“Steel sharpens steel.”
When it comes to hip-hop in the modern era, conscious thinkers and authentic connoisseurs become hesitant when hype starts to build around a new artist. Today’s formula for becoming a rap superstar is often coupled with virality, flashiness and gimmicks. Thankfully, a demographic of hip-hop consumers exists to fixate upon the purity and vitality of elements such as knowledge and delivery.
For those true connoisseurs, look no further than the Hall and Nash duo from Buffalo, NY. Hall and Nash (nod to The Outsiders of WWE) consists of Westside Gunn and Conway, two gritty artists who happen to be biological brothers. Together, they formed their own label, Street Entertainment which transformed into Griselda Records in 2014. Benny the Butcher accompanies these two artists on the Griselda label and is the brother of former member, Machine Gun Black, who is deceased.
In 2012, Conway battled a near death experience after being shot in the neck and shoulder. This incident left him with Bell’s palsy and ultimately drove Westside Gunn into artistry. Originally, Westside Gunn solely promoted Conway’s content and would divest his energy into the business aspects of music.
Pure & Unadulterated Rap
Presently, it is nearly an oxymoron to couple spectacular hype with lyrical content. More and more, the route to considerable popularity manifests through ignorance and irrationality. Not concerned with likes or views, these dynamic Buffalo artists depict grimey backgrounds and troubled upbringings. Their delineation of the struggle and lyrical affability are grounds for critical desirability.
“The allure of the illicit never dies.” (Passion)
Conway’s lyrical output has remained consistent since the turn of the century. Major factors such as rhyme syncopation, dexterity, and grittiness have contributed to the strength of his appeal. He proclaims himself the G.O.A.T. and the G stands for ‘grimiest.’ The intricate street storylines and braggadocious nature has led to consumption of his music and subscription to the Griselda movement.The excellence uncovered by Westside Gunn and Conway has to do with their vivid diction and auspicious approach. Certainly, their sound is reminiscent of legends like Nas, Kool G Rap and MF Doom. These artists blend the perfect permeation of weirdo-rap with street narratives.
“The Westside Gunn x Conway approach always been more bout bringin the ESSENCE of 90s/classic hip hop back. Put down the room temperature soy milk rap n get blessed by the flyness.” (Conway)
Additionally, Griselda Records hosts an affiliation with one of the most invigorating producers, Daringer. The selection quality and adjusted tempos are what make Daringer a pivotal part of the Griselda process. He tends to produce records with “boom-bap” soul samples. Furthermore, Daringer navigates through the crates relentlessly. By authentically “digging through the crates” Daringer converts his funds and energy into timeless material.
“I sample breaks, I pitch them down and get them in that slower tempo, it kinda disguises them a little bit. Once I slow these records down and the breaks as well, it gives me a certain sound and it just sounds grittier, to make the mood a bit darker.” (Daringer)
Westside Gunn burst upon the scene with his mixtape series, “Hitler Wears Hermes.” That title represents a spinoff of the popular phrase “Devil Wears Prada.” The artwork, title and substance matter of these tapes exemplify Westside’s distinct ability to decipher himself from his peers.
Westside Gunn thrives as an individual that remains ahead of the curve. His inclination toward fashion became very apparent since the establishment of his artistry. He is an icon amongst fashion lovers and refuses to wear any article of clothing more than three times. On the road, these Buffalo artists make it a priority to customize the colorways of their apparel according to the city they are touring. The merchandise presented by the Griselda team speaks volumes of their fashion sense and ability to adapt to their audience.
Without a doubt, Westside Gunn and Conway have experienced a surge in popularity. At a glance, one would never conclude such an interpretation. These artists are reserved in their ways due to awareness of the possible repercussions of extravagance and grandeur.
The Griselda artists are adored overseas and globally recognized in places like Romania. These NY artists have maintained their brand with affability, ominous beats and a refusal to sacrifice their artistic vision. Last March, Griselda Records inked a major label distribution deal with Shady Records and Goliath Management.
“The style and energy of Griselda Records, Gunn, and Conway are infectious. We can’t wait to put them on the platform they have earned and deserve.” (Eminem)
By: Ian Romaker