Grieves put out a record that quickly shot up to the top of the iTunes hip hop charts. I took note and decided to give the record a shot, since I’m a fan of Rhymesayers and am always looking for new music to review. What you get when you invest in “Winter and The Wolves” is an album that has some heavy hitting lyricism, beats that flow from traditional to abstract and an interesting record that makes me feel like Brother Ali trained a new guy to jump in while he’s working on other stuff.
Grieves rhymes well for the most part, but there are times when he jumps sentences and rhymes in a forced manner. He’s not running out of air, but it sounds like he’s reaching hard for the next syllable and it just doesn’t work that well on the first listen. Hip hop is like that though, you have to find a way to compel yourself to listen more than once, or you’re going to get lost in a hail of words that are painting you a picture.
The great thing about this record is the beats. There’s a very “underground” feel to everything. You are not bombarded by blips and marks from electronic digital arrangements all the time, and you aren’t getting auto tune hitting you with smoke and mirrors, instead, you get a live dj in the studio mixing several layers together. You even get live instrumentation, here and there and you when Grieves sings, you start to make comparisons to Slug. Speaking of Slug he shows up on “Astronauts” which is one of the best tracks on the record. It leads you in with a good intro and then bounces you around different thoughts on life, past and future.
“Winter and The Wolves” comes into it’s own by track 7 or 8, and slowly grows on you. It’s like a snowfall, little flakes fall and accumulate before you start to appreciate the whole album rather than just individual pieces. I don’t think it’s the best hip hop record of 2014, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the better ones that have come out thus far. Buy this one and see what all the hype is about. I don’t think everyone’s going to like it, it just doesn’t flow quite well in spots, and that can hurt the longevity of this recording. It’s good, not great, but good enough to plop down your $15 in my opinion. Click here to purchase the record, and keep your eye out for Grieves on tour.