Free Greedo: A comprehensive starter's guide to discovering the talents of 03 Greedo.
03 Greedo was a living legend in Los Angeles long before his recent breakout success. Currently, the 30 (soon to be 31) year old artist’s triumphant rise from homelessness to cult heroship is being undercut by a 20 year bid in Texas. The tragic nature of this potentially career-ending sentence has only been heightened by Greedo’s dizzying work ethic over the past eighteen months, as he’s racked up hundreds upon hundreds of verses, with the promise of at least a dozen more projects to be released by his team in his absence.
Although it’s damn near impossible to consolidate 03’s sprawling talent into an easily digestible list, we at HNHH believe there should be some sort of entry point for those willing to take this plunge into the mind of a man scorned by the law, love, and, well, just life in general. If you’re looking for projects to pick up, look no further than the first Purple Summer mixtape, last year’s Money Changes Everything, or this year’s The Wolf of Grape Street and God Level. However, if you’re understandably distressed by the seemingly impenetrable depth of his discography, this list is here for you.
"Itchin / Same Damn Time" (2012)
Before 03 Greedo was 03 Greedo, he was Greedy Giddy. Even back then, he was a clear student of the game, not adherent to the sound of any one region. Having lost his father at the tender age of one, Greedy became a vagabond in the truest sense of the word. He spent his childhood traversing from the Bay to Atlanta to St. Louis to Kansas, all before eventually carving out his legend in the Jordan Downs projects of L.A.This remix of Future's cult classic, "Itchin", and mainstream smash, "Same Damn Time", showcases a young talent in the midst of refining his world-weary flows.
"Sweet Lady" (2016)
Not only does Greedo rap, he sings, engineers, and produces. "Sweet Lady" repurposes fellow Watts native Tyrese's song of the same name, the sample sped-up to giddying effect. Drowning under the aesthetics are Greedo's impassioned vocals. With an infectious air of unbridled lust, Greedo declares his love for all the women who hail from his neck of the woods.
Presumably another pair of self-produced tracks, this double feature of Purple Summer highlights, "Molly" and "Never", perfectly encapsulates the duality Greedo seeks to present with his dynamic songwriting. For as carefree as the the first half is, with that instantly recognizable sample and Greedo's nostalgia inducing singsong delivery, the inevitable comedown sees Greedo acutely aware of his various shortcomings. "Shouts to Thugger, cuz he put me on my first tour," he opens on "Never", before eventually detailing just how badly he blew that opportunity: "I hit the stage and almost overdosed." During that same verse, he goes on an almost Eminem-esque "Till I Collapse" level ranking of his favorite artists (Young Thug, Travis Scott, Kodak Black, Gucci Mane - with Boosie Badazz always at the top).
"If I Part 2" (2017)
Most would probably use this spot for the original "If I", featuring G Perico and Lil 100. And we probably will highlight "If I" in a future installment of this piece. However, we figure that it's about time people start showing "Part 2" more love. This repurposing of "If I"'s call to arms premise is somber and more ruminative than the original, allowing Greedo ample space to feel out each person that claims to have his best intentions at heart. Without the features and the strict adherence to the premise that made the first rendition a bit too stiff, "Part 2" is allowed to reach greater levels of poignancy.
An homage to Boosie's 2015 album, Touchdown 2 Cause Hell, "Touchdown" is instilled with as much anguish and visceral, gut-wrenching imagery as his favorite rapper's best passages. Although Greedo's auto-tuned melodics are far removed from the stylings of Boosie, they both utilize the same canvas of heartbreak to juxtapose the fight for their soul with the penitentiary shackles that keep them from ascending.
"Mafia Business" (2017)
A tribute to fallen Watts OG, Mafia Ray, "Mafia Business" is triumphant in the face of such a devastating loss. The song eulogizes Ray by celebrating his life. By the time the beat switches, the party is fully underway.
"Run For Yo Life" (2017)
Released in 2017 before eventually finding a home on this year's The Wolf of Grape Street, "Run For Yo Life" plays like Greedo on a sprint from the Grim Reaper. Which, all things considered, was quite literally his predicament. While he realizes this year (2017) might truly be his breakout year, Greedo is too fixated on his mental health to fully appreciate the moment: "I was depressed off them drugs then realize I was the plug/I got blinded by love and that shit fucked me up."
Greedo creates albums as a single stream of consciousness, so it makes perfect sense that he's able to often combine two consecutive tracks into an effective piece of visual art. He did it before with "Molly/Never", and this effort with First Night Out highlights, "Rude" and "Zoning", is no less enthralling. Before LA Weekly was bought and gutted, Jeff Weiss was able to cement Greedo's cult status - a fact that Greedo himself immortalizes on "Rude": "Fuck your opinion, LA Weekly think that I'm that dude."
"Never Bend" (2017)
You have to have heard this one! The minor hit that officially kicked off his run this past year, a Lil Uzi Vert remix of this jailhouse confessional can be found closing out God Level. The original, the more effective of the two, eventually found a home on The Wolf of Grape Street. If you haven't heard this yet, stop reading and press play, you fool!
"Wake Me Up In Traffic (ft. Drakeo The Ruler x Shoreline Mafia)" (2018)
"Wake Me Up In Traffic" is a seamless melding of the foremost talents upholding L.A.'s current renaissance. With Drakeo the Ruler awaiting trail and 03 Greedo now behind bars, the collective work between these parties stands as a testament to their subverted potential.
"If I Wasn't Rappin" (2018)
This is Greedo having fun; this is the break from the bleak nature of existence we all deserve. Although fleeting, "If I Wasn't Rappin'" is jam-packed with one-liners that are as colorful as the beat is animated. Press play to hear Greedo gleefully rap, "the hottest shit since Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, satisfaction/love my sisters on some black shit," over sfx pulled directly from Sonic the Hedgehog.
"High Off Me (ft. Yung Bans)" (2018)
Although over ten years his senior, Greedo and Yung Bans connect on a spiritual level on "High Off Me". This track sees both artists chase a type of mythical love that will supposedly erase the need for all other drugs. Greedo's chameleon-like vocals are undeniable, as is his ability shift between guarded addict and soul-bearing romantic. This contact high inducing record catches both artists in a dream state, simply and honestly channeling their inner most monologue.
A five minute gesticulation that is in parts both measured and wildly untethered, "Floating" is the statement Greedo chose to serve as the single for God Level. A surprisingly worthy summation of all that this enigmatic artist has to offer, this track is an undeniably essential addition to 03's catalogue.
03 Greedo is at his best when juxtaposing his tireless authenticity with off the cuff moments of disarming insecurity. On "Conscience", his search for salvation is turned into a spirit cleansing chant. Greedo plays his own judge, jury and executioner, but remains ever confident in the face of failure, transforming ostensible cracks in his armor to proudly worn battle scars. His message is clear: despite the nature of the struggle, 03 will eventually emerges victorious; a living legend.
"Blow-up Bed" (2018)
Greedo's first project since imprisonment came by way of Bay Area upstart, Nef the Pharaoh. "Blow-up Bed" is only one of the many highlights from Porter 2 Grape EP, a concise, self-aware glimpse at the influence Greedo's talent will have throughout the entire west coast. "I been blowin' up like a Goodyear blimp," Greedo acknowledges, before inevitably shifting to a darker sentiment: "I feel like a legend, got some time to do in Texas." Ever-resilient, ever-charismatic, despite the unjust nature of it all, 03's will is awe-inspiring.