Griselda’s Conway the Machine is currently one of the hottest rappers out right now. Releasing two critically acclaimed projects in his Alchemist collaboration “LULU” and “No One Mourns the Wicked” with Big Ghost Ltd, he’s already had an illustrious 2020, but he’s not stopping here. This past month, Conway’s hype has been at an all-time high due to the success of singles like “Lemon” and “Fear Of God”. Today, he has put out his highly anticipated album, “From A King To A GOD”. Being his most star-studded and commercially appealing record yet, will the 38-year-old Buffalo rapper create a classic, or will he fold under pressure?
Despite only being four months separated from his last project, Conway delivers the absolute maturest performance of his entire career. Setting the tone on “From King…”, the Machine looks at his rapid growth and success while also honoring his deceased and locked up homies. Introspective cuts like these make up a fair share of the records running time. From the bittersweet “Fear Of God” to the cold-hearted “Seen Everything But Jesus” with Freddie Gibbs, Conway seems to be in a reflective train of thought. “Forever Dripping Tears”, shows this at its pinnacle as the Griselda rapper thanks God for saving him from death and, at the same time, mourns the loss of close collaborator and friend, DJ Shay. Even with moments like these, we still see the Machine take it back to the basement. From the hard-hitting “Lemon” with Method Man all the way to the menacing “Dough & Damani”, modern gangster rap has never sounded better. Additionally, Conway coming together with lyrical titan Lloyd Banks, Mobb Deep’s Havoc, and underground king Flee Lord for the song “Juvenile Hell”, makes for the best posse cut of the year. Another standout was “Spurs 3”, which features his brother Westside Gunn and cousin Benny the Butcher as we see the trio, compare their work to the basketball dynasty Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli created. Rounding things out, cuts like “Front Lines”, “Jesus Khrysis”, and “Nothin Less” show Conway’s forward-thinking as he raps about police brutality and his longevity in the rap game. Overall, the blend of topical and stylistic versatility makes this record contain some of Conway the Machine’s greatest moments.
Behind the boards, some of hip hops greatest producers come together in order to create Machine the perfect soundtrack. From his run of the mill collaborators like Beat Butcha and Daringer all the way to hip hop hall of famers in DJ Premier, Havoc, The Alchemist, and EPMD’s Erik Sermon, there is so much to be admired here. Some cuts feel cinematic like the intro “From King…” while others like “Spurs 3” and “Dough & Damani” capture the raw grittiness of Buffalo hip hop. The record even has its fair share of bangers like the Hit-Boy produced “Fear of God” and “Anza” which is perfected with an energetic trap beat from the one and only Murda Beatz. The “Words From Shay” interludes truly hit home as they contain interviews of the crew’s fallen mentor DJ Shay as he commemorates Conway for his various achievements and contributions to the genre. Building on this, the vibrant yet gloomy production from Rockwilder and Erik Sermon on “Forever Droppin Tears” makes dealing with his absence sting even more. The intricate samples and scratches on “Nothin Less” is another testament to Premo’s greatness as he shows he’s just as capable at creating a modern boom-bap anthem now as he was 30 years ago. In summary, the all-star team of producers makes this Conway’s most sonically proficient record to date.
In conclusion, “From King To A GOD” is the defining album I have been waiting for Conway the Machine to deliver. Taking the iconic flare Griselda is known for, and blending it with an array of other styles makes this one of the best LP’s I have heard all year. Serving as a prelude to his upcoming Shady records debut, “God Don’t Make Mistakes”, the Buffalo-born and raised MC’s journey is really only getting started. Going forward, if Conway keeps following the path he’s on, he will only continue to elevate his status, and he will be amongst the games top guys in no time!