2020: The Year of Griselda
By Mike Cotton
Within the past few years the popularity of Griselda has grown massively. The Buffalo, New York based group brought the 90s East Coast rap style back to the rap game with cerebral lyrics and exhilarating instrumentals. Founded by rapper Westside Gunn in 2012, Griselda consists of Westside Gunn, his half-brother Conway the Machine, their cousin Benny the Butcher and producer Daringer. They have two releases as a collective; their 2016 EP Don’t Get Scared Now, and their 2019 debut studio album WWCD. In regard to this year, Griselda has maintained their relevance through consistent releases. Benny the Butcher is the most popular out of the group, and has also been considered the most lyrical. He currently has two albums released this year. On July 31, 2020, Benny released Benny the Butcher and DJ Drama Present: The Respected Sopranos, which featured “The Black Soprano Family”, another collective that Benny is part of. On October 16, 2020, Benny released Burden of Proof. With features from Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Rick Ross, Freddie Gibbs and his peers from Griselda, this album has been heavily talked about.
Conway the Machine is the smooth assassin of the group, if you’re not listening close enough a lot of his bars will go right over your head. On September 11, 2020. Conway served the rap game with his debut studio album From King to a God. With phenomenal producers such as Beat Butcha, Daringer, Alchemist, DJ Premier, Erick Sermon, Havoc, Hit-Boy, Khrysis, Murda Beatz, Rockwilder and Signalflow Music on this album, it’s no question as to why the album sounds so mature. Conway also had a loaded feature list on this album, he collaborated with artists such as Dej Loaf, Lloyd Banks, Freddie Gibbs, Armani Caesar, his Griselda peers and legends such as Havoc and Method Man. His grimy raps about street life and his new-found success can be heard all throughout this album over some of the best producers that rap has ever seen, a future classic indeed.
Founding member of Griselda, Westside Gunn, is best known for bringing the complete best out of his features on tracks. 2020 has been an extremely busy year for Westside as he’s delivered three albums consisting of his unique cadence, flows and some of this year’s best features over somewhat peculiar beats. His 2020 run started on April 17 with his third studio album Pray for Paris. This album featured Wale, Freddie Gibbs, Joey Badass, his Griselda peers, and Kiesha Plum. He also worked with producers The Alchemist, DJ Premier, Jay Versace, and Tyler, the Creator (vocals and producer). On July 3, 2020, Westside Gunn released Flygod Is An Awesome God 2, which featured Benny the Butcher, Armani Caesar, Boldy James, Kiesha Plum, AA Rashid and Steve God Cooks. His most recent project WHO MADE THE SUNSHINE was released on October 2, 2020, moreover, this was also his major label debut album as it was released under Shady Records. Not only was this one of Westside’s best projects, but it may debatably have the best feature list of this year so far. His featured artists include Jadakiss, Black Thought, Boldy James, Armani Caesar, Busta Rhymes, his Griselda peers, Smoke DZA and Slick Rick.
Griselda has been on a beautiful run so far in 2020. With how consistent their releases have been this year, it’ll come as no surprise if we hear a lot more of them before the year is out. Westside Gunn also confirmed that he will be retiring in December of this year. With that being said from him, hopefully there will be another Westside Gunn album, as well as another Griselda album before Westside Gunn decides to finally drop the microphone for good.