Tee Grizzley shows a new side on his new mixtape The Smartest
After releasing his second album Scriptures last year, Tee Grizzley is back with a new mixtape titled The Smartest which was released on June 19th, 2020 under the label 300 Entertainment. Tee Grizzley made quite a buzz for himself last year, especially mentioning Eminem's name in his song "No Talkin'" where it made Eminem do a little clap back on his latest album Music to Be Murdered By but the one who retaliated the most on that was Em's buddy, Royce Da 5'9" in an interview with The Breakfast Club. The new mixtape from the Detroit rapper features guests such as Meek Mill, Big Sean, Lil Baby, Lil Keed, and Queen Naija.
The mixtape starts with the song "The Smartest Intro" with a nice instrumental produced by DJ Mustard and Tee Grizzley delivers some angry lyrics about losing his old family but gaining a new family, plus living a higher lifestyle with pros and cons that come with it. The following song produced by Hit-Boy and featuring Ty Dolla $ign is called "I Apologize". In this song, Tee addresses his fans by apologizing for making mainstream songs in his last album by stating in a bar "I can't make that shit y'all hear from Drake and them, The people that relate to me do not relate to Taylor Swift". Tee also explains that he came from poverty, so what do you expect from him but he states he will not go through that route again when it comes to his music and there's always a price to pay when it comes to fame, fortune and money. Then we have the song "Trenches" featuring fellow Detroit rapper Big Sean who starts the song with his verse humbly, then Tee Grizzley just went off on his verse, no hook, just straight rapping about real and humble stuff. Good song from both Detroit rappers. On "Rap A Lot", Tee Grizzley raps a lot of metaphors about his hustle and his rapping skills like he was signed to major black labels, such J. Prince's Rap-A-Lot, Master P's No Limit, T.I.'s Grand Hustle, and Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella. Then we have the song "The Funeral", the instrumental was ok, and I wasn't too fond and got bored with the lyrics on the song. Next up is "Lions & Eagles" which is a street type of song with money and b******s that served as themes for the song with the featuring assistance of Meek Mill. I felt with the last two songs, Tee was lazy with his rapping skills but on the song "No Witness", he came back with a good delivery with his flow and his punchlines that were good as well on a dope instrumental. Speaking of dope instrumental, we got a toned-down beat called "Picture of My City" produced by the legendary Scott Storch, with Tee who raps humbly on this song about the city where he came from, Detroit. "Covid" is your usual trap type of rap beat and lyrics featuring Lil Baby.
Halfway through the mixtape, we're at the song "Timeless" produced by Hit-Boy, and Tee Grizzley kills this song with his good wordplays and a badass flow. Following the trap song "Slime" featuring Lil Keed, we have the song "Everything" where Tee raps a full verse song with no hooks. "Double Standards" is where Tee Grizzley gets personal about protecting his feelings when it comes to liking other women in case he doesn't get played. I enjoyed the song "Daylight" because the instrumental is smooth and the background effects of the beat add a good twist to the song, good production job from Hit-Boy. Then we have the song "Winning" followed by "Satish" where Tee Grizzley gets personal about an incident that happened in 2019 that got his aunt and manager, JB murdered in a drive-by shooting and apparently, Tee Grizzley was the initial target. Grizzley opens about how the streets can be so cruel and jealous when they see you winning and wanted to end his life, but his innocent aunt was the target of it all. R.I.P. to your aunt JB, Tee Grizzley. The mixtape finishes with the song "Mr. Officer" featuring Queen Naija and the Detroit Youth Choir. The song relates to the incidents that happened the past months regarding the horrible murder of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor all the way to Trayvon Martin. A nice finishing and touching song from Tee Grizzley, and let's hope for a better change in America regarding the horrible racist views of the United States and a change regarding police brutality.
On the mixtape The Smartest, Tee Grizzley went on a humbler and street approach than his previous album Scriptures. I really liked Scriptures and the production was better than The Smartest but then again, The Smartest is only a mixtape. Songs like "The Smartest Intro", "Rap A Lot" and "Daylight" were the ones that stood out the most in the mixtape. Even though it's a mixtape, I hope on his next album Tee Grizzley will have better production, but his rapping skills and wordplays are not to be denied.
Beat Instrumental: 3/5
Album Production: 3/5