Jarren Benton performs at the A3C hip-hop showcase at SXSW, March 17, 2012
T-Rock was the first and only Atlanta rapper to be signed to Memphis-based Hypnotized Minds Records, and while he left that camp, he has remained practically a rap institution in his hometown. Now T-Rock comes with possibly his most ambitious project to date, a massive double-album of 30 songs called “I Grind, I Hustle”. The two discs are remarkably dissimilar. Disc 1, entitled “I Grind”, is a heavily-produced, lush studio album with first-rate production. Standout songs are the single “Ewing”, the title track, the pleasant sample-driven “I Blaze” and the crunk, careless anthem “I Just Might” which features The Dayton Family. Other tracks on the disc feature Dirty from Montgomery, Alabama and Memphian Mr. Sche. Disc 2, “I Hustle” has the grittier, grimier atmosphere of an underground mixtape, with rough songs like “100 Goons”, “AK 47” and “Now They Love Me.” The seeming incongruity of the two discs simply shows the extreme versatility of T Rock, and the total album has something for everybody. While some will prefer the second disc, and others will love the first, I Grind I Hustle is a bold statement of arrival for one of the ATL’s most consistent independent rappers.