300 Entertainment
300 Entertainment

On Nov. 7, 2016, Tee Grizzley released "First Day Out" in the immediate aftermath of a prison stint for robbery. The triumphant track—with its adrenaline rush of an instrumental and flow—set up a redemption arc for the Detroit rapper, who quickly became one of the most exciting rappers to watch out of the Midwest. 

Almost exactly two years later, Tee Grizzley is off of parole. He's celebrating with the release of Still My Moment, the follow-up to his 2017 debut mixtape My Moment (on which "First Day Out" appeared). It's also his first new material since his debut studio album, Activated, dropped in May.

Activated is a solid release yet plagued by the kinds of issues that tend to plague studio debuts: It's long and bloated, with too many attempts at pop crossover tracks, especially for a street rapper like Tee Grizzley. The album just didn't live up to the promise of My Moment and "First Day Out."

Still My Moment is decidedly less focused on crossing over with radio hits. It's a more personal project from Grizzley that focuses on his strengths as a rapper and storyteller. Here, he often raps about his experiences in prison and the successes he's had in his life since that time. He wants to speak from his experience to uplift and give others hope. He says as much on "Wake Up," a motivational track featuring Chance the Rapper on which he tells listeners to get educated and not waste their time.

"Pray for the Drip" has Tee Grizzley and an inspired Offset reflecting on how hard work has helped them overcome past prison stints to become stars. Likewise, Tee raps about enduring hardship to accomplish unimaginable goals on "We Dreamin'."

Grizzley's post-prison redemption story and newfound success hasn't made Grizzley forget his roots. On the introductory title track, he raps, "In love with these streets, I just hate what they come with." Meanwhile, Grizzley raps about trying to stay out of trouble with the law on "Get Right." On the emotional "Babies to Men," he talks about how he and many other kids on the street had to grow up too fast.

While much of the subject matter has to do with Grizzley's personal journey and experiences, he takes plenty of time to flaunt his successes, too. He's rapping about luxury cars and Patek watches all throughout the record, and one could easily glean what a track titled "Bitches On Bitches" is about. Quavo shows up on "1 Night" to rap about foreign girls. Grizzley might want to give hope to people on the streets, but he also makes plenty of time for fun.

The beats on Still My Moment are largely handled by Helluva, who's been Tee Grizzley's go-to producer for the past two years. They've got a winning formula—Helluva is especially strong with piano-based beats. The keys on "Babies to Men" are especially gorgeous and work well with the track's funky bassline. J Gramm adds some gospel organ to "Wake Up" and Tay Keith's beat for the trap-friendly "Hooters" is a highlight.

Still My Moment is a breezy listen, and Tee Grizzley is incredibly easy to root for. He's boastful but humble, and his personal experiences come across on every track. He's only 24 and already displays a wealth of knowledge and talent. While he's still getting comfortable with his own voice in rap, it will be exciting to see how he progresses from here.

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