Conway The Machine

Each week VultureHound picks out a new artist you should definitely be checking out. This week, Cayle explains why Conway deserves your ears and time.

Spooky. Spooky the way ‘new-wave’ rappers can find instant success and national recognition while one of the grimiest wordsmiths to come out of New York since grimy wordsmiths started coming out of New York needs to be mentioned as a ‘new artist’. He’s been around and many already know all about The Machine. This is for those foolies that don’t.

Conway (and his brother, alias Westside Gunn, who has also been dropping heater after heater since time immemorial) have been there, back again, bought the fucking blood-specked t-shirt and burnt it in the dumpster fire – his flow is ready-made, the realisation of his own persona as strong as it possibly can be (“I ain’t no rapper i’m a god, my shit is classic, my shit is like a raw brick still in plastic” WOOOOO!!!). Displaying the obvious ability to compose a great album/mixtape in Reject 2, the collaborations between he and his brother highlight something special – a bond that goes well beyond music. He raps about the streets, every crevice, every dark hole. He holds nothing back. Collaborations with his go to guy, Daringer, are always a highlight (their sound IS the grime of New York).

His penmanship game is as sharp as they come – dark, twisted, laden with the threat of violence – “So think before you n*ggas throw a shot at me, no-respect goons outside that church where yo’ momma be”. He’s a refreshing breath of air in a world where every rapper seems scared to step on the toes of the other – his recent twitter rant highlighted the fact that even legends seems content on co-signing any and every next big thing. He’s not afraid to say it on record, is the difference. “Nowadays they don’t make diss songs, they make memes” – that’s one of the most necessary things I’ve heard said in the last couple years. Something’s happened to the game. Conway, and Griselda Records, are trying to stoke the embers. Check through their back catalogue for proof.

Because the difference between Conway and mostly everyone else – apart from an almost spiritual understanding of what beats suits his style, a Ghosftace Killah-esque way of describing the grimy happenings of grimy streets – is that his words hold true. His machismo is real, no act. Their journey was one of necessity and survival. That mentality is real, not an act, not the opportunity to throw a couple dope-sounding-bars out. They spit their life, and along the way point out those that aren’t up to scratch.

Check this goddam passage in his recent collab with Prodigy, Hell Still On Earth:

Bodies get chalked up, drive by’s or walk ups
he tried to run, my little homies was waiting
in the shortcut, that’s how we was brought up
the OG’s they taught us, to stack your money
stay down, don’t snitch if you get caught up
my dog headed to Elmira on that prison tour bus
he hit a n*gga 12 year old sister shooting his porch up
he got my homie going on a vacation
homie that snitched? We gon’ get him
we gon stay patient…

At the moment, Conway has got at least a couple verses floating around for best of the year. His bars are as real as the bullets that pierced his head (“Shot in the helmet, I guess it wasn’t my time”). Fans stay crying out for authentic, well, here it is. Salute to The Machine.

Conway’s GOAT project drops soon (or as soon as he decides the world is ready for it).

By Cayle Hotene

Watch a lot of bagels and eat a lot of films. That might be in the wrong order.