First Impressions: 22Gz – Growth & Development

An Intro To 22Gz

22Gz is a 22 year old rapper from Brooklyn, New York, who is most well known as being a pioneer of the Brooklyn drill scene. 22Gz started gaining traction back in 2016 when a couple of his singles; Blixky & Suburban, started popping off and grabbing the attention of hip hop fans and artists alike. This lead to him signing with Kodak Black’s Sniper Gang label in 2018, and the following year he released his first (and only other) full length project ‘The Blixky Tape’. The album spawned a couple more hits in ‘Sniper Gang Freestyle’ and the Kodak Black assisted ‘Spin The Block’, and continued adding momentum to 22Gz career.

And that should get you up to date on the short but quick rise of 22Gz! On 10th of April 2020 he released his second album ‘Growth & Development’, a 13 Track project with no features. Below I’m going to review the album in two parts, first will be my observations on each track as I listened through, and following that will be my thoughts on the album as a whole. I’ll include some links to stream the album as well as some discussion questions at the end. Enjoy!

Track By Track Review

1. Lying (intro) – Beat is this kinda haunting UK Drill beat with real solid bass. The flows are decent but nothing special, has a real hungry delivery throughout though, and some good one liners. The hook flows real well, is kinda catchy too, 22gz has some good vocal inflections at times. Beat got a bit boring the longer the song went on, okay song but not too memorable at all

2. 308 – Similar Beat To The last song, has great bass but isn’t too exciting overall. 22gz has some great flows at times in his verses, more hungry delivery too, and a lot of hard hitting bars. Song ends kinda suddenly, was decent but forgettable overall

3. No Questions – this instrumental is like a mix of UK drill and an old school arcade video game like synth, has a very eerie vibe. Hook has a good flow to it and a solid rhyme scheme but the delivery isn’t too exciting and I don’t like the repetition. The usual hungry delivery but he doesn’t change it up much at all which is getting a bit boring at this point. Some okay flows but nothing great, no memorable bars either. The song had a good energy but nothing stood out, just an average track overall

4. Cash App – Really enjoy the piano in this one, is real calming and contrasts greatly with the rattling hi hats and grimy bass. 22gz rides the beat really well, his delivery sounds great over this instrumental, changes up his flows quite a lot as well. Hook is the catchiest so far, solid rhyme scheme and just flows really well. Solid rhyme schemes throughout the verses too, lots of good bars in each verse. Didn’t drag on at all, good song in the end

5. 4 Times – more traditional bass on this one, more piano too which is pleasant. Hook is okay, the delivery and flows are a bit basic but it’s catchy and I feel like it would grow on me. Some more enjoyable bars in the verses, has a good variety of flows too, Still doesn’t change his delivery up much at all though. The last verse in particular has lots of great quotables and rhymes. On the fence about this one, everything was at least decent

6. Suburban, pt. 2 – takes like 30 seconds too long to get started but once it does it goes hard; the bass hits hard and 22gz comes with his signature High energy flows and some hard hitting bars. Flows really well over this minimalistic beat too, lots of enjoyable flows packed full of impressive rhymes and great one liners. Some of the most impressive rapping and writing on the album so far. Hook is real catchy, especially by the end of the song, goes just as hard as the verses. Good song overall, just took a bit too long to get going

7. Careers – Back to the bass we heard on the first three tracks, has this real majestic synth melody present as well though which is a nice touch, and then has this higher pitched synth that comes in at times, interesting beat overall. Another hook that flows nicely and is quite catchy but has repetition in not a fan of. Some solid flows throughout the verses, and a fair share of impressive bars and rhymes. Enjoy the end of the song. On the fence but I think I liked it.

8. Blixky Gang Freestyle – Another drill inspired instrumental, isn’t too special. 22gz has some of his best flows so far, changes it up every few bars too, but always remaining enjoyable and delivering solid bars. More impressive rhyme schemes and the usual high energy delivery. Song was a bit short and lacked a hook, just felt disjointed. Okay song but could have been better

9. Twirl Girl – Different Hook than the rest, not a big fan of the repetition of the flows in the part that aren’t repetitious. First verse is real solid, 22gz finally changes up his delivery and it sounds great, flows great too and has a bunch more impressive rhymes and memorable one liners. Beat is basic but addictive, has a great bass and a simple but catchy synth. Not a big fan of the hook but I like the overall vibe of the song, good track overall.

10. Pop Out – is a bit slow in the start but picks up after about 30 seconds. The hook is decent but isn’t too memorable, has an impressive flow but boring delivery. Verses have an okay flow to them and some great rhymes but the bars and delivery don’t have much to offer. An okay track, but nothing too good

11. U-Turn – Another Still/piano combo that sounds great, isna little boring but I love the contrast of sounds. This hook is another fairly forgettable one, just has nothing too good about it. 22gz has some decent bars and flows at times but his delivery is just as basic as usual, rhymes are impressive sometime too. Not a bad song but not a good one

12. ATB (Addicted To Bankrolls) – This Beat has a good high energy to it. Hook is yet another catchy hook that is unnecessarily repetitive, is far too long to have the whole thing repeated even though it sounds alright. Verses are pretty average, the expected delivery with some mediocre bars and a lack of exciting flows. Nothing is really bad but nothing was really too exciting either, average song

13. The Oath (Outro) – Probably the most melodic hook of the album, is actually really enjoyable though in terms of both the delivery and flow, the lyrics are decent too and it’s a catchy hook overall. Verse has a good range of enjoyable flows packed with impressive rhymes and good bars. Beat is real minimal but 22gz brings life to it, apart from the thumping bass the beat wouldn’t be too exciting otherwise. Good song overall, one of the better ones

Album Review

Overall I felt like this album wasn’t overly enjoyable but it showed a lot of potential and experimented with some interesting sounds that aren’t too common in the mainstream. 22Gz showed off some impressive flows and spat some great bars, often over beats which blended the distorted melodic bass of UK drill with some more familiar and generic trap sounds such as rattling high hats and haunting piano melodies. The thing that dragged this album down was inconsistency and a lack of variety in terms of the vocal delivery.

Probably the most exciting element of this album is the incorporation of drill elements mentioned above, which is present across over half of the album tracks. The other highlights though were the rare moments where 22Gz showed a lot of potential with impressive flows, rhyme schemes, or delivery (albeit rare). I felt his delivery was great throughout the album, it was just the same on every song which took away from my overall enjoyment. I enjoyed the times where he did switch it up a bit, most notably with his slightly auto tuned delivery throughout ‘Twirl Girl’ and the melodic hook on the albums closer ‘The Oath (outro)’. I also felt ‘The Oath’ had some of the best rapping on the album, met only by the banger of a track that is ‘Suburban, Pt.2’. The album as a whole had fairly weak hooks, but some are catchy enough they’re passable, such as the previously mentioned ‘Twirl Girl’ and ‘Cash App’.

There wasn’t much that I disliked on this album, there just wasn’t enough variety to keep my interest for the entirety of the project. The production was interesting at first but didn’t vary much as the album progressed. Similarly 22Gz delivery was exciting at first, but after beating the same delivery for 10 songs it wasn’t very impressive. I feel like 22Gz has a really good charisma and confidence to him, but without much variety he doesn’t have the strength to have carried a whole album without features. With that said, I feel like this album could have been drastically improved if you had thrown a few features in the mix. Not only would it be great to break up the onslaught of one dimensional delivery, but I feel like 22Gz could sound amazing alongside a range of artists and would love to hear other rapper over this kind of production.

Going into this album I wasn’t too familiar with 22Gz so expectations were fairly minimal meaning I wasn’t too let down with this, but as is the case with any new artist I was hoping to find my new favourite rapper and unfortunately that wasn’t the case here. He has a captivating delivery but he needs to experiment with it a little more in the future to keep my interest for a full album, because combined with his impressive flows and great charisma I think he could release some great music. I’d recommend you check out the first couple of songs from this if you’re interested, and if you like them then check the album because it’s all pretty similar!

Final Notes

You can stream the album on Spotify here, or on Apple Music here!

Or you can listen to it for free on YouTube here!

‘No Questions’ Music Video

‘Suburban, Pt. 2’ Music Video

‘Blixky Gang Freestyle’ Music Video

My favourite songs were Cash App, Suburban Pt. 2, Twirl Girl, & The Oath (outro)

What were your favourite songs on Growth & Development?

Who would you have liked to see feature on this album, and on which track?

Thanks For Reading!

– Shan –

One thought on “First Impressions: 22Gz – Growth & Development

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