Few rappers get so closely associated as representatives of their cities as Tee Grizzley has after his ground shaking single, “First Day Out.” It was so personal and so ‘Detroit’ that people were instantly drawn to him and his story. We’ve finally got his debut album to hopefully get the full picture of who Tee Grizzley is as an artist and as a person. Instead of going all in on the formula that thrust him into the spotlight, he tries to juggle authenticity and commercialism, and it doesn’t always find the mark. He even goes so far to include not one, but two Chris Brown features and employs auto-tune on a number of songs here. It’s basically an industry norm these days but they are some of the weakest points on the album. He trades on ‘realness’ and when he focuses on delivering authentic, photographic verses, Activated really starts to find it’s stride. While Activated is still full of bangers and hard-hitting rhymes, it at times feels like he trying to escape his image as a ‘street level’ rapper and tap into more commercial success – which is understandable, but it’s not when he’s at his best.
Styles P just low key may have just dropped the hardest album to come out this year. Hip-hop will always be a young man's game but Styles P shows that he's still got 'it' and then some with the most relevant album to come out of the D-Block click in years.
Cardi B's debut isn't great by any stretch of the imagination but it's not that bad either. It's a more listenable project than I expected and has more than a few noteworthy moments. I guess what really makes it a decent project is that all of her best songs sound like a more than serviceable approximation of whatever artist she's feeling in that moment. They say the best artists steal, so in that sense she's more than on her way.
Mike WiLL Made-It was the real draw for this album and his production was pretty much the only thing that kept me pushing on through Edgewood. That's not to say that I think Trouble is a particularly bad rapper, it's just that I don't think much of anything about Trouble in general. There's a considerable lack of charisma or even energy with everything he does that left me feeling indifferent.
“I’m like a kid before Christmas night
Who ain’t never had none in his life, like
This really my life with zero exaggeration
Some niggas just elevated, got me feelin’ activated
Lost a lot in them cells and cages but held on to my dedication
The money got me fascinated, saw that shit and got activated”
Have you heard Activated? What’d you think about it? Do you think he tried to go too commercial? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions to the album.
Tee Grizzley – Activated Reaction
While "Activated" is still full of bangers and hard-hitting rhymes, it at times feels like Tee Grizzley is trying to escape his image as a 'street level' rapper and tap into more commercial success - which is understandable, but it's not when he's at his best.