The G.R.i.T. Boys, a stalwart Southern rap group among stalwart Southern rap groups, have long been an undervalued commodity. There are three boys who are gritty -Scooby, Niq, Poppy - and musically, they tend to float around between Brick Rap, Brag Rap, existentialism and whatever the opposite of Calvinism is.
Last year, Scooby broke off made the first solo tape of any of the three members; it was very good. In March, Poppy released his. You don't know Poppy, but you KNOW Poppy. He's the grumbly-voiced one, the little one with the round face. The rap stork delivered a copy to our doorstep two weeks ago.
We consumed it. Some notes:
Re: the undervalued-ness of the G.R.i.T. Boys: No joke, you can buy their album, Ghetto Reality in Texas, at outlets online for as low as $1. One. Dollar. You know what else you can buy for $1. Nothing, goddammit. You can't even buy a Snickers. Those shits cost $1.08, which means if you don't have that dime to go along with your dollar, you're not walking out of that convenience store with a delicious candy bar, no matter how sad a face you make.
Scooby and Niq show up multiple times here; Scooby buzzes through his parts with whatever amount of fervor he feels like calling forth (usually a lot) and Niq delivers the most interesting guest verse on the tape when he wanders through the set of Friday and assigns roles from the movie to real-life people. Critics always eat that shit up. We're some real predictable suckers.
"You might as well headbutt a knife." Ha, ha. Cool.
Poppy has always been a bit of a wordsmith, and he continues that trend here. At one points, he pontificates on the idea of his money coagulating (his words, not ours). It's that, coupled with throaty growl, a trait often associated with the opposite of wordsmithism, that makes Poppy enjoyable to listen to. Dichotomy is almost always fun.
Cy Fyre, to whom several tracks here are credited, gets loose on
the audio equivalent to a Memphis swamp. Everyone should have at least one Cy Fyre track on their tape. Pay the man.
FYI, the "i" in "G.R.i.T." is lowercased because there's no I in G.R.i.T., even though there's totally an I in G.R.i.T. (Hint: It's the third letter).
Perhaps one of the more enjoyable aspects of the tape is that, even when it is unimaginative ("Kush Boys," for example), the tape always sounds very well put together. (You saw the same thing on Quis' 16oz.) Everyone goes yo-yo for all of the new talent here in town, and rightly so, but there's something to be said for the inherent professionalism of the veterans. Speaking of...
Here's a question: Where do you place the G.R.i.T. Boys in the Houston Rap Spectrum? They were groomed by guys like H.A.W.K., so they seem too old and established to be part of the new rush, but they're too young (and too energetic) to stand next to guys like Ke' and ESG (we'll call it the Killa Kyleon conundrum).
There should be a new subsection or something. Remember how the NBA sort of lulled a bit between Jordan retiring and Duncan, Kobe and that whole class of guys took over? That's what happened with Houston rap too, and that's when the G.R.i.T. Boys came into power. If you enjoy thinking about that stuff, the whole situation is very interesting.
Paul Wall and Starchy Arch flex their muscles some on
Wall is especially tough, dialing up his slow-as-it-goes flow that he showed off on his latest LP.
The natural question that comes up here is, Whose solo tape is better?
Fans of Poppy are going to argue that this tape is better than Scooby's. Scooby fans will argue the opposite. If you ask either of them which is better, they'll dodge the question with some sort of democratic response that'll likely start with "At the end of the day..." (i.e. "At the end of the day, I support him and he supports me" and blah, blah, blah).
We suppose that's okay. What's more important is that both tapes exist and neither of them suck.
You're on deck, Niq.
Download Intent to Distribute here.