“2019’s been great, you feel me? I've been blessed,” Tee Grizzley tells Apple Music. “I've been able to do everything I've wanted to do and reach out to my fans and touch the youth. Even outside of the music—just touching people that's in the streets.” The Detroit rapper is especially excited about a newfound freedom to travel; his parole ended late last year after he served time stemming from a 2015 robbery case (as chronicled in his breakout single “First Day Out”). He’s gotten to see Paris and Mexico by way of performing, but spent much of his time offstage working on Scriptures. The album, his second studio release, is executive-produced by Timbaland—which for Grizzley would mean figuring out how to rap over the legendary beatsmith's cutting-edge production. The experience showed him what he was capable of to the extent that he'd call Scriptures “one of the best projects I did so far.” He spoke to Apple Music about the inspirations that brought it all together. Creative Freedom “I ain't gonna lie: I don't even be having no mindset when I first start on projects. I try to make a better song each time. But I ain't trying to outdo no other song—I just try to do some shit that's gonna be hard as fuck. Harder than anything I did.” The Timbaland Effect “I'm in the studio with Timbaland, and he got these beats that I ain't really used to. It's a whole different level, so I just knew I had to take a different approach with them. Just really trying to get in a different bag. 'Million Dollar Foreign,' that's the first song me and Timb did. He was like, 'I just want to hear how creative you can get on here. I want you to rap and sing.' I was nervous for real; I don't want to let him down on this hard-ass beat. And then everybody was like, 'Man, that shit’s fire.'” Leaving His Comfort Zone "I be challenging myself. Some beats, I don't know how it's going to come out; some beats I don't even like! But I'm going to try it anyway. I’ve heard a lot of artists say, 'I didn't even like that song,' and it ended up turning out to be a hit. Plus, a lot of songs that I like, a lot of people don't like. So I just try and mix it up. A different beat is going to make you sound different and take a different type of tempo. What makes you a better rapper is just practicing and perfecting your craft. Nothing's going to make you a better rapper but truth and practicing.” Detroit “I feel like our sound is street grimy and gritty, but that's what we see every day and that's where we come from. We see people getting money and getting killed. I claim Detroit 'cause that's where I'm from and that's what made me me. But at the end of the day, my music ain't for just Detroit people, it's for everybody who been through something, or everybody who want to sympathize with people who've been through something.” Staying Focused “If I ain't got nothing else to do but [one] song, it'll get done pretty quick. 'Cause it's gotta keep my interest. If it don't keep my interest, I'll probably start working on another song. My writer’s block is short-lived, though, 'cause I stay on it. I go listen to other songs and I think of other stuff to talk about. I just come up with stuff. I get writer’s block and then I'll just look for inspiration and I get it.”

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