The first time I heard the name Westside Gunn and Conway The Machine was on the Combat Jack Podcast. The host of the popular podcast kept praising these two rappers from Buffalo labeling them the hardest MCs out. It wasn’t until my cousin came down from New York that I really got familiar. It was a rare cold night in Miami. We were heading to Art Basel when my cousin popped a CD in the whip. The song Jimmy Hart came on and that was all she wrote. I was hooked.
(Westside Gunn; Jimmy Hart)
For the past six years, Westside Gunn and his brother Conway The Machine have been building a cult following by becoming the flyest duo in rap since Rae and Ghost. The siblings have been flooding the internet with a litany of hard ass mixtapes such as Gunn’s Hitler Wears Hermes series, and Conway’s Rejects On Steroids.
LYRICS AND DELIVERY
What separates these two MCs from your average rapper is their flow and word play. These dudes are taking that b-boy shit to another level reminiscent of Nas, Mobb Deep, and Wu.
“Designer clothes to body most
The Mazy flow
This is verbal intercourse Nas and Ghost
Fire coming out the nozzle from every shot I throw
I got shot right after that
Bodies started dropping tho”
(Westside Gunn & Conway; Robert Horry)
The poetry is potent and loaded with high fashion designer references, and mafioso gun-talk. The flows are flawless, these cats make the street life sound like something worth aspiring to. Bricks are broken down, pistols are popped, and haters are bodied on the mean streets of Buffalo.
The bulk of Westside Gunn and Conway’s music is crafted by Buffalo-based producer Daringer. The beats are stripped down and uncanny. The loops are slowed down as if they were dipped in lean. Drums are often muted letting the sinister melodies do all the clapping. But don’t let the simplicity fool you. Daringer manages to move the needle. This producer is taking the genre to the next level. It’s really refreshing to hear his less-is-more approach in the midst of all the 808 infused trap music. In a recent interview, the producer stated “ I’m kind of doing it the throwback way, more simplistic. You’re not hearing me play all sorts of instruments on top of it, or adding synths” (http://nahright.com/2016/09/15/in-the-lab-with-daringer/). Daringer names DJ premier, Alchemist, and the RZA as his influences so you know his coming from a good place.
(Westside Gunn; Medusa Plate)
It’s fair to say that we can expect more heat from these boys from Buffalo now that their label, Griselda Records has been picked by Eminem’s Shady Records and Interscope Records. Hopefully, the Universal Music Group doesn’t try to water down these artists with pop features and glossy production.