Back in July, East Atlanta rapper GRIP posted a photo on social media of him and Eminem chilling in a studio with a handshake emoji. After some speculation, it was confirmed that GRIP had become the latest artist to join the Shady Records roster. With the new deal also came the announcement of his new album I Died For This!?, with the tracklist revealing that Eminem would be one of the artists featured on the project.
Last week GRIP and Eminem spoke to Complex about how their partnership came together. GRIP's story is one of perseverance, an artist who sacrificed everything for his dream, releasing music independently for years, focused on building something that would last. But with the global pandemic shutting down the entire music industry, GRIP came real close to giving up. That's when Eminem called and being a fan of conceptual projects, it turned out that the Shady boss was already impressed with GRIP's 2019 album, Snubnose.
“We all got excited about GRIP after we heard Snubnose,” Eminem explains. “It was really refreshing to hear a new artist so focused on making a conceptual project and it caught my attention.”
While most labels operating in 2021 make decisions rooted in streaming numbers and social media followings, Eminem was looking for something else. “It’s definitely great when artists we sign connect with a larger audience, and 50 [Cent] is a perfect example of that,” Em says. “Obviously we want anyone who signs with Shady to succeed. But first and foremost we’ve always focused on the raw talent and ability of the artist as an MC. We’ve always been pretty clear on that being the main thing we look for: high level fundamental skills and mechanics are definitely the priority.”
The new album, which was released a few days ago, is a 17-track release featuring Eminem, Royce Da 5'9", Kenny Mason and a few others. It's another conceptual project, exploring the idea of duality, a reflection of the hard work GRIP has put in for his success while recognizing that so much had to be sacrificed to get there. I can see why Eminem is a big fan, and im really looking forward to digging into GRIP's previous work. For now though I hope you enjoy the incredible music on I Died For This!? as much as I do.