Instantly recognisable for their bravado and famed ad-libs, the Buffalo trio navigate stardom through heavy, luxurious beats and some of their best lyricism to date. Hemma Daddral tracks their 2020 releases.
Pray for Paris.
Opening with a sample drawn from the auction of Leonardo DaVinci’s Salvatore Mundi, Westside Gunn lets his audience know the atmosphere of the album from the outset. Decadence rings throughout the sound that Gunn harnesses, his presence undeniable as he boasts his Gatsby-esque lifestyle.
This is Gunn at his most confident, lyrics such as “Clothes from Fifth Ave, broke it, I got rich fast” layered on top of opulent Conductor Williams’ beat on ‘Euro Step’ establish Westside Gunn’s self-assurance in his flair. The impressive guestlist of respectable artists such as Tyler, the Creator, Wale, Freddie Gibbs and his Griselda counterparts fit perfectly into the 13-track album, giving each guest the spotlight whilst maintaining his own flair throughout.
Burden of Proof.
Produced entirely by the famed and respected Hit-Boy, Benny the Butcher’s solo project proves his rightful spot alongside Conway and Gunn in Griselda. Reflecting on his beginnings as a drug dealer juxtaposed with the lavish fruition of fame creates an immersive insight for the listener into the world of the Buffalo collective.
On ‘Where Would I Go’, Benny boasts “It’s on my wrist and as well as my hip, it’s cold metal” – a single line that exemplifies the lifestyle that we briefly become privy to when listening to Burden of Proof. Once again, Benny is joined by his Griselda counterparts on ‘War Paint’ and other familiar faces Rick Ross and Freddie Gibbs contribute throughout, respectively.
With the help of Hit-Boy, Burden of Proof sees Benny at his most experimental lyrically, creating a sonically immersive body of work.
From King to a God.
Known for his slurred yet sharp voice as a result of his Bell’s Palsy, Conway the Machine delivers hard-hitting, gritty tales from the streets of Buffalo on his latest album. Conway’s bravado steals the show on the LP, occupying an undeniable presence with the backdrop of star-studded production: notably the Alchemist and Mobb Deep’s Havoc. Conway shared with Pitchfork that he “wanted to showcase versatility and show people that [he’s] not a one trick pony”. From King to a God sees an undeniable shift in Conway’s style, moving away from 90’s, New York influenced sound and seeking validation from a larger audience.
Despite this, Conway bags a heavy Method Man verse on ‘Lemon’, as Meth is ever confident: “Gave you permission to speak? To learn, you listen. Learn to listen to a different MC, you’ll learn the difference”. Though Conway wishes to evolve from his classic, gritty style, he still emulates the influence of those who built him thus far. ‘Spurs 3’ is a shining moment on the album as he, Cousin Benny the Butcher and brother Westside Gunn transport back to the early days of Griselda, giving fans a sense of nostalgia.
These three standout projects exemplify the consistency of quality that the trio are able to achieve. With 8 years of experience as a collective, Griselda’s musical contribution to 2020 has been nothing less than an uphill climb, proving their legacy in the genre.
Header image: Griselda. Credit: Flaunt Magazine.