The Smartest

Tee Grizzley

The Smartest

No small part of Tee Grizzley’s enduring appeal comes from his ability to shift gears while staying authentic. Whether joking about fast food preferences on the Scott Storch-produced “Picture of My City” or mourning his tragically departed aunt on “Satish,” the versatile Detroit spitter always presents himself with an unvarnished authenticity that can feel quite rare in a genre where posturing proves rewarding. He demonstrates both a knowledge of rap record label history and a gift for thematic commitment on the cleverly referential “Rap a Lot,” with executives and imprints name-dropped with ease. On the piano-led “Trenches,” Big Sean calls back to his Detroit neighbor’s breakthrough “First Day Out” with Grizzley more than happy to revisit that same energy. Backed by a youth choir and aided by the potent pipes of Queen Naija, he taps into a national fury and anguish on the unflinching “Mr. Officer.”

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