2020 has been a period of subtle evolution. Locked indoors, each of us – whether we’re in the spotlight or not – has been forced to look inwards, to re-assess our lives, paths, and motivations.
Conway The Machine hasn’t been immune from this. This dystopian year has born creative fruits for the Buffalo talent, long a core factor in the Griselda Records experience. ‘No One Mourns The Wicked’ has been accompanied by excellent Alchemist collab ‘Lulu’, but now album ‘From King To A God’ seems to surpass even these lofty achievements.
Dank and dangerous, the colossal beat palette draws on some of the best producers in the history of hip-hop, elevating Conway’s lyricism to a fresh level. As he told HotNewHipHop only a few days ago: “I wanted to show that I evolved as a lyricist, as an artist...”
Dexterous and diverse, ‘From A King To A God’ is a tour de force in rap innovation. Intro ‘From King’ lays it all on the line, with Conway stating his purpose with absolute clarity; the Def Loaf featured ‘Fear Of God’ then picks up the slack, pushing the album inexorably towards its purpose.
Murky down tempo cut ‘Lemon’ is superbly atmospheric, a track sliced open by that slide guitar line before making way for a Method Man guest spot. ‘Dough & Domani’ illustrates the inner complexities of Conway’s flow, while the rugged ‘Front Lines’ is a stunning profile of the Griselda MC.
‘Seen Everything But Jesus’ makes space for a standout Freddie Gibbs feature, a rap artist whose own 2020 trajectory rivals Conway’s own in pure creativity. A record that glitters in high points, ‘From A King To A God’ is in perpetual search of elevation – take the emotional ‘Anza’ or the electrifying Westside Gunn lyricism on ‘Spurs 3’.
Ending with ‘Forever Droppin Tears’, the album comes to a conclusion with two bonus cuts. ‘Jesus Khrysis’ is one of the album’s less vital moments, but finale ‘Nothing Less’ places Conway The Machine against DJ Premier, illustrating the levels he is aiming fore. It’s emblematic of a record underpinned by an absolute feast of hip-hop production - as DJ Premier puts it: “the illest producers of all time, doing what we do...”
Forceful and atmopsheric, ‘From A King To A God’ punches through the glass ceiling, its purposeful swagger leering out of the speakers. His third full length project in 2020, ‘Conway The Machine has hit escape velocity – where he goes from here is entirely his decision.
Words: Robin Murray
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