Your Choice Way

Grip - I Died for This?! Music Album Reviews

Grip - I Died for This?! Music Album Reviews
The Georgia rapper’s debut for Shady Records is a gritty showcase for his creativity and versatility, even if it only works in fits and starts. 

Grip understands the strains of independent artistry. The Georgia-born rapper spent the back half of the 2010s using a ruthlessly technical and narrative-heavy style to bring his rugged Decatur upbringing to life. But, while breakout projects like 2017’s Porch and 2019’s Snubnose gained critical acclaim, he was working as a cab driver just to make ends meet. His misfortunes grew as steadily as his profile: his first chance at a nationwide tour in 2020 was thwarted by the pandemic and labels, who had begun steadily blowing up his line, were suddenly getting cold feet. In his eyes, Grip had given the game everything but his life and received very little in return.

This past year, the windfall of Grip’s success pushed him closer to stardom. He appeared on Eminem’s radar, who quickly signed him to Shady Records, and got to work crafting a proper studio debut. Even after signing with an artist whose videos he’d watched repeatedly as a child, the push-and-pull of the artist-consumer relationship he’d experienced during his early days was still on his mind. That relationship is the base of his label debut I Died For This!?—an attempt to parse through the pain and suffering that comes with performing pain and suffering. It’s a solid concept worth exploring, especially in the context of rap, and its best moments flesh out the Grip story while forcing the listener to confront their role in consuming it as #content. As a whole, though, the album’s stylistic shifts are too unwieldy to maintain the idea the whole way through.

Grip’s versatility has been his calling card from the start. Give him any type of beat—soulful, sample-driven, trunk-rattling—and he’ll catch a flow and bar out over it. His shorter projects, like his 2020 EP Proboscedia, tend to spotlight his ability to flex without a roadmap and rap for the pure sport of it. His longer, more conceptual projects lean further toward the more personal, their focus demanding a sterner sense of direction. I Died For This!? is easily Grip’s most ambitious undertaking, and when the vision comes together, the stakes feel lethally high.

On mid-album highlight “A Soldier’s Story?” Grip recounts his rise through the rap game through the eyes of an active-duty soldier. He sifts through producers Beat Butcha and Willy Will Yanez’s psychedelic guitars and drums to pen his journey from having nervous breakdowns while waiting to receive the Eminem phone call that would change his life. Memories like these and the ones powering tracks like “And the Eulogy Read!?” and “At What Cost?” feel prickly but accessible, like heirlooms locked in the closet that need to be opened carefully. Grip isn’t the first rapper whose passions have ate at his well-being, but the sense of anxiety rippling through I Died For This!? is palpable.

Executive producer and longtime collaborator Tu! helps Grip organize the intersecting lanes of his mind. The beats—whether they’re boom-bap (“Hands Up!”), trap (“Momma Told Me”), or something more sedate (“Patterns?”)—all pulse with darkness and uncertainty, coloring the hectic atmosphere of Grip’s raps. The piano stabs and organs in the middle of the cacophony of “Momma Told Me” repaint Dekalb County with a gothic texture. Conversely, the jazzy ambiance producer Latrell James brings to “At What Cost” amplifies Grip’s wrestling with his ambition to keep rapping.

Seams only begin to show when the album starts biting off more than it can chew. At 17 tracks, the album’s length does no favors for its sequencing. The tonal whiplash that comes with following a raucous song like “Glenwood Freestyle!” with the very intimate “Cost” is done for emphasis but also saps the emotional power from both songs. Most of the tracks with sung melodies, including the back half of “And The Eulogy Read!?” and the entirety of “JDDTTINT!?” are pretty but serve little utility within the album’s otherwise airtight framework. The album leaves its own atmosphere to come up for air too often, which ultimately distracts from the story at its center.

But when Grip and company lock in, I Died For This!? is urgent and thrilling. It’s bold to turn your major-label debut, an introduction to a whole new fanbase, into something akin to a meta rap version of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games. But his versatility and hunger helps Grip fit right into the label that signed Griselda and Westside Boogie. His energy has clearly reinvigorated his label boss, who turns in his least cringey verse in years on “Walkthrough!” “I like to be motivated by the artists we sign and I want to feel pushed by their creativity as well,” Eminem recently told Complex. For now, Grip fits the bill.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Grip - I Died for This?! Music Album Reviews Grip - I Died for This?! Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, September 13, 2021 Rating: 5

0 comments:

Post a Comment