Updated: Apr 25
Conway the Machine has dropped a new album titled 'From King To A GOD'. The Griselda member has made a buzz in recent years as he's helped push gangsta rap back into the spotlight, and with successful projects already this year and a string of nice features - there was no excuse for this to not be a great project.
The production on this album is great from start to finish. There's a mix of production styles with more dark and boom bap beats, such as on 'Fear of God', as he brags about his rapping skill, drug dealing past and street life. DeJ Loaf provides a nice verse with great vocals as the beat is nice, both verses are solid and while nothing too special or creative compared to the usual Conway it's a solid start to the album. There's also trap beats on here, such as on 'Anza' which is very groovy as he provides some nice braggadocio as he talks on spoiling a girl - but he won't get attached to her, flexing and shooting at opps. Armani Caeser glides the beat effortlessly with such a confident delivery and some braggy lines about her love for money, "Full speed, I got the green like Luigi (Come on) // Lotta dark, diamonds dance, Chris Breezy (Breezy)". It's the banger of the album, with a great flow and energy to it - a very good song. Finally, we see some energetic beats, such as on 'See Everything But Jesus' which is very glossy and infectious with a great guitar bass as he talks on more emotional situations rather than gritty to give an overview of the street life including the people he's lost, moving packs and friends being locked up, "Lil Lotto got shot, Mikey B got shot (Psh) // Lou and Jojo got shot, ChineGun got shot (Rest in peace, n***** ) // I start my verse sayin' they names to show we haven't forgot (Uh-huh) // I'm reminiscin' about my n*****, I miss them a lot (We ain't forgot you n*****)". Freddie Gibbs is here and is more introspective himself than usual with a great verse about the dark side of street life and his own family setting him up. The hook is really nice, beat is great and Conway glides over it with some hard hitting lines as Freddie really adds to the track. He manages to do well over whatever beat he faces - which is always a good thing.
The project is full of gritty and mean bars, such as on 'From King' as he has great braggadocio, "We at your baby mama house cookin' raw in the kitchen (Whip up) // And when I'm done cookin', I made that bitch wash the dishes", over this gritty bass, dark beat and grand instrumental as he flexes his wealth and status while claiming others are jealous of him. It's a good intro, nothing too special to it but it's nice. It can get quite more emotional than usual as well, such as on 'Forever Droppin Tears', "And I hope heaven got a studio // Thinkin' 'bout all the lives, including mine, that you impacted with this music, bro (You a legend) // Wish you got your flowers while you were still alive // Drunk a bottle with Shamerra and Dominic and I cried (Your kids)", as he provides decent storytelling and impactful bars about his youth, how music saved his life and the death of his friend. The more energetic beat and heavy synth bass sounds great and he's more interesting on these kind of beats, but at 7 minutes it's easy to lose interest towards the back end but it's a great track overall. 'Jesus Khrysis' has some decent wordplay, punchlines and bars, "N***** try blockin' my goals, I'ma make it Messi (You see what I did there?)", "Rappin' better than n*****, I can barely pronounce shit (Ha)", as he talks on rocking jewelry and being the best rapper over another dark beat with a deep bass and boom bap drum pattern. There's so many good one liners throughout this and his great flow makes this entertaining over this interesting and hard hitting beat. He's a strong lyricist who captures the dark and aggressive feeling effortlessly. His flow is so old school and smooth while his gritty delivery sounds great throughout the project.
The features are all at a similar level to Conway with nice flows, rapping and deliveries as they add something to the track everytime. Method Mad is on 'Lemon' and has great bars, entendres and wordplay, "Killa Bees back in the building with Machine and 'em (Uh huh) // We creamin' 'em with pockets of dirty money, I'm clean again // Ain't gotta tell you I'm dope, just stick the needle in", as the song is about their drug dealing past and making it in their rap career as well as the effects of prison on your family life. The dark mood, twinkling piano and boom bap drums are pretty average as is Conway's verse - Method Man does good but overall it's a mid track. 'Juvenile Hell' see's Havoc give us a gritty hook which sounds great, Lloyd Banks provide a solid track with a great rhyme scheme and lines and Flee's mean delivery and flow to give us a song about the street life, guns and selling drugs. The quick tempo boom bap beat is great and the whole song is dusty and sounds great as everyone has good verses - it's what Griselda are about. Speaking of Griselda, they reunite on 'Spurs 3' over these eerie wind chimes and boom bap beat which sounds great as they talk on being the best and other people chasing clout. BENNY THE BUTCHER had a mean delivery and nice verse with some mean bars and witty one liners as he talks on jewelry, guns and hustling. Westside Gunn has a solid input as he focusing on shooting at people with some mean bars, "I go to sleep with the MAC (Brr), wake up, brush my teeth with the MAC (Brr, brr, brr, brr), ayo // Ferragamo goggles, in the day room eatin' nachos // First n**** touch the TV gettin' stabbed, word to Michael, pick one (Ah) // Tyson, Jordan, Jackson, MAC-10 (Brr, brr, brr)". Conway was good here too, and everyone had a nice flow and solid verse - it wasn't extremely mind blow but it was a good song and nothing more.
The content is the usual: street life, packing drugs, shooting opps and flexing his new found wealth, such as on 'Dough & Darmani' which is about fucking bitches, flexing, packing drugs and being a better rapper than his competition over this light piano, guitar bass boom bap beat before we get a beat switch. Conway has some great bars in the second half of the song, "I see their lists and I personally get offended (Huh) // 'Cause every single verse is a verse of the year contender (Woo)", and while not too captivating it's better than the first half of the song which has a repetitive and stale flow - overall a pretty average and disappointing track. It's very specific to his perspective and explored in reasonably well detail. 'Front Lines' see's Conway talk about 6ix9ine snitching and police brutality as well as the Black Lives Matter movement over this dark boom bap and expressive beat. He has some really good and thoughtful bars here, "We ain't takin' no more, we ain't just pressin' record // Can't watch you kill my brother, you gon' have to kill us all (Bu-bu-bu-bu-bu-bu-boom)", and the whole track is so impactful, hard hitting and so many thought provoking bars - it's the best song on the album. The final track 'Nothin Less' is about selling drugs, guns and sending a message to his opps to not mess with him and he does this with great bars and punchlines, "I probably sold crack to your mother and smack to your father (Cap)". The piano melody is catchy as is the drum pattern and it's a great outro to the album, with nice scratches on the hook giving it a proper old school feel while the flow and lyrics are good - a great ending to a solid album.
To conclude, this album is gritty at times, lighter at other times - but it always works. With a mix of dark and glossy instrumentals and great rapping - it's very enjoyable, he's better on the lighter beats though in my opinion but is great on them all. A couple of tracks fall short on here because even though they capture the gritty atmosphere - the lyrics just aren't all too interesting as other tracks. The song has a proper old school feel, it's an enjoyable album and there isn't too much to say it's what you expect from Conway, a good gangsta project with solid rapping, nice production and great features.
FAVOURITE TRACKS: Fear of God, Lemon, Juvenile Hell, Front Lines, Anza, Seen Everything But Jesus, Nothin Less
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACK: Dough & Damani
OVERALL RATING: Solid 8/10
*REVISED SCORE: Review may not match favourite tracks and overall rating because I've since re-listened and changed my score.*