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

Westside Gunn – “Hitler Wears Hermes VIII: Sincerely, Adolf (Side B)“ review

This is the highly anticipated 2nd disc of the 8th mixtape from Buffalo emcee, songwriter & entrepreneur Westside Gunn. At this point, what can be said about the guy now that hasn’t been said already? From running one of the hottest hip hop labels in recent memory to his first 2 full-lengths FLYGOD & Supreme Blientele, you’d be lying to yourself if you said he & the rest of the Griselda crew haven’t had the culture on lock for the last 5-6 years. Dude’s been laying low throughout a good portion of 2021 so far, but is deciding to finish the Hitler Wears Hermes mixtape series in the form of the 2-disc Sincerely, Adolf. The first disc came out last month & it was only a matter of time that Side B came out.

It technically starts off with the “Brodie Lee” intro & the “End How You Start” intro, but things really don’t get rolling until Conway the Machine & Benny the Butcher tag along for “Hell on Earth, Pt. 2” for some eerie boom bap coke slanger shit. Jay Electronica assists West for the jazzy “Free Kutter” calling for his homie to be released from the pen, but then “Richies” is a Gunnlib reunion reusing same sample as “Ontheway!” by Earl Sweatshirt asking if you’ve ever seen a corpse.

“Julia Lang” despite it’s brevity gets back on that yay shit with a grimy Camoflauge Monk instrumental leading into Chase Fetti, Flee Lord & Heem aligning for the disgusting 2-parter “Celine Dion”. Following this, Mach-Hommy pops up on “Best Dressed Demons” with a dusty Daringer beat declaring themselves as rolling stones just before Armani Caesar & 2 Chainz help morbidly declare that they’ll take their words to their graves for “Forest Lawn”.

Meanwhile on “Why I Do ‘Em Like That?”, we have Westside Gunn & Billie Essco jumping on top of a luxurious boom bap instrumental getting criminal minded whereas “RIP Bergdorf” finds him & Mach going back & forth nonchalantly on top of a mesmerizing vocal loop from Nicholas Craven. He later shouts out his boys Sly & J Batters on the perilous “TV Boy” while the orchestral “Survivor Series ‘95” with Jay Worthy, Larry June & T.F. declares Griselda as the new Roc-A-Fella.

Rome Streetz comes in for the JR Swiftz-produced “Eddie Kingston” saying life’s lavish & they’re beyond greatness & even though I love the classiness of “Ostertag”, it feels more like a Stove God Cook$ joint since West isn’t on it at all. “Munch” with Tiona Deniece has a bit of an R&B flare telling listeners to love how you want, but of course the AZ-assisted “99 Avirex” works in a melodic instrumental getting on their mafioso shit.

“The Fly Who Couldn’t Fly Straight” with Tyler, The Creator takes a soulful route flexing on motherfuckers while the final song “Big Al” with Rome Streetz is a depressing tribute to MF DOOM. However, the actual closer “BYE BYE” starts off with a jazz sample & then a brief spoken word passage from none other than Keisha Plum.

Now that both discs are out, I think Hitler VIII as a whole is a jam-packed finale to the popular mixtape series. There are just as many features that all come correct as the first disc did, West solidifies his icon status & I like how he went with a more varied list of producers rather than sticking with The Heartbreakers again.

Score: 3.5/5

Westside Gunn – “Hitler Wears Hermes VIII: Sincerely, Adolf” review

This is the 8th mixtape from Buffalo emcee, songwriter & entrepreneur Westside Gunn. At this point, what can be said about the guy now that hasn’t been said already? From running one of the hottest hip hop labels in recent memory to his first 2 full-lengths FLYGOD & Supreme Blientele, you’d be lying to yourself if you said he & the rest of the Griselda crew haven’t had the culture on lock for the last 5-6 years. Dude’s been laying low throughout a good portion of 2021 so far, but is deciding to finish the Hitler Wears Hermes mixtape series in the form of the 2-disc Sincerely, Adolf. The first disc given to us now & the other most likely on Halloween

After the “Murders in Marfield” intro & the “Blessed Times” interlude by AA Rashid, the first actual song “Mariota” with Stove God Cook$ kicks things off with a soulful beat & them saying you ain’t gotta worry whereas “Vogue Cover” is somewhat similar instrumentally except the 2 are talking about birds going fast. Mach-Hommy tags along for the jazzy “Margiela Split Toes” to spit that fly shit just before the dusty boom bap cut “Draymond” with Rome Streetz & Stove God saying they had to pray over the bricks.

Meanwhile on “Peri Peri”, we have West & Rome sticking around to jump on top of some keys & dusty drums to talk their shit leading into the Jadakiss-assisted “Right Now” working in another jazzy beat to get on their pyrex shit. “Westheimer” by Boldy James alongside Sauce Walka & Stove God Cook$ find the trio hopping on top of an old time loop saying they had no choice but to commit murder, but then West & Lil Wayne come together for the grimy “Bash Money” to brag about their riches.

The song “Claire’s Back” starts off with a boom bap joint & the FLYGOD telling a bitch to not touch him since he got so much money, but then goes into rock territory for Conway the Machine & Benny the Butcher to spit that mafioso shit. The penultimate track “Spoonz” finds Hall ‘N Nash going back & forth with a meditative Conductor Williams instrumental, but then “716 Mile” reenlists Boldy for a wavy closer getting in their gangsta rap bag.

Although I like what I’m hearing from Hitler 8 so far, I think I’m gonna enjoy it more in context with Disc 2 when it drops a couple months from now. He didn’t have to put a feature on every single cut on here even though they all killed it, but I can definitely commend West for coming correct as much as the guests do & not rushing it like he did FLYGOD is an Awesome God II.

Score: 3.5/5

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

Westside Gunn – “WHO MADE THE SUNSHINE?” review

Westside Gunn is a 38 year old MC & entrepreneur from Buffalo, New York who broke out in 2016 with his near-perfect debut album FLYGOD. He would go on to take over the culture with his brother Conway the Machine & their cousin Benny the Butcher as all 3 of them have consistently dropped a slew of high quality releases both solo-wise & as a trio over the past 5 years. However, Westside has stated on numerous occasions that he’ll quit making music after 2020 & has released 2 albums since the year started: Pray for Paris & FLYGOD is an Awesome God II. But with Hitler Wears Hermes VIII set to drop at the end of the month, Westside is delivering his highly anticipated Shady Records album.

After the “Sunshine” intro, the first song “The Butcher & the Blade with Benny & Conway finds the trio talking about God having them winning over a boom bap beat from Daringer & Beat Butcha with some rapid keyboard arpeggios whereas the next track “Ishkabibble’s” with Black Thought sees the 2 talking about pushing over an eerie instrumental. The song “All Praises” sounds like a leftover from Boldy James’ The Price of Tea in China down to the Alchemist beat as Westside Gunn only handles the hook while the track “Big Basha’s” talks about there being blood & brains everywhere over a somber boom bap instrumental.

The song “Liz Loves Luger” with Armani Caesar finds the 2 talking about wanting loyalty from their partners over a luscious beat while the track “Ocean Prime” with Busta Rhymes & Slick Rick sees the 3 talking about chopping dudes into pieces over a forlorn instrumental. The song “Lessie” talks about how they’re still getting paid over a wavy beat while the track “Frank Murphy” with Elcamino, Estee Nack, Flee Lord, Smoke DZA & Stove God Cook$ is an epic East Coast posse cut with a wailing instrumental. The penultimate song “Good Night” hooks back up with Slick Rick to get in their storytelling bag over a beat with some ominous keys & then the closer “98 Sabers” is a vicious showcasing of the Griselda roster & the Just Blaze instrumental fits perfectly, but I wonder why Boldy James isn’t on here.

Not a bad album, but it could’ve been better in my personal opinion. It’s pretty much a slightly better version of FLYGOD is an Awesome God II as there are a lot of features & a couple of questionable production choices on here. Here’s to hoping Hitler 8 will be much better.

Score: 3.5/5

Westside Gunn – “FLYGOD is An Awesome God II” review

This is the 5th full-length album from Buffalo emcee/entrepreneur Westside Gunn. Breaking out in 2016 with his near-perfect debut album FLYGOD, he would go on to take over the hip hop scene with his brother Conway the Machine & their cousin Benny the Butcher as they’ve consistently dropped a slew of high quality releases both solo-wise & as a trio. However, Westside has stated on numerous occasions that 2020 will be his final year rapping & kicked it off just this spring with Pray for Paris. But with the 1 year anniversary of FLYGOD is an Awesome God approaching this weekend, Westside is celebrating with a sequel preluding his Shady Records debut Who Made the Sunshine? set to drop next month.

After the “Praise God” intro, the first song “Michael Irvin” finds Westside talking about how no one’s flyer than him over a jazzy beat whereas the next track “Jose Canseco” with Stove God Cooks sees the 2 talking charismatically boasting over a soulful instrumental from STREETRUNNER. I was surprised to see the loosie “1 More Hit” appearing on here, but I’m glad it did & the new Stove God Cooks verse added on is a nice touch to it as well. After the first “Sadhu Interlude”, the song “Lil Cease” with Griselda Records’ newest signee Armani Caesar finds the 2 rightfully proclaiming their thrones as King & Queen of Buffalo over a creepy boom bap beat from JR Swiftz.

After the “Fuck the Police” skit, the song “Buffs vs. Wires” with Benny the Butcher & Boldy James of course gets on the drug dealer tip over a classy ass loop from Daringer. Then after the “Mr. Maino” skit, we’re treated to a remix of another old WSG loosie “Bubba Chuck” with Stove God Cooks being added on once again & I actually like this a lot more than the “1 More Hit” remix that I discussed earlier. After the final “Sadhu Interlude”, the song “Drive By Love” is a gangsta sex tune over a savory Chuck Inglish instrumental. The penultimate track “Rebirth” lyrically is exemplified by the snippet at the very beginning of the song of Kanye West’s infamous TMZ appearance a couple years ago & I absolutely love the peaceful instrumental. The album then finishes with “Steve Behr”, where Westside enlists Rome Streetz to talk about pushing coke over a hypnotic sample.

It’s not as good as Pray for Paris, but I still think this is a solid album regardless. In contrast to the predecessor seeing Westside Gunn experimenting & trying new things, he pretty much takes it back to the basement on here. Beyond excited to see where he takes things on Who Made the Sunshine?.

Score: 3.5/5

Westside Gunn – “Pray for Paris” review

Westside Gunn is an MC & entrepreneur from Buffalo, New York that made his mark on hip hop in 2016 with his debut album FLYGOD. This has been continued with a handful of mixtapes, his 2018 sophomore album Supreme Blientele, inking a management deal with JAY-Z’s Roc Nation & his own label Griselda Records even signing a distribution deal with Shady Records. In 2019, we saw Westside drop his 3rd album FLYGOD is an Awesome God in the summer & then the 7th installment of his infamous Hitler Wears Hermes series 4 months later. However to kick off his final year of making music allegedly, he’s coming through with his 4th full-length album.

After the $4M + Tax” intro, we get into the first song “No Vacancy”. Where the FLYGOD of course talks about pushing over a blissful DJ Muggs instrumental. The next track “George Bondo” with Conway the Machine & Benny the Butcher sees the 3 talking about going from selling dog food to being successful over a grimy Daringer/Beat Butcha instrumental while the song “327” with Joey Bada$$ & Tyler, The Creator sees the 3 flexing over a mellow boom bap beat.

The track “French Toast” with Wale sees the 2 talking about crushing their competition over a piano-inflicted boom bap beat & while the song “Euro Step” may have my least favorite instrumental on the album, I do like how Westside pays tribute to everyone he knows who’re still slanging yay. The track “Allah Sent Me” with Conway & Benny sees the 3 trading bars back & forth with each other like it’s nothing over a menacing Daringer beat while the song “$500 Ounces” with Freddie Gibbs & Roc Marciano sees the 3 getting mafioso over a jazzy Alchemist beat.

The track “Versace” talks about how he’s never going back to being broke over a harmonious vocal sample while the song “Clairborne Kick” with Boldy James sees the 2 talking about their dealing days & I really love the atmosphere that Uncle Al provides them with. The track “Shawn vs. Flair” shows off his wordplay over a flawless boom bap beat from none other than DJ Premier while the song “Party with Pop Smoke” finds Westside bragging & Keisha Plum closing it out with some beautiful poetry over a colorful Tyler, The Creator instrumental. The album then finishes with “Le Djobila”, where we get a very short verse & some really awesome tap-dancing over a soulful beat

If this really is Westside’s final year rapping because everyone has said it at some point, then what a way to kick it off. He sounds as passionate as ever, the big name features all come together fantastically & the production is easily some of the best that the man has EVER gotten his hands on.

Score: 4/5

Westside Gunn – “Hitler Wears Hermes VII” review

This is the latest mixtape from Buffalo, New York emcee & entrepreneur Westside Gunn, who first rose to stardom in 2016 with his debut album FLYGOD. This has been continued with a handful of mixtapes, his 2018 sophomore album Supreme Blientele & his own label Griselda Records even signing a distribution deal with Shady Records. Westside has a history of releasing new installments of his Hitler Wears Hermes mixtape series on Halloween & despite being delayed a day, this is the 4th year in a row of that.

The opener “FCKNXTWK” finds Westside providing a very brief verse as DJ Drama’s pretty much talking all over some harmonious vocals in the back while the next song “Broadway Joes” is a self proclamation as the King of New York over a rugged beat. The track “Size 42” gets cutthroat over an eerie Daringer beat while the song “Connie’s Son” brags over a soulful beat.

The track “Banana Yacht” with Estee Nack finds the 2 flexing over a grand instrumental & while I like how menacing “GONDEK” is, it’s way too short. The track “Kelly’s Korner” with Fat Joe sees the 2 getting bloodthirsty over a jazzy beat from Statik Selektah while the DJ Green Lantern produced “Undertaker vs. Goldberg” gets on the classic Hall ‘N Nash vibe.

The track “Whoopy” talks about wanting to be with this woman over a laidback instrumental while the Animoss produced “Love U” is a better continuation of the previous cut. The track “Kool G” is an epic Griselda cut where Westside, Conway the Machine & Benny the Butcher use the same rhyme scheme throughout with this raw Alchemist/Daringer beat while the song “It’s Possible” with Boldy James & Jay Worthy sees the 3 talking about making it out of the hood over a beautiful soul sample.

The track “Lucha Bros.” with Benny the Butcher & Curren$y sees the 3 getting rowdy over a vintage Alchemist beat while the song “Westside Gunn Day” goes at Westside’s competition over a symphonic boom bap beat from JR Swiftz.  And before a spoken word outro from Keisha Plum, the final song “Kesington Pool” pays tribute to NY over a decent boom bap beat.

This is a lot better than FLYGOD is an Awesome God that came out earlier this year. Westside goes back to his roots more on this one in comparison to taking more risks on his last album. The beats are punchier & the pen game continues to flourish.

Score: 3.5/5

Conway – “Look What I Became” review

This is the sophomore album from Buffalo, New York emcee Conway the Machine. Who rose to stardom with his brother Westside Gunn & their label Griselda Records just a few years ago. Last we heard from Conway was in July when he dropped the song “Bang” with Eminem, which is the lead single to his upcoming Shady Records debut God Don’t Make Mistakes. And to prep us for it, he’s releasing Look What I Became independently.

The album kicks off with “No Women No Kids”, where Conway gets mafioso over a haunting Alchemist beat. The next song “Hawks” attacks his biters over an intoxicating instrumental & after the “RIP Owen” interlude, the song “Tito’s Back” is just pretty much Conway & Benny the Butcher showing off their chemistry over a Daringer beat with some eerie keyboards.

The track “Black Spoons” gets back on the mafioso tip over a demented DJ Muggs beat while the song “Vino D” with Dave East & Jim Jones pays tribute to Conway’s friend with the same name over a boom bap beat from JR Swiftz. The track “Half of It” talks about his success over an organ-inflicted trap beat from Rick Hyde & then after the “Bells Palsy” interlude, the closer “You Made It” pays tribute to his mother over a relaxing beat from Statik Selektah.

This is a fantastic prelude. Couple tracks I could’ve done without, but the beats are mostly grimy & Conway’s lyricism just keeps progressing with each new project he drops. Definitely looking forward to his major label debut coming soon.

Score: 4/5