Milwaukee, Wisconsin has never been known as much of a hip-hop city. It tends to be overshadowed by its nearby neighbor to the south, Chicago. Any momentum its scene has had has been short-lived at best. But over the last couple years, the Brew City’s rap scene has been simmering and is now about ready to boil over, finally coming together and finding cohesion. Above all, the city is not bound to genre, which allows artists to openly explore their aesthetic without being limited by any regional sound.
Without the same kind of industry infrastructure as more prominent music cities, the artists here have developed a DIY attitude. One such verbal craftsman is Grizzly Donlife, who has released the single “No Sides” (Prod. by Mister Mammoth).
Throughout his work, Grizzly teeters between soul productions, trap-like beats, and boom bap, using the platform to spit bars on his personal narrative, his city, and his grind. He is also capable of verging on the alternative, as can be heard on his work with Prophet on the “Level Fiji” EP.
This beat is real interesting. Love how it juxtaposes Grizzly’s gritty, but smooth flow. The production fits his flow perfectly but I thoroughly enjoyed the pockets he finds – hell the pockets he creates, are astounding. His flow changes up and down so often, he’s breaking up lines in interesting ways but never loses his rhythm.
There’s a rather recurrent stigma in rapping where if you’re to tell a story, you have to sacrifice some lyricism for the sake of clarity. Paying no mind to that, Grizzly Donlife balances lyricism and narration straight out the gate with “No Sides” (Prod. by Mister Mammoth).
The most impressive thing about this track is Grizzly Donlife insistence on not being pegged as a particular type of rapper. Almost true to the name of the single, he opens up all the layers of his psyche which include the skills of a spitter, a storyteller, and a street emcee.
Sit back and listen to Grizzly’s simple ability to tear through the beat on “No Sides” (Prod. by Mister Mammoth) without missing a step or altering the melody.
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