After he was released in October 2016, Grizzley vowed to never go back to jail and promised himself that every hustle would be legal. Picking up where he left off, he recorded his comeback single “First Day Out,” a deeply personal track about standing trial and his real-life crimes over a booming beat by Detroit’s own Helluva. His steely rhymes are eye-opening accounts of what he went through: “I’m on parole in two states I can’t move wrong/The feds trying to build a case, I can’t move wrong/I went to trial back-to- back, bitch I’m 2-0/State of Kentucky banned me from every jewelry store/See, I can’t even be in public with my hood on/Michigan state don’t want none over here, they don’t know what he on.”
What surprised Grizzley is how big of a reception the video got when he shared it on YouTube last November. In the clip, directed by Nick Margetic and Everett Stewart, it shows Grizzley with dreads in an orange jumpsuit walking away from the facility as a free man. We follow him on his first day out as he gets back to business: reconnecting with homies from the street, buying a new pair of buffys, and hitting up the studio again. He says it reached 100,000 views in three days, and then broke one million during the week of its release. It currently has 16 million views (and counting).
Grizzley is the latest viral artist in hip-hop, and his song has gotten on the radars of T.I., DeJ Loaf, Chris Brown, and Trey Songz, who have all congratulated him on his success so far. His first appearance ever as a performer was when 21 Savage brought him out during a show in Detroit last December. Though he only has one song to his name, he couldn’t believe the amount of hometown love he received. “This is exactly what I’ve been thinking about for years,” he says. “When I finally got my moment, it felt good.”
As the newest addition to 300 Entertainment this past December, Grizzley is ready to take the opportunity to show and prove to the world. Musically inspired by local Detroit artists like Eastside Chedda Boyz and Doughboyz Cashout, as well as R&B acts (Mary J. Blige, Dru Hill, Case, to name a few) for their substance and soul, fans can expect My Moment to have a balance of urgency and depth to his records. He plans on having no guest appearances on My Moment, relying on his own experiences to tell his story. Roughly between 12-14 songs in length with another single titled “No Effort” on the way, it’ll also feature more production by Helluva. Tee Grizzley will be joining 21 Savage, Young M.A., and Young Nudy on Issa Tour that kicks off on March 31 in Houston, Texas at the House of Blues. The 29-city trek will conclude May 7 in Miami at Rolling Loud Festival.
In the lineage of guys like Boldy James, Big Sean, and Eminem who’ve made it in hip-hop as D-Town’s elite, Grizzley is next up as a street motivator for the city’s youth.
“I represent the young streets. I represent the young people that still can be saved. They still got a chance, you feel me?” Grizzley says. “They look at me and realize that there’s a way for us. And we still got our youth. It’s nothing that we did that we can’t make right.”