Conway the Machine’s long awaited Shady Records debut solidifies the Buffalo rapper’s status as the GOAT (Grimiest of all Time).

Despite playing a major role in Griselda’s emphatic rise from New York underground to the pedestal of hip-hop, Conway’s skillset remains consistently overlooked among hip-hop purists. But as the Buffalo powerhouse continues to grow from strength to strength, it’s about time we showered Conway in the respect he deserves – even if this underappreciation is what drives his hunger, as suggested on ‘So Much More’; “If I’m already called the best ever, then what’s left to do?”

The release of ‘God Don’t Make Mistakes’ adds to what is already a compelling, ever-augmenting catalogue of grimy New York hip-hop releases, but as stated on his dignified ‘Tear Gas’ verse; “Book of Conway, I’m far from my final chapter”. And if anything, The Machine’s latest album reflects a transition period into a fully-fledged, more introspective phase of his prolific career. Maintaining unparalleled levels of consistency throughout the tracklist, Conway’s allusiveness implements a new dimension to this project, enabling him to uncover his insecurities and grievances all while maintaining the belligerent ‘gangster’ essence that fans have grown to love.

While typically renowned for his pugnacious verses, witty one-liners and oozing confidence, Conway’s latest project sees him double down on his authenticity, opening up about personal grievances and battles with alcohol addiction. This intimacy is evident no-more so than on the intense single, ‘Stressed’, where Conway delivers three powerful verses over a nostalgic boom-bap beat, where his vivid storytelling unveils the traumas of a heartbreaking childhood which saw him “kicked in the stomach” aged just 10 months old. The potent despondency of this track continues with Conway touching on the tragic loss of his son, before pleading for consideration with the lyrics “do anybody care that I’m stressed?”

‘God Don’t Make Mistakes’ is abounding in equally as heart-rending cuts, most of which are intensified by the immaculate production which skilfully captures the dejection of the album. ‘Guilty’ is a notable highlight, with Conway’s lyrical content honing in on a near-fatal shootout which left him paralysed with Bell’s Palsy. Following a graphic narration of the incident, The Machine hits back at internet trolls as he spits “just focus on the lyrics, don’t focus on my appearance”, before celebrating “the dopest of any era”, who’s forged a credible career against all odds. This sense of resilience is portrayed incredibly by the legendary producer Bink!, who’s finely mixed composition merges some soulful Kelly Price vocals alongside some uplifting Brian Reid keys.

But in spite of the introverted approach to his latest record, Conway isn’t required to compensate for any reduction in griminess, as ‘God Don’t Make Mistakes’ remains immersed in the notorious Griselda aesthetic. From Daringer’s menacing beats to Conway’s brutal one-liners, The Machine sounds as sinister as ever. ‘John Woo Flick’ showcases the best of Griselda’s force, with the iconic trio teaming up to deliver three razor-sharp verses, all of which revolve around an ominous bass and the overtly callous hook; “Spray 80 the baby woke up”. While The Alchemist’s haunting keys introduce a sinister atmosphere on ‘Piano Love’, it’s the following track ‘Drumwork’ which perfects the ‘spooky’ boom-bap approach, with Conway and his new roster of talent each delivering scintillating verses.

‘God Don’t Make Mistakes” combination of aggression and introspection allows Conway to balance his personal storytelling, nostalgic 90s boom-bap and classic Griselda grit, ultimately resulting in a formula which delivers his finest work to date. The concluding title track ties the album together in cohesive fashion, ensuring ‘God Don’t Make Mistakes’ is both his most personal and most consistent record to date.

Favourite Tracks: Drumwork (with 7xvethegenius & Jae Skeese), Piano Love, Guilty, John Woo Flick (with Benny The Butcher & Westside Gunn), So Much More, God Don’t Make Mistakes (feat. Annette Price)

Least Favourite Track: N/A

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