Zayfromthebay shares his sophomore project Rise & Grind: Grinding Season, which is a backronym for Relentlessly Inspiring Someone Everyday And God Rise Internally No Doubt. The 11-track body of work showcases his DIY approach to music making. From recording himself to mixing a handful of the tracks to songwriting, he sure puts his all into the project.

“Boss Hogg On Candy” is a testament to his go-getter mentality and never-ending grind in the game. Over a bouncy and punchy backdrop, Zayfromthebay shares some interesting facts about himself while flexing on the detractors with expressive bars like “Her talk is cheap, ain’t buying it/Pound for pound, I’m the best to ever come up out my town/undefeated and I’m equipped for another round” and tops it with a screwed vocal sampled chorus. The following track “Can’t Be Done” is a piano-driven upbeat track that embodies the Bay Area roots and captures the rapper’s daily grind and laser-guided focus on the things that matter the most. He sums it up with the lines “Grinding all day, don’t have time for fun/Once you get cheddar, everything will get better”. Next is the Westcoast synth-infused “Solo” which features Florida rapper Kt Calibur. Here, both rappers deliver unfiltered bars while they revel in their success and take time to have fun while the haters get stuck in the bleachers. Vocalist Karena Sherie flexes her sultry vocal runs on the love-themed track “Feel This Way”  which sees Zayfromthebay pouring adulations on the lady who is in his life. He reassures her that he will always be there and cements it with heartfelt lines like “Promise to love and protect you/and I won’t put anything above you/Don’t think I’m crazy but I notice every little detail/from the gel in your hair to the colors displayed on your nails”. It’s quite a switch from the tough-as-nails persona and listeners get to witness his vulnerability.


The project benefits from this smooth “Ride With Me” with its rich bass-driven backdrop and summery vibes and the synth-driven anthemic track “Drown Or Fly” which sees Zay reminding us that he can’t afford to lose and he is always on the move and in his own words “I am addicted to grinding” and he closes it up with an interpolation of 2pac’s “Hail Mary”. “Lunch Room Flows” has a punchy club groove with thick basslines and distorted synths underpinned by Zay’s bravado bars. Here, he flexes his lyrical skills and gives listeners a taste of his freestyle skills. “2009” is a reflective tune that talks about his childhood and the many experiences that shaped him from a young kid to a man on a mission.


The project closes out with three songs that give listeners different perspectives on his artistry. From graphic tales to celebratory moods and hometown appreciation, we get to see a glimpse of what makes this man who he is. “No More Stressing” is a reflective and vivid storytelling tune that explores the ups and downs of the life of a young black man in the US of A. He acknowledges that the odds are against him but he is hellbent on making it no matter what life throws at him. “Live It Up” is a triumphant tune that lives up to its title. Backed by the bass-heavy and punchy production, Zay gets into his element and implores us to live our dreams because he is taking no shorts or losses on anything. The final track “Do My Thang- Remix”  is a collaboration with Houston-based legendary rapper GT Garza, and both go for the jugular and represent their hometown over the pounding piano-driven backdrop.


Overall Rise & Grind: Grinding Season is a mixed bag of anthemic tracks with a touch of emotion and revelations. Listeners do get a glimpse into Zay’s life and while he doesn’t go extra deep into it, he still leaves us with some interesting and relatable facts. Our favourite tracks include “Boss Hogg On Candy”, “Do My Thang- Remix”, “Solo” and “Ride With Me”.



Keep up with Zayfromthebay | Website: Spotify

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