Various Artists - Griselda & BSF: Conflicted (Original Soundtrack) Music Album Reviews

Various Artists - Griselda & BSF: Conflicted (Original Soundtrack) Music Album Reviews
One of modern rap’s most well-oiled machines has officially ventured into film. And while their debut soundtrack doesn’t hit the highs of their studio projects, it continues the tradition of bolstering an under-represented city.

Griselda Records has earned a reputation for flooding every market they touch. The Buffalo collective’s six active members—nominal leader Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Benny the Butcher, Armani Caesar, and latest signees Boldy James and YN Billy—released a combined seven projects in 2020 and have also exerted their influence in the worlds of fashion, sports, and wrestling. It’s no surprise, then, to see them extend their brand of gutter rap to the world of movies, like Roc-A-Fella and No Limit Records before them. Conflicted, the debut feature from the newly formed Griselda Films, is no Paid in Full, but its portrayal of life on and off the streets of Buffalo is earnest and heartfelt, the kind of DIY project you’d proudly buy in an unmarked case for around $10 from the corner-store bootleg rack. Even with its hometown love on its sleeve (the film is dedicated to DJ Shay, who died from COVID-19 complications last year), the film’s accompanying soundtrack, Griselda & BSF: Conflicted (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), does much of the atmospheric heavy lifting.
Naturally, the soundtrack lives and dies by the new-era boom-bap Griselda has made their name on since the mid-2010s. It’s a showcase for the group (with the exception of a notably absent Conway) and a handful of Benny’s Black Soprano Family affiliates, with special guests and audio clips from the movie sprinkled throughout. Songs like “Mobbin” and “Ain’t Hit Nobody” are standard fare, steely-eyed accounts of drive-bys and gold chains anchored by cold and unforgiving loops.

Gunn and Benny can churn out these kinds of songs in their sleep, yet they bring enough energy to occasionally dazzle. Gunn sounds as colorful as ever on single “The Hurt Business,” reminiscing on watching 106 & Park with his shades on while in federal prison. Benny’s standalone song “3:30 in Houston” is both a flex anthem and a bouncy rejoinder to the attempted robbery and shooting he experienced in a Walmart parking lot last year and the ensuing media circus (“Fuck all the bloggers, the niggas who shot me/Fuck all the opps and fuck Wendy Williams/Can’t trust nobody, it’s all smoke and mirrors”). The paranoia and opulence dovetail with the film’s own sense of encroaching dread.

While Griselda continues to hold it down—Boldy James and Armani Caesar never cease to amaze—the Conflicted soundtrack springs to life when outside voices take center stage. Underappreciated New York stalwart Lloyd Banks turns in career-best work on “Element of Surprise.” Black Soprano frontrunner Heem consistently stands out, particularly on the throbbing “Voices” (“My uncle told me use the gauge, no Boyz n the Hood/Leave you Ricky on the couch if that trigger get pulled”). Elcamino, Rick Hyde, and Smoke DZA ride DJ Shay’s blaring horns to victory on the roaring “Squaaaaad.” For all the highlights, though, there are a handful of fumbles. “Rank,” YN Billy’s first solo song on a Griselda project, has energy but lacks personality. Dave East’s phoned-in verse stalls the otherwise lively “Welcome Home DMX.” Armani Caesar’s solo cut “Nerve of You” feels more like a leftover idea from The Liz than a fully fleshed-out record. These songs fit the motif but feel undercooked by comparison.

At this point, Griselda is one of the most well-oiled machines in modern rap, their aesthetic and extended universe of collaborators perfectly suited to the world of soundtracks. Conflicted makes a game effort, offering a spattering of decent-to-good songs for FlyGods and young bulls alike. It may not hit the highs of their studio albums or mixtapes, but it continues the tradition of bolstering one of rap’s most under-represented cities.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Various Artists - Griselda & BSF: Conflicted (Original Soundtrack) Music Album Reviews Various Artists - Griselda & BSF: Conflicted (Original Soundtrack) Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on January 26, 2021 Rating: 5


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