[Album Review] “From King to a GOD” by Conway The Machine

Conway the Machine comes through with a collection of some of his best tracks on “From King to a GOD”.

Conway the Machine is a Buffalo native. He is also a member of the musical outfit, Griselda. Conway released a series of mixtapes prior to the release of “From King to a God”. This is his debut album. The album was released on September 11, 2020.

Track List :

  1. From King
  2. Fear of GOD
  3. Lemon
  4. Dough & Damani
  5. Juvenile Hell
  6. Words from Shay
  7. Front Lines
  8. Anza
  9. Seen Everything but Jesus
  10. Words from Shay 2
  11. Spurs 3
  12. Forever Dropping Tears
  13. Jesus Khrysis
  14. Nothin Less

Conway the Machine, like his Griselda brothers, Westside Gunn and Benny the Butcher has always shown great potential as a lyricist but up until this point, he didn’t really have a strong project to really solidify his status as an MC. All of the mixtapes he released before his debut album were enjoyable but weren’t quite the strong solo endeavor you’d expect from Conway. And it has taken a while to get to that point but the end result was definitely rewarding. On the majority of the album, Conway’s lyrics are gritty, introspective, violent, braggadocious and they really expand on what made his music tick in the first place. All the flavors of what makes a rapper of his lane interesting and worth listening to are present throughout the entire record.

The opener “From King” is a decent tone-setter for the album. It’s not as in-depth as some of the best tracks on the record but overall, it does its job as an intro. The song “Lemon” with legendary rapper, Method Man, is where the album truly picks up. Atmospheric, dusty beat with both Conway and Method Man delivering stellar verses about the streets, violence, drugs and so on. Method Man’s feature is easily one of the best on the entire record. He starts off his verse with a clever quatrain and his wordplay throughout the whole verse is just off the charts.

“Capone-N-Noreaga watchin’ CNN

Black whip, black tint, y’all ain’t seein’ in

It’s Con and Meth, spread the word, boy, you seein’ ’em

No seein’ ’em, these rappers in the scope, you’ll never see an M”

Lemon

“Dough & Damani” is also pretty good. The Alchemist’s somewhat spacey, laid-back production with its dreamy keys sounds like something off of Freddie Gibbs’ “Alfredo” and Conway’s rapping on top of it is pretty solid. The highlights of the album continue with “Juvenile Hell” and “Front Lines”. Conway never fails to rap about dealing cocaine in an interesting, almost cinematic way. Quality rapping aside, Conway’s hook game does leave something to be desired. For example, Front Lies, while is a great song in totality, hit a few awkward pauses when Conway abruptly break into those drowsy singing bits.

“Seen Everything but Jesus” with Freddie Gibbs is quite a pleasant surprise. Given both rappers’ backgrounds and the kind of topics they usually address in their music, you’d expect this song to be a grimy, coke-filled extravaganza with line after line about just living that life but the song actually takes a significant melodic turn and both Conway and Freddie are more introspective and sentimental than they usually are, on this track. Granted, many of the lines in Freddie’s verse still serve as some pretty obvious references to cocaine but Conway’s lyrical focus on this song is about the danger and the violence of his birthplace and how he lost some of his friends to those exact issues. “Spurs 3” is a Griselda track, and truthfully, there is rarely ever a lackluster Griselda song and “Spurs 3” is no different. Heavy, clunky beat and excellent performances from all 3 artists, what’s not to like.

“Forever Dropping Tears” is perhaps the most emotionally impactful moment on the record. Conway goes into meticulous detail, talking about the passing of his friends, how that affected him and this kind of genuineness and extreme level of introspection is what makes Griselda stand out. “Jesus Khrysis” is a relative low-point in the track list. For a song that comes up towards the very end of the album, it did way too little to break any new ground lyrically or production-wise and mostly ended up feeling like filler. The final track, “Nothin Less” is a fitting closer to the album. While Conway is as savage as ever lyrically, Dj Premier’s soulful production gives the song its sense of finality which is part and parcel to pretty much every outro to an album.

“From King to a GOD” delivered on all fronts. Conway’s pen game is firing on all cylinders throughout the album and the production is also versatile enough to not make the record feel exhausting in any sense. Given that this is a debut album, it’s safe to say that Conway’s musical odyssey has only just begun and it will certainly be interesting to see what he’ll come up with in the future.

Rating : A-

“From King to a GOD” contains tracks written by Conway the Machine, Daringer, DeJ Loaf, DJ Premier, DJ Shay, Elcamino, Erick Sermon, Flee Lord, Freddie Gibbs, G. Ry, Havoc, Hit-Boy, Khrysis, Lloyd Banks, Method Man, Murda Beatz, Rockwilder, Signalflow Music, Benny the Butcher and Westside Gunn and production by The Alchemist, Beat Butcha, Conway the Machine, Daringer, DJ Premier, Erick Sermon, G. Ry, Havoc, Hit-Boy, Khrysis, Murda Beatz, Rockwilder and Signalflow Music. The album is now available for physical and digital purchase.

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