Gangsta Grillz, you bastards. If you’re a fan of DJ Drama’s Gangsta Grillz albums, then you’ve heard this line many of times. DJ Drama has created a classic mixtape series called Gangsta Grillz that some of the biggest artists in the industry have used to either launch their careers (such as Young Jeezy) or helped reinvent themselves (such as the mixtape Weezy aka Lil Wayne). But what about an artist from Oklahoma? Wait. That can’t happen. But one thing the Pandemic has taught me is that Hennything is possible (you read that right). And it did. With one of the most talented artists in Oklahoma Ayilla. And it was on December 16th that the world was introduced to Ayilla and her Gangsta Grillz “Kill Us Both”.
Before we get into the album's juicy details, let’s get into some facts. Because like Bernard M. Baruch once said, “Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts,” Fact 1 is that this is a legit Gangsta Grillz album with Ayilla and DJ Drama. Fact 2, the album has 10 tracks that come out to 22 mins and 4 seconds of playback time, with most tracks averaging a little over 2 mins. The song “Breathe For Me” is the longest track, coming in at 2 mins and 53 seconds, and the shortest track is “Whiskey”, coming in at 1 min and 37 seconds. There are no features on the album, and rightly so, this is Ayilla’s introduction to the world so it’s only right that she’s center stage. So, let’s get into the album “Kill Us Both”.
The album starts out with "Drama Spell". As soon as the track starts that’s when you realize that it’s really real, Ayilla has a Gangsta Grillz with the legendary DJ Drama, and he doesn’t waste any time going into his Drama talk. This excitement for hearing DJ Drama is immediately paused as soon as Ayilla’s powerful voice comes rushing in thru the speakers and at the same time it rocks the listener into a trance. This is Ayilla’s spell.
“I put a spell on you… cause you put a spell o n me too”
Track 2 is the album's title track “Kill Us Both”. And from the start of the track Ayilla's voice shines, you can hear her vocal range as she is able to float from note to note combined with the tracks infectious uptempo beat, it gives it this uplifting and inspirational feel. Even the way she sings the first bar gives you chills. “Head up… can’t keep me down,” But at the same time there as soon as the beat breaks down, comes this dark side to the track, because not too much later she also spits a bar “Save us all before I kill us both,”, that’s a hell of a statement. It definitely seems like the boiling point of a toxic relationship. This feels like the track Chrisean wanted to make but didn’t have the talent to. This could literally be the intro song to the Blueface and Chrisean Rock’s show “Crazy in Love”. But this is "Kill Us Both" and DJ Drama and Ayilla must've both been in some crazy relationships because they both talk about it being selfish for wanting to kill us both. “Maybe I’m selfish”, Ayilla sings. The song then fades into more instrumentation of electric guitar riffs and piano key melodies.
Track 3 “You Lie II”, at first glance seems like it would be a follow-up to “You Lie” which was track 2 on her project “The Witch Tape”. But it's when you take a listen to both you say "Hey!! What's going on here? Because both tracks are essentially one and the same. “I’m tryna be a better me, I met Adam tryna be a better me” Ayilla spits. These are only the first 2 bars and they're exactly the same in both songs. Really the only difference between these two songs is DJ Drama speaking and probably the mixing and mastering, the production for "You Lie II" feels fuller and more explosive. But that's why this is on a Gangsta Grillz. When diving into the lyrics of the song you see how it further perpetuates the toxicity theme of the album. It mentions lust over love, also it mentions going tic-for-tat, and the final ingredient, lying. That’s one hell of a mixture for a drug or some might say, love.
Track 4 "Come Inside" is like this sexy innuendo about the pain Ayilla feels and the only cure lust. You can hear in lines like; "My heart been broken, I’m hurting, can you come inside." This song is filled with lines like this. But also, the song is very short at only 2 minutes and 8 seconds, it feels like more like an interlude than a finished song. This is further supported by the fact that throughout the track there are these fragmented bars that seem like unfinished thoughts. These unfinished thoughts leave so many questions, but maybe that’s the reason for her repeatedly saying Come Inside. She literally wants to finish the conversation instead of running away from it. Either way it’s still a dope song.
When we get to the middle of the album track, we get a different feel with “Ain’t Easy”. This track feels like an old-school west coast vibe with remnants of this 90s R&B sound, hell they even throw in the old-school “dramatics” sound that people come to recognize in a DJ Drama Gangsta Grillz record. Ayilla gets back to having fun with this record. You can hear it in her vocal runs as well as in her ad-libs that make her words scat across the beat like a Jazz singer. I would say this track sounds heavily Jazz influenced even up to the strumming guitar and the way her words elongate and carry from bar to bar like a graceful aerial silk performer transitioning from one silk fabric to the next. You also get a glimpse of her ability to rap, though just 4 bars, you feel again this improv scat and Jazz influence. It ain't easy to not rewind this track back.
The next track is "Disbelief", and you’ll be in disbelief of some of the bars she sings on this track like, ”Pray got in the way. Pray came in first place.” Damn, if that ain’t a disbelief bar. I think the song is about all the crazy shit couples can say to each other and still look at one another like it wasn’t supposed to hurt the other person’s feelings. This is some real toxic shit. The song is like seeing the fine woman in a scary film. You just want to yell at her. Get Out The Fuck Out of there!
“He don’t believe in love but what the fuck is this.”
Track 7 is "Whiskey", it's a nice vibe and the shortest songs on the album. It’s like getting a pint of liquor when you wanted the liter. You can’t afford it, but at the same time you also can’t afford not to. Ayilla's voice is intoxicating, just like being drunk, you get lost in Ayilla’s voice. The chorus is like a repeating thought that you can’t get rid of. You know youd trippin’. But the liquor makes it numbs it all. Even the beat is so hypnotic and goes in and out. But black out on this track. It's something to really appreciate.
When we get to Track 8 "Breathe for me" you realize, damn, it’s almost over. But with that comes a really great track. It’s probably one of the most upbeat tracks of the album. Who taught Ayilla how to get on this track like this? If it was Yeezy, Yeezy taught you well. I like the fact that she raps a little on here. Maybe not a full fledge rap, but just enough to let you know she can do it at any time. This is one of the stand-out tracks on the album in my opinion
Track 9 "Worship the Sky" is one the tracks that also appeared on Ayilla’s project The Witch Tape, but there are some slight nuances in the track's production such as more sounds added, the beat is slightly different, but the lyrics are pretty much spot on with the original except for of course DJ Drama. I agree with this move though. I think it was a standout track from The Witch Tape and was a good marketing move, especially when performing the album. The listers will know the words. I also like the way she takes her time with this track. It seems to represent her realizing she don’t need to take this shit no more. It also has one of my favorite vocal performances when at the end she repeats “Magnify do you mind is, lift me on high, do or die, can we worship the sky tonight?” Even though this is not a new song, it still jams.
The last track on the album is "Stand Still". But I think when you listen to this song, you’re gonna want to do everything but stand still. The track has this Afro-Caribbean sound which is a great move for Ayilla and her career. It shows artistry in her ability to try new sounds and also, it’s one the most popular genres with artist like Wiz Kid and Burna breaking thru to a more mainstream audience. This song is more about getting lost in a person as the listener also gets lost in the track. And again, DJ Drama brings us back to reality, as he shouts a few people out. By the time the track is finished you realize time did stand still.
There you have it Kill Us Both the album by Ayilla and DJ Drama. Now back to the facts. Or as said Sherlock Holmes said, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” And the fact is that this is a concept album about a toxic relationship and the head space you get into when you’re in one. The from the alum cover to the tracks, there's no doubt this is Ayilla's most revealing albums. If I had to pick the standout tracks on this album my vote would be for “Breathe for me” and “Ain’t Easy”. But the album did leave you wondering. Will Ayilla stay in this toxic relationship? Who knows. Maybe there will be a “Kill Us Both 2”. But until then listen to this dope piece of art from the artist Ayilla and the legendary DJ Drama called "Kill Us Both".
Gangsta Grillz you bastards!
Let us know what you think of the album.
To find out more about Ayilla and her latest music follow her social media below:
Apple Music: Ayilla