This is the 2nd mixtape from Atlanta emcee Grip. Coming up in 2017 of his debut mixtape Porch, he would go on to drop his full-length debut Snubnose along with 2 EPs Halo & Proboscidea prior to Detroit veteran Eminem signing Grip to his very own Interscope Records imprint Shady Records last summer. His sophomore effort I Died For This?! the following month was an impressive major label debut showing his potential, so I was excited going into 5 & a Fuck You when he announced it out of the blue a couple nights ago.
“Cook Up” is a booming yet dark trap opener with Grip talking about needing a week to do exactly just that whereas “‘94 Flow” takes the boom bap route to spit some aggressive battle bars. Marco+ tags along for trap-laced “Static” calling out those who don’t want smoke with them, but then “Popular Demand” returns to the boom bap with an organ sample laced with the help of DJ Khalil addressing his return.
Moving on from there with “Da Benzo”, we have Grip delivering a shrilling trap ode to Mercedes-Benz leading into “The F Word” switching it back into boom bap turf talking about giving no fucks. “Value Mall” has a more atmospheric vibe to it explaining how you can ball on a budget just before Tate228 tags comes into the picture for “Cory ‘N Mel” telling the story of 2 robbers of the same name with some chilling soundscapes.
The song “Good” is a soulful celebration of how far we’ve come in this life while the penultimate track “Many Thanks” has a more twangier aesthetic to it with Grip sincerely expressing his gratitude to everyone listening for being the reason why he’s even here for a little over 8 minutes. “Ain’t Ok” though happens to be a solemn closer to the tape talking about the kids not being alright.
If this is something to warm people up for his next full-length, then I think it’ll be even bigger splashes than I Died For This?! as impressive of a major label debut was when it came out a little over a year ago. It’s a lot more rawer in sound, his penmanship is continuing to get better & he’s starting to come into his own artistically.
Grip is a 32 year old MC from Atlanta, Georgia who came up in 2017 off his debut mixtape Porch. This was followed up a couple years later with the full-length debut Snubnose but after dropping 2 EPs in 2020 & signing to Eminem’s very own Interscope Records imprint Shady Records earlier this summer, he’s ready to make his major label debut by putting out his sophomore album to a wider audience.
After the “Enter Stage Right” intro, the first song “And the Eulogy Read!?” kicks things off with a boom bap banger recapping his career up to this point whereas “Hands Up!” serves as a spacey shot at the system. The title track takes a turn into trap territory saying he waited his whole life for this certain moment just before “Momma Told Me!” is a ghostly look back on his mother advising him to get that paper.
Meanwhile on “Placebo”, we have Grip & Royce da 5’9” jumping on top of a trap instrumental that later switches into boom bap turf to compare this song to a substance or treatment that has no therapeutic value leading into him proclaiming he’s larger than life for the chaotic “Gutter!”. Things take a much more melodic turn for “JDDTTINT!?” saying he doesn’t want to die, but then “A Soldier’s Story” has a psychedelic feel saying what he writes is like a zeitgeist for life’s highs & lows.
Eminem of course tags along for the bassy, organ-laced “Walkthrough!” saying they can’t save the world whereas “The Lox!” with Tate228 starts off with a nocturnal boom bap instrumental before switching up into a trap beat saying he wants a check. “Enem3” with Big Rube had a more settler tone telling their old friends to meet them at the middle just before “ConMan” is a piano ballad saying he has a date with destiny.
“Glenwood” serves as a synth-laced freestyle about the titular city in Georgia while the song “At What Cost!?” somberly opens up about depression. The penultimate track “Patterns?” harmoniously apologies for letting his partner down & finally, “Pennies / Exit Stage Left!?” ends the album apocalyptically asks if you’re not entertained.
Even though I still prefer Snubnose, that’s not to say I Died For This!? isn’t a bad entry point for anyone new to him. He manages to stay true to himself rather than selling out now that he’s on a major label & still manages to do a fine job at carrying the hunger from his previous efforts onto this.