GRIP – STILL (5 & A F*** You) (Deluxe) – Album Review
Album: “STILL (5 & A F*** You) (Deluxe)
Release Date: July 7, 2023
Label: Shady Records/Stray Society
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★✩ 9/10
Atlanta rapper GRIP is back again after releasing his very well received album “I Died For This!?” 2 years ago, followed by the lesser noticed but worth your time “5 & A F*** You” last year. GRIP is known for being a gritty-flowed new school artist that doesn’t have to rely on whatever sound is currently trending. In my opinion, this makes him very under-rated as an artist. It’s criminal that he’s not blown up internationally yet.
Now GRIP is back with a short and sweet, 11-track Deluxe/Follow up album to compliment the first “5 & A F*** You” project. Maybe “sweet” is the wrong word to describe this one. This might be the most I’ve ever seen GRIP let go of his inner aggression and let everything loose. If the title didn’t already make it clear enough, you’ll understand once you push play on track one.
The album kicks off with an intro that sets the tone for an intense, open and honest journey of musical gritty wordplay. The track begins with a cold, haunting atmospheric instrumental. The combination of eerie synths and deep basslines do their part in drawing the listener in. Something about GRIP’s immediately flow gives off a slightly defeated vibe. By the end of the track, his tempo picks up in such a commanding way. By the end of the track I can’t help but feel personally charged by the Contagious energy spewing from all aspects of the intro. As far as an intro track, it does a great job hooking listeners and demanding their attention for the next 30 minutes.
I love the hard-hitting drums on this one. The extra buoyant basslines are infectiously pleasing as backdrop for the song. In terms of lyricism, GRIP’s clever wordplay is on full display as he carefully weaves together punchlines and metaphors.
The Fast-flow rap thing has been done a million times at this point, but it can still be done without being overdone. This track is an example of that. My knee-jerk reaction is to say I hear a bit of JID influence in the flow. Maybe it’s the laid-back but somehow energetic delivery that I’m such a sucker for. Either way, the key strength in this track lies within the versatility of GRIP’s flows. On top of that, the song deserves praise for being able to paint vivid pictures with words while maintaining the focus of even the most casual listeners.
“SS” is the biggest standout track on the album so far. The unapologetically commanding presence and style of this track gets a chef kiss from me. GRIP could have just thrown down flashy bars and called it a day, but the way he switches his flow so effortlessly is magical. I love everything about this track, down to the gritty flow and the well-placed vocal samples.
This might be the most emotionally vulnerable state I’ve ever seen GRIP in. It’s hard not to feel your heart strings being pulled by the raw, emotional lyrics. Much like the track’s name, beat is very stripped down without feeling skeletal. The delicate piano is stands out carefully because of how muted the rest of the instrumental sounds. It’s beautifully crafted in such a captivating way. I can’t believe this track ends with “I wrote this sh_t while I was taking a dump” and it didn’t do anything to take away from otherwise tear-jerking track. Could this be some of Eminem’s trademarked writing style rubbing off on GRIP?
Keys mostly takes a well needed breather from the heavier subjects some of the previous tracks dealt with. It leads with a slower, mesmerizingly swimmy beat. Although the instrumental is subtle, the lyrics live into themes of struggling with identity and dealing with choosing the correct paths life gives us. It can also be seen as a celebratory track. When you’re looking at it in that light, it becomes a song about GRIP looking back on his success and what it took to get here.
The melodic instrumental on this track is so incredibly soothing. I feel like my eardrums are gently receiving a sugar scrub massage. The female vocal samples that dip in and out tie the production together perfectly. The song’s structure adds an extra layer of depth to “Time.” The verses gradually unfold, building on one another and unraveling different aspects of the theme. This track is yet another testament to his storytelling abilities and mature growth as an artist.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure where this track was going when it started with a raspily delivered “B–ch!… B–ch. B–ch!!”. It’s definitely not a track for GRIP’s easier listening fans. This is probably the most acidic, hard to swallow track on the album. It’s also quite a banger! Fans of “Aight!” by Westside Boogie will probably enjoy this one.
This is my favorite track on the entire album; easily. As the track title suggests, “Angels” musically transcends earthly limits with it’s powerful, soulful production and meaningful lyrics. The track is nothing short of masterpiece. GRIP’s super organic, realistic delivery adds that much more to already Aw-inspiring song.
Still deals with the frustrations that come with being better than most of your hip-hop colleagues, without receiving nearly the same amount of respect. As a hip-hop head myself, it’s not hard to see his point with this one. It must be awfully tempting to sellout when it seems like that’s the only way to make a big name for yourself in hip-hop. This track is the unfinished story of an underdog/rags to riches story that hasn’t been completed yet. This is a “just wait and see” kind of track.
As we reach the album’s conclusion, we come to the track “You”. The production of “You” sets a melancholic and atmospheric tone right from the start. The album is fittingly ending on a very self-reflective track. GRIP wonders how his life could have played out different if he would have made a name for himself sooner. On the same token, he imagines the hundreds of ways he could have wound up dead. I suppose within this track, GRIP is happy for the life he has when he considers how it could be. In a clever way, he’s using this song as a sort of letter filled with advice to his younger self.
From the thought-provoking Intro track to the soulful finale “You,” GRIP takes listeners on a deeply personal journey through themes of self-discovery, love, and vulnerability. At this point, GRIP deserves to be brought up in every conversation revolving around the best of this generation.