Conway the Machine – “What Has Been Blessed Cannot Be Cursed” review

This is the 11th EP from Buffalo emcee & entrepreneur Conway the Machine. Blowing up in late 2015 as part of the 3 OGs of Griselda Records alongside his brother Westside Gunn & their cousin Benny the Butcher. Ever since the trio have rose to prominence, they’ve had hip hop lock by their constant work ethic balancing quality & quality as well as vividly detailing their lives in the streets on top of boom bap production kin to that of RZA & Havoc in their music. Con’s full-length debut From King to a God was my Album of the Year for 2020 & just dropped his Shady Records-backed sophomore effort God Don’t Make Mistakes back in February, which is the most personal he’s ever been. He just dropped Organized Grime 2 a few weeks ago & is reuniting with Big Ghost Ltd. for What Has Been Blessed Cannot Be Cursed.

“Salutations” is a grim opener talking about whacking motherfuckers whereas “It’s a Green Light works in a piano & a harp admitting that he’s more confident than ever. “Bodie Broadus” takes a richer albeit drumless route calling out those who waited until he blew up to reach out to him leading into Jae Skeese tagging along for bloodcurdling “In My Soul” talking about people wanting them gone. “Y.B.C.M. (Your Bitch Chose Me)” goes into more soulful territory saying they know the game just before “Why You Ain’t Move on Me?” eerily gets on his murder shit.

Meanwhile on “Sunday Sermon”, we have Conway reuniting with Jae Skeese to go back & forth with each other over yet another soul sample bragging about their legendary status while the song “Scared II Death” with Method Man is a ghoulish boom bap banger taking a shot at those who be afraid of them. The final song “Big Drum” comes through with yet another Drumwork posse cut except he’s showcasing damn new the full roster at this point & “Dog Food” ends the EP with an outro from the skit gawd himself Lukey Cage.

No One Mourns the Wicked & If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed have quickly become some of the best EPs that Con have put out yet, so I had very high hopes going into into What Has Been Blessed Cannot Be Cursed & I’m very satisfied with it. As raw as Organized Grime 2 was, the production from Big Ghost Ltd. is much spookier & Con’s lyricism remains unmatched in today’s hip hop climate.

Score: 4.5/5

Conway the Machine – “Organized Grime 2” review

Conway the Machine is a 40 year old MC & entrepreneur from Buffalo, New York who blew up in late 2015 as part of the 3 OGs of Griselda Records alongside his brother Westside Gunn & their cousin Benny the Butcher. Ever since the trio have rose to prominence, they’ve had hip hop lock by their constant work ethic balancing quality & quality as well as vividly detailing their lives in the streets on top of boom bap production kin to that of RZA & Havoc in their music. Con’s full-length debut From King to a God was my Album of the Year for 2020 & just dropped his Shady Records-backed sophomore effort God Don’t Make Mistakes back in February, which is the most personal he’s ever been. But to celebrate his freedom from Eminem-owned Interscope Records imprint, La Maquina is reuniting with Trillmatic Goods to host his 10th EP.

After the rock-tinged intro, the first song “Chop 22” kicks off the EP with a lavish Mephux instrumental with Con declaring he’s still on go time whereas the soulful “Phone Call” produced by Detroit’s very own Apollo Brown talking about earning everything he has from hustling. Rome Streetz tags along for “Murder He Wrote” to advise you don’t push them backed by a ghoulish boom bap beat from Hobgoblin leading into Benny the Butcher & Flee Lord coming into the picture for the cloudy “Marathon” talking about running it on the blocks.

After the “Intermission” interlude, the 2nd half of the EP starts off with the cinematic “State” reminding that he’s the illest rapper alive just before the organ-laced “From the Bottom” reflecting on coming up from nothing. The penultimate song “Soul Cry” with T.F. finds the 2 over some horns talking about never capping & prior to the turntablism outro, “Keep Up” with Vic Spencer ends the EP on a jazzy note pointing out that they can’t keep up with them.

Organized Grime is one of the best EPs that Conway has ever put out in my opinion & I happen to think this sequel is even better than it’s predecessor. In comparison to the much more personal approach that God Don’t Make Mistakes took, Con sounds a lot more rawer lyrically & some of the best producers in the underground currently went as hard as he did behind the boards.

Score: 4.5/5

Conway the Machine – “God Don’t Make Mistakes” review

This is the long-awaited Shady Records album from Buffalo emcee/entrepreneur Conway the Machine. Blowing up in late 2015 as part of the 3 OGs of Griselda Records alongside his brother Westside Gunn & their cousin Benny the Butcher, the trio have had hip hop lock by their constant work ethic balancing quality & quality as well as vividly detailing their lives in the streets on top of boom bap production kin to that of RZA & Havoc in their music. Con’s full-length debut From King to a God was my Album of the Year for 2020 & last year, we were treated to his 8th EP If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed produced entirely by Big Ghost Ltd. & his 11th mixtape La Maquina. But in light of Conway announcing earlier this week that he’ll be amicably departing Shady & Griselda to focus on his very own label Drumwork Music Group, what better way to fulfill his contracts than to drop God Don’t Make Mistakes?

“Lock Load” starts off the album with Beanie Sigel & Conway talking about always carrying a strap on them on top of a spooky Daringer instrumental whereas “Tear Gas” with Lil Wayne & Rick Ross works in a high-pitched vocal sample calling out those who weren’t there for them when they needed them most. “Piano Love” of course brings in a dreary piano instrumental from The Alchemist talking about being the richest in Buffalo, but then “Drumwork” is pretty much “Crack in the 90s” & “Sister Abigail” on steroids.

Meanwhile on “Wild Chapters”, we have T.I. joining Conway on top of a dispirited boom bap beat from Hit-Boy talking about the story of their lives just before the Bink!-produced “Guilty” goes into soulful turf encouraging to focus on his lyricism than his appearance. “John Woo Flick” follows it up with a disgusting Griselda posse cut in the same vein as “Spurs 3” leading into the spacious boom bap banger “Stressed” pondering if anyone cares about his mental well being.

“So Much More” encourages listeners not to “let ’em tell you 1 side of the story” on top of angelic vocal loop provided by the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League while the Jill Scott-duet “Chanel Pearls” gets on some smooth Bonnie & Clyde shit. The penultimate song “Babas” incorporates some organs talking about going from king to a god (no pun intended) & the title track finishes the album off by airing out all these questions he has with The Alchemist providing a lush musical backdrop.

Conway’s been hyping this up for a good minute now & for it to be his final Griselda project as well as the only one on Shady, we got ourselves an early album of the year contender & some of the best work of his career. The production is superb, the features are all well picked out & it’s amazing how personal he’s getting on here. I wish him all the best on his own.

Score: 4.5/5

Conway the Machine – “La Maquina” review

Conway the Machine is a 39 year old MC & entrepreneur from Buffalo, New York who blew up in late 2015 as part of the 3 OGs of Griselda Records alongside his brother Westside Gunn & their cousin Benny the Butcher. Ever since the trio have rose to prominence, they’ve had hip hop lock by their constant work ethic balancing quality & quality as well as vividly detailing their lives in the streets on top of boom bap production kin to that of RZA & Havoc in their music. Con’s full-length debut From King to a God was my Album of the Year for 2020 & his sophomore effort with Big Ghost Ltd. that just came out a couple months ago If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed is a worthy sequel to No One Mourns the Wicked. But just when even thought we were getting the Shady Records-backed God Don’t Make Mistakes next, we’re getting another prelude album out of the woodwork.

“Bruiser Brody” is a a grimy opener from the boom bap production from JR Swiftz to the lyrics calling out those who pray on his downfall whereas the Bangladesh-produced “6:30 Tip Off” is a jazz-trap fusion speaking on his profit. The song “Blood Roses” is about how “I came to prove I came improved” with a spiritual beat from Cardiak, but then “Clarity” opens up on how he spares “no feelings when my pen is movin’” on top of a soulful trap instrumental from Don Cannon.

The track “KD” has a weepy trap instrumental from Murda Beatz with lyrics talks about those speaking on Conway’s legacy while “200 Pies” with 2 Chainz of course gets on that pusher shit & the bare loop that The Alchemist comes through with is hypnotic as fuck. “Sister Abigail” is a dusty boom bap tune where The Machine recruits his new protégés Jae Skeese & 7xvethegenius for a homage to The Fiend’s signature move of the same name, but then Jae returns on the peppily-produced “Grace” to talk about how they don’t live in disguise to get their blessings.

The song “Scatterbrain” brings in J.I.D & Ludacris to get murderous on top of a frigid instrumental, but then Elcamino & Shots hop on Had to Hustle” to speak on what they had to do to get where they are now. The closer “S.E. Gang” serves as a response to those who said Conway was leaving Griselda earlier this year as he, Westside Gunn & Benny the Butcher spit that mafioso shit over a flute sample from Daringer.

Not what I was expecting from Conway, but still a dope album regardless. In comparison to him returning to a more grimier sound on If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed, I like how he continues to build off the the versatility that From King to a God brought. Whenever the time for God Don’t Make Mistakes comes, I’ll be more than ready to hear where he takes it.

Score: 4/5

Conway the Machine – “If It Bleeds, It Can Be Killed” review

This is the brand new project from Buffalo emcee Conway the Machine. I really shouldn’t have to explain who he is at this point not just because I’ve been covering the whole Griselda camp quite a bit throughout these past few years, but just the way they have been dominating hip hop since late 2015 balancing quantity & quality by dropping a handful of dope projects a year. But 2020 was undoubtedly Conway’s most prolific year yet, dropping a total of 2 EPs & a full-length debut that’ve all quickly gone down as some of his best bodies of work yet. But as Conway gears up for his long-awaited Shady Records debut God Don’t Make Mistakes, he’s re-enlisting Big Ghost Ltd. for a sequel to No One Mourns the Wicked entitled If It Bleeds, It Can Be Killed.

After the “Commencement” intro from Lukey Cage, the first song “J Batters” calls to free his homie of the same name over some cinematic string sections whereas the next track “away We Move” talks about going from nothing to performing at Coachella over a soulful beat. The track “Kill All Rats” with Ransom & Rome Streetz finds the trio taking aim at snitches over an occult instrumental while the song “Toast” talks about aiming at fuck boys over a luxurious beat.

The song “Losses to Blessings” talks about the trials & tribulations over a melancholic, jazzy beat while the track “Highly Praised” talks about never falling off over a gospel sample. The song “Sons of Kings” with Knowledge the Pirate sees the 2 getting in their shit-talking bag about over a boom bap beat with some up-tempo keyboard melodies while the penultimate track “Red Beams” talks about wanting all the smoke over a devilish beat. The album ends with “Forever Ago”, where Conway talks about lying to protect his significant other from the truth over some harmonious vocal melodies.

I think If It Bleeds, It Can Be Killed is right on par with No One Mourns the Wicked & brought my excitement for God Don’t Make Mistakes to an all-time high. Conway continues to elevate as the best lyricist in Griselda & on the other end, Big Ghost Ltd. cooks up some of his best production yet.

Score: 4.5/5

Conway the Machine – “From King to a God” review

Conway the Machine is a 38 year old MC from Buffalo, New York who’s risen to prominence as a co-founder of Griselda Records with his brother Westside Gunn. The label has put out a lot of the most essential releases from the East Coast within the past 5 years & have quickly become one of the most well-respected crews in hip hop today. Although everyone on the team has always been working their asses off (especially as of late), Conway has definitely stood out the most in 2020. He dropped 2 damn-near perfect EPs in the spring with LULU & No One Mourns the Wicked but as the release of his long-awaited Shady Records debut God Don’t Make Mistakes approaches, La Maquina is finally delivering the highly anticipated prelude album From King to a God.

The opener “From King…” speaks on how Conway has become a brand over a grimy Daringer beat whereas the next song “Fear of God” with DeJ Loaf sees the 2 talking about how far they’ve come over an empowering Hit-Boy instrumental. The track “Lemon” with Method Man finds both wordsmiths talking about over a creepy beat while the song “Dough & Damani” is pretty much Conway’s equivalent to “‘97 Hov” off of Benny the Butcher’s 2018 magnum opus Tana Talk 3 down to the switch-ups in the instrumental. The track “Juvenile Hell” with Flee Lord & Lloyd Banks sees the 3 over a dusty Havoc beat & after the “Words from Shay interlude, the song “Front Lines” is a well written response to the murder of George Floyd backed by a demented Beat Butcha instrumental.

The track “Anza” with Armani Caesar finds the 2 talking about how their crew has the most money over a trap beat from Murda Beatz while the song “Seen Everything But Jesus” with Freddie Gibbs finds the 2 talking about their regrets over a boom bap instrumental with some fancy keyboard embellishments. After the “Words from Shay 2” interlude, the song “Spurs 3” with Westside Gunn & Benny the Butcher get on their pyrex shit over a somber instrumental while the song “Forever Dropping Tears” talks about how no one can deceive him a smooth beat from none other than Erick Sermon & Rockwilder. The penultimate song “Jesus Khrysis” talks about being in rare form over a cinematic instrumental from Khrysis whereas the closer “Nothin’ Less or More” talks about how he’ll forever keep it raw over a funky boom bap beat from none other than DJ Premier.

After years of hype, this album certainly lived up to my expectations & only enhances my excitement for [i]God Don’t Make Mistakes[/i]. Not only is Conway the most versatile he’s ever been before, but you can really hear how much he’s grown both as an artist & as a person throughout the years.

Score: 4.5/5

Conway the Machine – “No One Mourns the Wicked” review

This is the 7th EP from Buffalo emcee Conway the Machine. In case you don’t know, he‘s been running the underground for the past 5 years as 1/3 of the trio Griselda with Westside Gunn & Benny the Butcher by consistently been putting out 1 modern East Coast classic after another. Earlier this year we saw The Alchemist entirely produce La Maquina’s previous EP LULU & now just a couple months later, Big Ghost Ltd. is getting tapped on for No One Mourns the Wicked.

After the “Family Secrets” intro, we go right into the first song “Dead Flowers”. Where Conway talks about rapping what you live over a menacing guitar lead. The next track “Icon” talks his already established legacy over a demented boom bap beat while the song “Fake Love” with Elcamino sees the 2 talking about deceivers over an instrumental with these ghostly vocals hanging in the background. The track “Shark Guts” looks back at all the accomplishments of his career up to this point over a soul sample & even though Conway’s vocals slowed down for whatever reason, it works.

The song “Bricks to Mural” talks about how he’s eating now over a dusty boom bap beat & after the braggadocious “Rich” interlude, the penultimate track “S.D.L.N. (Streets Don’t Love Nobody)” vividly paints how it’s cold the hood can be over some bleak piano chords. The EP finishes off with “Sicarios”, where Conway & Flee Lord get together to talk about being hitmen over a boom bap/rock fusion.

If you loved the Griselda Ghost EP that Hall ‘N Nash dropped about 5 years ago, then I really don’t see why you wouldn’t like this as well. It literally sounds just as gruesome from Conway’s lyrics all the way down to Big Ghost’s production & both parties show why they’re currently the top dogs of the underground.

Score: 4.5/5

Conway the Machine – ” LULU” review

Conway the Machine is an emcee that blew up as 1/3 of the trio Griselda with Westside Gunn & Benny the Butcher. Last year we saw him droping a total of 3 short projects last year & now with the 1st quarter of 2020 coming to a close, he’s enlisting West Coast veteran The Alchemist to produce his 6th EP in it’s entirety.

After the intro, we get into the first song “14 KI’s”. Where Conway of course talks about pushing coke over an ominous beat. “The Contract” speaks on how nobody’s on his level over an orchestral instrumental while the song “Shoot Sideways” with ScHoolboy Q sees the 2 talking about murder over a boom bap beat. The track “Calvin” talks about being the big homie over a demented beat while the song “They Got Sunny” with Cormega sees the 2 going at wack rappers over a grimy boom bap beat. The EP finishes off with “Gold BBS’s”, where La Maquina talks about gunning down those who oppose him over a boom bap beat with a spooky vocal sample.

To me, this is easily one of the best things Conway has ever put out. He sounds a lot more focused than he did on the 3 projects that he dropped last year & the production is more consistent too because you can’t really go wrong with The Alchemist.

Score: 4.5/5

Griselda – “W.W.C.D. (What Would Chinegun Do?)” review

Griselda is a hardcore hip hop trio from Buffalo, New York consisting of Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine & Benny the Butcher. All 3 of whom have made names for themselves throughout the latter half of this decade with modern East Coast classics like FLYGOD, Supreme Blientele, Reject 2, G.O.A.T. (Grimiest Of All-Time), Tana Talk 3 & The Plugs I Met. Now despite all those projects being put out independently under Griselda Records, the trio have seen fit to team up with Shady Records & make their collective debut album their inaugural release on a major label.

After the spoken word intro from Raekwon, the first song “Chef Dreds” finds all 3 members trading bars back & forth with each other over a chilling boom bap beat from Daringer & Beat Butcha (both of whom produced the entire album by themselves). The track “Moselle” serves as the theme song for crack dealers over a frightening instrumental while the song “Cruiser Weight Coke” talks about running the game over an organ-inflicted beat. The track “Freddie Hotspot” talks about drug dealing tip over a haunting instrumental while the song “DR. BIRDS” sees the 3 flexing over a grimy beat.

“The Old Groove” then talks about life in Buffalo over a ghostly instrumental while the track “Scotties” continues to display their amazing chemistry over a demented beat. After the “Kennedy” interlude, the song “City on the Map” with 50 Cent pays tribute to NY over a cold blooded instrumental & in a way it’s like 50 passing the torch down to Griselda. The track “May Store” talks about trapping being their calling over an ominous instrumental & then after the “Lowery” outro, there’s the bonus track where Westside Gunn & Benny add verses to the decent “Bang” single that Conway dropped with Eminem over the summer.

For a major label debut, this is damn near perfect & easily one of my Top 5 releases of 2019. Other than wishing that both Conway & Marshall recorded new verses for the “Bang” remix, I really admire how Griselda didn’t change up their lyricism or production trying to appeal to a crowd that doesn’t exist & just stayed being themselves.

Score: 4.5/5