An extended intro keeps you in keen anticipation before this track fully kicks into gear. Had To Grind is a heavy anthem for hip hop fans far and wide, fusing a simple yet crisp and striking backdrop, a mellow beat that falls in and out of the mix, and vocal flows that refuse to drop the pace until the whole thing is over – the track ticks a lot of boxes and undoubtedly leaves its mark with just a single listen.
The soundscape for this release is fairly minimalist, as is the case for the vast majority of hip hop tracks – the performance is where the energy comes in, the concept and the intention behind the song. In this case, the vocal takes its time to step into view, but once it’s there it doesn’t fall away or falter until the end. The flow is pretty flawless, in keeping with the natural movement and rhythm of the beat, appearing as if merely another instrument yet offering up those all-important lyrics that help make this the motivational and inspiring anthem that it is. An easily recognisable one, too.
Had To Grind draws strength from the simple fact that ‘Struggle has made more winners than privilege ever could’. That intro sets the bar high in itself, and the track that follows absolutely keeps it up there. The performances are passionate yet rhythmically unwavering, so once you’re involved and the piece is moving forwards you’re in it to the end. The hook quickly makes certain you’ll remember and recognise it, and meanwhile that descending riff leaves a similar imprint and offers the musical level of character required to complete the experience.
As stated, a heavy track, but clean and effectively crafted – the concept is kept at the forefront of the journey. A worthy collaboration with a raw and real video to match.