Tee Grizzley – “The Smartest” review

Tee Grizzley is a 26 year old rapper from Detroit, Michigan coming up as a member of the quartet ASBH. However, it wouldn’t be until 2016 where he would blow up off his first solo single “First Day Out” & earn a contract with 300 Entertainment. His profile would continue to grow by dropping projects like My Moment, Activated, Still My Moment & the Timbaland exec-produced Scriptures. But just a few days ago, it was announced that Grizzley would put out his 3rd mixtape just in time for Juneteenth.

Things kick off with the title track, where Grizzley talks about family over a DJ Mustard instrumental with some luxurious keyboards. The next song “I Apologize” takes a look at the real side of him over a ghostly beat from Hit-Boy while the track “Trenches” with Big Sean sees the 2 talking about people praying on their downfall over a piano-inflicted trap beat. The song “Rap a Lot” makes a bunch of clever references to famous hip hop icons over a intergalactic-sounding beat whereas “The Funeral” talks about ratchets & I really dig the atmosphere that longtime collaborator Helluva provides in the instrumental.

The song “Lions & Eagles” with Meek Mill finds both MCs flexing over a gritty beat while the track “No Witness” sends a warning to people not to play with him over a bouncy instrumental. The song “Picture of My City” talks about growing up in The 313 over a more West Coast instrumental from none other than Scott Storch instrumental while the track “COVID” with Lil Baby sees the 2 talking about being quarantined over an energized beat

The song “Timeless” continues to brag over yet another instrumental with a West Coast feel to while the track “Slime” with Lil Keed discusses brotherhood over a spacious beat. The song “Everything” reflects on his younger days over an eerie instrumental while the track “Double Standards” talks about catching a bad bitch over a moody beat.

The song “Daylight” talks about trappin’ over a somber instrumental while the track “Winning” talks about going for yours over an abrasive beat. The song “Satish” is a tearjerking tribute to his aunt/manager JB & even though I found the George Floyd tribute “Mr. Officer” to be decent at first because literally everyone’s doing it right now, it does stand out a lot more to me in the context of the album.

Tee Grizzley is one of the best MCs to come out of my hometown in recent memory & I really think this could be the best thing he’s ever put out. The production continues to get better overtime & we get to hear the man at his most mature yet.

Score: 4/5

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