griz-o, out of bounds, oh91

Review: Griz-O drops impressive grime mixtape with producer Oh91

In Grime by Joe Ponting

Look back into the past in Gloucester and you’ll find Roman ruins and the Domesday Book – but the future is Griz-O, and brace yourself because the future is now and it’s aiming a roundhouse kick straight at your head. The towering rapper is back with Out of Bounds, a 13-track workout showing why he’s generating shock waves in the grime scene right now.  You can stream it on live on Spotify and iTunes.

The man is proud of where he comes from, and Griz keeps things South West, bringing in OH91 on production. The Bristol beat smith’s work is latex-tight, bringing hard beats when they’re called for. Peep the vintage sounding grime of ‘G&G’ and the laser basslines on ‘Vibes’ ft Danja.

You can’t ignore how he opens things up with hi-hat trills and rounded synths on lower-tempo cuts like atmospheric closer ‘Enough’, complementing Griz’s versatile flow like salt goes with vinegar.

Between these two poles lies a record dominated by the man on the mic, who is operating at the top of his game – ‘Grizzly!’ plays like an aggressive manifesto – but guest vocalists pull things in different directions like kneading dough with boxing gloves on.

Grove’s soulful vocals in the chorus on ‘Onwards, Upwards’ push a rock-solid low-down grime track towards the rafters, bigging up Griz before rapping a razor-sharp verse herself. There are also appearances from Rider Shafique, DankHomez, Danja and Skatta, each sinking their own layer with which to firm up Griz’s already rock-solid foundations.

Griz isn’t coming at this from nowhere – hip-hop has been in his blood since day one thanks to his father’s penchant for Tupac and Biggie Smalls. Having delivered an ice-cold freestyle for Risky Roadz – spitting bars over a massive
instrumental – and featuring in Red Bull’s Raise The Bar competition, he’s got a proven track record. While in the booth for Red Bull he compared himself to Neymar, but Griz isn’t the one diving in the box; his flow might be as nimble as the Brazilian’s feet, but he’s the one putting in the big tackles not falling to the ground. In fact, he all but says as much on the tough ‘You Already Know’ –“playtime over, playtime done, no more games, no more fun”. Things are about to get serious with Griz-O, watch this space.

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