “I got a new crib that I call old-school because it’s the same size as my old school (Folks, it’s very possible to have a house that is bigger than a school… My ghetto-ass elementary school was small as s**t).
2. QUIT TRAPPIN
Tee Grizzley does some great storytelling in “Quit Trappin.”
Tee Grizzley gives us his introduction to trapping in “Quit Trappin.” Throughout the song, he reminds us about the folks that he pulled up on, cops that he ran away from, and the one incident that made him stop trapping. As usual, you’re going to love how he recalls the story using a style of rapping that is truly riveting.
I don’t think that this will be folks’ favorite song from this album, but I am always down for a good story.
1. LATE NIGHT CALLS
I felt this song in my heart.
In the last couple of months, I’ve posted two collaboration songs with Tee Grizzley and, at the time, the newly freed Baby Grizzley. In them, the two brothers sound elated that they finally get to tear the game up together. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, Baby Grizzley, someone who was on probation, was arrested for gun possession. What that means is that the Grizzley’s reunion has come to an immediate end. In honor of his brother, Tee decided to craft “Late Night Calls,” a song that details the emotions that ran through his head when he found out about his brother’s arrest.
If you have a younger sibling, “Late Night Calls” should strike a chord with you. Throughout the song, Tee talks about the pain, disappointment, and anger that he felt when he found out that his brother caught a gun charge. He also talks about the impact that his father’s death has had on him. Personally, I feel like every single emotion Tee shows us in the song is all the way real; that’s what makes it so touching.
Free Baby Grizzley (He’s done enough time).
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. GRIZZLEY TALK (4/5)
2. NOT GONE PLAY (3/5)
3. BUILT TO LAST (4/5)
4. IN MY FEELINGS (4/5)
5. CARELESS (4/5)
6. WHITE LOWS OFF DESIGNER (4/5)
7. MAD AT US (3/5)
8. LIFE INSURANCE (4/5)
9. EVICTIONS (3/5)
10. LEFT WRIST ICEY (3/5)
11. HIGH SPEED (3/5)
12. NEVER BEND NEVER FOLD (4/5)
13. LESS TALKING MORE ACTION (4/5)
14. WHITE DIOR TEE (3/5)
15. WHAT WE ON (4/5)
16. QUIT TRAPPIN (4/5)
17. CHANGE (3/5)
18. LATE NIGHT CALLS (4/5)
19. FREE BABY GRIZZLEY (3/5)
Historically, I have given Tee Grizzley’s albums some very high grades. While I can honestly say that I don’t hate Built For Whatever, it is probably my least favorite project by the Detroit rapper.
I spotted red flags with Built For Whatever as soon as I saw the tracklisting. Yes, Tee is someone that has some great relationships in the game, but damn, practically every song features someone. To add to that, the performances that most guests gave us on the album came across as either predictable, gimmicky, or just flat out bizarre (I thought that Big Sean verse on “What We On” was pretty mid (I spent a whole week defending Sean’s pen game, too)).
Do you know what I realized while listening to Built For Whatever? Tee is in that interesting phase in which he is trying to grow as both an artist and a person (Every rapper we care about goes through this phase). Throughout the album, he talks about praying to GOD and being regretful for his mistakes of the past just as much as he talks about robbing and shooting folks; this shows me that he is growing as a person slowly but surely. Tee also opts to do a lot of singing on the album, even when a song doesn’t necessarily call for singing; this shows me that he is growing as an artist. Nonetheless, there are still a few cold hard Detroit-style bangers on the album that will make you shiver.
I am very curious to see what path Tee Grizzley takes for his next album. Because this one sort of feels like a bridge to a brand new version of him.