Big Ghost Ltd/Conway the Machine - If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed Music Album Reviews

Big Ghost Ltd/Conway the Machine - If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed Music Album Reviews
The disgruntled member of Griselda Records is often overlooked, but he remains a secret weapon. The couplet is his canvas, and few can challenge him on his turf.

Sometime in 2018—after signing a distribution deal with Shady Records, before the thunderous arrival of Westside Gunn’s Supreme Blientele—Griselda became too big to fail. Having cornered a lucrative premium-vinyl market, the overachieving Buffalo trio swiftly established primacy within the realm of loop-based neoclassical rap. Soon, everyone in this crowded lane of East Coast hip-hop—from legacy acts like Roc Marciano and Smoke DZA to upstart revivalists like Flee Lord and Estee Nack—was funneled through a barrage of free-wheeling Griselda projects, the group’s cosign functioning as a tastemaker’s imprimatur. On their solo efforts, Griselda’s members have pushed their own visions, even if they don’t always cohere: Gunn inhabits a Scorsesean coke dream of Virgil collabs and art-world gravitas, while Benny the Butcher aspires to the assured verbosity of a young Jay-Z.
Amidst rumors of discord within the trio’s ranks, Conway the Machine continues to bring his hard hat and lunch pail to work. Still lacking a landmark full-length of his own, his profile is analogous to Styles P’s—a prolific genre artist, an invaluable group member and guest rapper, and such a self-possessed technician that, if you aren’t careful, you might take him for granted. On his new tape If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed, Conway’s verbal precision makes for snapshots that linger even after he’s flitted on to the next idea. He plows through knotty rhyme patterns with conversational ease; not only does he make every bar count, but his grunts and hesitations convey expressiveness even when he’s pausing for breath.

If It Bleeds reunites Conway with Big Ghost Limited, a blogger who achieved notoriety for prickly criticism written in the voice of Ghostface Killah (you had to be there) and parlayed it into a production career of his own. Like Griselda’s in-house composer Daringer, Big Ghost is a spiritual disciple of the Alchemist, pulling samples from film scores and dusty B-sides. Ghost’s atmospheric instrumentals advance with the slow force of a Humvee: the bass is low, the guitar chords scuzzy, snares optional. Dramatic violins highlight the early standout “J Batters,” and a bright piano sample buoys the Knowledge the Pirate duet “Sons of Kings.” On “Losses to Blessings,” a slick beat change kicks in just as Conway’s second verse reaches its emotional climax. Ghost’s loops, like Daringer’s, can feel like abridged takes on the obsessive tinkering of The Alchemist—by now, Griselda has the real Alchemist on speed-dial—but Conway’s continued loyalty to the next-gen producers is emblematic of the group’s D.I.Y. ethos.

There aren’t many surprises on a record like this, but If It Bleeds brims with sparkly little thrills. “Highly Praised” showcases Conway’s ability to find pockets even in the most unyielding production, his syllables stretched into a languid cadence that mirrors the slowed-down vocal sample. His free-standing couplets unfurl with the weight of narrative crescendos rather than simple punchlines: On “J Batters,” he boasts, “I don’t need rap, I’ll just contact my guy/He throwin’ bricks like Shaq at the line when he was past his prime.” For the most part, he’s just talking shit (“Lotta blemishes on your record, it’s a few errors/So you built a brand off a cap, like New Era”), and the seeming effortlessness is key to his appeal. Gunn and Benny often sound like they’re exerting themselves, but Conway never tries to be someone he’s not; If It Bleeds is yet another accomplished project that sounds like it was knocked out over the course of a weekend.

The couplet is Conway’s canvas, and few can challenge him on his turf. That he hasn’t attempted the sort of interrogative, high-concept album typically associated with prestige rappers isn’t a shortfall so much as a recognition of his particular genius, his adeptness with blunt tools. Nor does it diminish his star capacity—like Styles, he’s thrilling in bursts, his bars are resplendent, and he doesn’t need 50 minutes to get his point across. If It Bleeds is for the die-hards, but that was kind of the point of Griselda in the first place.
Share on Google Plus

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.
Big Ghost Ltd/Conway the Machine - If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed Music Album Reviews Big Ghost Ltd/Conway the Machine - If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on February 25, 2021 Rating: 5


Post a Comment