Redirecting his route: Tee Grizzley’s “First Day Out”


Tee Grizzley’s manner of storytelling has shifted the landscape of hip-hop. His raucous single, “First Day Out” instantly drew comparisons to Meek Mills’ “Dreams & Nightmares” intro and rightfully so. “First Day Out” is a description of the unimaginable scenarios that Tee Grizzley has endured and overcome. The song does not have a refrain, rather it boasts multiple verses that glide over jarring production from Helluva Beats.

Rough Exterior

The allure and appeal that surrounds Tee Grizzley derives from the complexity and tumultousness of his reality. This man grew up on Joy Road in Six Mile, West Detroit without any guidance from important role models or influential adults. In 2011, his mom became incarcerated due to a drug trafficking charge and one year later his father was murdered. At eight years old, Tee’s fascination with studios, music and the production process derived from his familial influences such as his uncles and cousins. Still, he became the first in family to attend college.

Veering off the path

As an MSU freshman, Grizzley and an associate swiped over $20,000 dollars worth of laptops and cash  from homes and a residence hall. In the meantime, Grizzley fled Michigan  for Lexington, Kentucky where he committed a compound mistake by way of a large scale jewelry store heist. His plot failed when the jewelry store owner  brandished a weapon, which neutralized Grizzley and his crew and they were taken into custody.

Consequently, this budding Detroit artist earned a hefty prison sentence. Grizzley changed his perspective and decided to find it within himself to smarten up. Tee Grizzley began to read up on his case and this helped him to ultimately gain freedom. Studying the parameters of the law gave him the opportunity to understand any loopholes he might have available. Low and behold, after receiving an initial thirty year sentence (result of severe impact statements), Tee Grizzley and his lawyer were able to negotiate his sentence down to five years  because of a technicality involving the possession and use of the aforementioned firearm. Once he understood that he had a higher purpose and received a blessing through a shortened sentence, Tee did a complete 180 degree turn on life’s perspective. He began to absorb knowledge from wise individuals and also sold his television set in exchange for literature, self-help collections and contextual enlightenment.

Spiritual wisdom and knowledge

During a three-year stint, Grizzley proclaims that he wrote five albums worth of material. His process of writing music without hearing the beat represents his ability to make every line count with impact and ferocity. The music invokes engaging, emotional responses from his target audience and encompasses a wide range of subject material. The way that Tee Grizzley is able to grip and pull in those who relate with his struggle is magnificent. Anyone can put words together and make up a story, but everything that Grizzley talks about is real. This authenticity and truth-speaking reality makes it very easy for similar individuals to resonate with his music. The energy that he brings into the studio is unrivaled.

Throughout his life, Grizzley has sought to become a spiritual individual that conveys vulnerability and thought-provoking musical quality through open expression. His gritty and realistic tales truly represent a truly bona fide redemption story.

Tee shot the video for “First Day Out” on the same day as his release, thus rocking the exact orange jumpsuit he donned at the Central Michigan Correctional Facility. The video, which took place directly outside of the prison grounds, became a viral sensation. “First Day Out” speaks to real life instances when Grizzley and his crew went through adverse times. The way the song builds rising action through anticipation and then explodes at the midway point is a major factor of why it is so popular. The song begins with introductory piano melodies and blends booming horns to create a dynamic soundscape. The lyrics touch upon topics such as loyalty, self-knowledge, guidance, pride and vengeance.

Sales for the “First Day Out” record tripled once LeBron James posted his Instagram rendition of the song while breaking a sweat in the Cleveland Cavaliers athletic facility last year. During a series of tweets, Jay-Z mentioned Tee Grizzley and dubbed his breakout single as, “The best out.” Shortly thereafter, Meek Mill hopped on the remix as predicted due to their similar aggressive and stylistic approaches. As of today, Tee Grizzley has one project out titled, “My Moment.” He is currently aligned with Kevin Liles and 300 Entertainment. Look for this artist to continue to make his mark on the hip-hop game through a variety of flows, balance, entrepreneurial roles and steady rapport in important social circles.


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