Why Griselda are the hottest act in hip-hop right now
The past few years have seen a few labels secure their spot amongst hip hop’s best. We’ve seen TDE tear it up with Kendrick, ScHoolboy Q, SZA and more. Dreamville have put out some of the most inventive music recently with J.I.D, J Cole and Earthgang. Quality Control, G.O.O.D and a host of other labels have proven themselves in the past decade and laid claim to being the best, but one stands out. Griselda Records and the three names attached; Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine and Benny the Butcher are hip hop’s best-kept secret, and also, in my opinion, the best of the last decade.
In a genre where authenticity is key, Griselda keeps it more real than most. They’ve faced convictions and done prison time for things other rappers can only loosely rap about doing. The way they’re able to interpolate these actions into their raps is incredible, and they paint such a vivid picture when doing it. The gangster lives they all individually lead and bravado they exude is expressed in numerous lines by them, each more incredulous than the last. From Westside Gunn knowing some guys with two bodies who are still teenagers to Benny halving a six-hour journey to Philly by driving in his Bentley. Their bars are way too potent.
Benny the Butcher – Crowns for Kings ft. Black Thought
All of them are able to garner such respect from others in the game it’s incredible. For the three of them to be as grimey as they are, never sell records as much as others in the game, they get some crazy features. Black Thought, Action Bronson, Ghostface Killah, and ScHoolboy Q just to name a few. Even the hip hop purists who may not care for some of the mainstream names I just mentioned will drool at the thought of these guys working with artists like MF DOOM, Roc Marciano and Styles P. Production credits range from DJ Premier to Madlib to Alchemist too, and it’s guys like these who work so well with their sound because it’s that sample-driven beat that works best with Griselda. Nostalgic beats, that automatically transport you to a bustling New York, whether you be out on the corner or shopping the high streets – they have the music for you. Everybody in the game wants to work with these dudes and it’s not hard to see why.
It’s not as if they’re only respected by music fans too, aside from all the features they get, Conway has signed a distribution deal with Shady records and the night I began to write this article, news broke that both Westside Gunn and Benny have signed a management deal with Roc Nation. When you’re signed to two of the biggest rapper’s labels in history, you know you’re doing something right.
The three of them operate and fire on all cylinders, from beat selection to flows to lyrical content. They all shine through, and show why they deserve to be here. The production they choose isn’t easy either, listening to A Thousand Birds by Conway and Westside Gunn on Alchemist’s Good Book, Vol. 2 you can see that not everyone could spit on that. Compare that to Alpaca off of Conway’s Blakk Tape and you can see the versatility they offer.
Conway the Machine – Alpaca
What really sets them apart from other labels/groups is the fact you’re able to go through their discographies and not find a weak release. We’ve seen it before from others where one or two members let the side down, but with Griselda that doesn’t happen. The past year has seen some amazing projects released from them all, be it Benny’s Tana Talk 3, Westside Gunn’s Supreme Blientele or Conway’s Everybody is F.O.O.D 3. The three of them put out projects that are up there with the best of the year every time. To be able to keep that quality up every time is more than impressive and that’s why they’re the best. The sheer quantity and quality from them are unparalleled within the rap game right now.
One thing that doesn’t happen with them is that they don’t let one shine more than the other, and that’s not to say they hold one back in order to see all of three succeed, instead they just showcase the same sheer levels of talent needed to be successful. Granted one may rap better than the two others, but that is an argument that can change on a day to day basis, if you listen to Benny’s verse on Sensational Sherri you’ll say he’s the best, but listen to Conway on Mac 10 Wounds and you’ll swear nobody is harder. It’s an incredible feat for them to achieve. They all put each other on so well, and they even put their associates on more than other labels do with theirs. El Camino and RJ Payne for example, and most definitely Daringer who produces a lot of what they do.
Westside Gunn – RVD
They have been around for a while too, so it’s not as if they’re new to the rap game and have that beginners luck. Benny released Tana Talk 1 in the early 2000s and that’s still yet to surface on the internet, whilst Conway released a project in 2009. Granted their general sound may have changed, but hasn’t every rappers? Especially since their very early stuff. They were able to see what didn’t work, change it and adapt with the times to become the best out right now.
Everything they craft is intricate pieces of art, everything is put so delicately and so perfectly the way they want it to be and is therefore so refreshing to hear. The level of care and detail going into even just 16 bar verses means they can’t lose, and before long Griselda gonna be the name on everybody’s mind.
With all three of them having already put out a project this year, there is still more to come supposedly. Conway has an album on the way, Benny spoke about a new track with Freddie Gibbs and the three of them are meant to have a joint album on the way under the name What Would Chine Gun Do? – Chine Gun being Benny’s late brother. Make sure to keep an ear out for more from them, especially now Westside and Benny are with Roc Nation.
Make sure to follow their social media’s below, you can find them on Twitter and Instagram using the handles: @WestsideGunn, @WhoIsConway, and @GetBenny.
Words by Rohan Parmar @rohanjparmar
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