'Lulu' : Conway The Machine & The Alchemist - EP Review
Griselda's Conway The Machine partners with Dutch streetwear brand Patta to present us with a new extended play entirely produced by the prolific The Alchemist. The EP sold in a limited capsule collection paired with a jacket, hat, and comes with 7 new tracks to hold us over while the boys of Buffalo amass their lyrical ammunition as they prepare to take over 2020.
Conway The Machine, a third of the original Griselda boys, is back with the same stories of the streets, boastful bars, and disgusting demeanor that'll leave you wanting more as if his verses were the crack he raps about. Al The Chemist comes off his last project The Price of Tea in China with Detroit rapper and recent Griselda signee Boldy James.
23 new minutes of music is always welcome from The Machine, and it might just be his best project yet. It isn't exactly fair comparing an EP to a full-length project and it might just be the complementing production of Uncle Al, but Conway comes different on this one. "Intro", the intro, is just an intro featuring a minute worth of dialogue from the classic crime cinema Paid in Full.
The first track "14 KI's" continues the theme of referencing the film as he raps about Cam'ron's Purple Haze and when Rico got at Mitch. Conway gets to work stuffing Virgil and Burberry brags into verses that posses his coldest sports references. He raps in the first verse,
"I keep my gun in perfect condition, Machine get dirty like Ben Wallace puttin' in work for the Pistons"
and in the second,
"Gettin' money, that’s what I do often, I get treated like I'm the big ticket when I'm movin' through Boston."
These are lofty comparisons to legendary hoopers, but there's truth to them. His passion is there; The Machine is a grinder. He's always working, striving to better his craft. He opens up on the next song, "The Contract", by discussing his work ethic and mentality along with the adversity he's faced. He rhymes,
"Let's toast to my enemies, no, let's toast to my injuries
Turned my negative to positive, I don't need no sympathy
I'm the GOAT 'til infinity, I wrote with intensity
Plus, my potent delivery, I just hope they remember me"
Track three features a luxurious, symphonic instrumental worthy of opening up a James Bond film. Conway's hook that follows the solo extensive verse needs work as it's a rather boring and repetitive claim that he's about to deliver the money for a hit on someone. His choruses pick up over the back of the project and the midway point, "Shoot Sideways," features an excellent performance by ScHoolboy Q. Q doesn't get the chance to spit an exciting verse, but I wouldn't doubt we will be seeing these two collaborate again in the near future. When they debuted the song last Wednesday the 25th on Beats 1 Radio with Ebro, Conway said he would not be opposed to working with Q again and would like to very much. The daunting production pairs nicely with ScHoolboy's menacing threat of a hook. Conway gets back with the basketball references quickly with this heater,
But he still scorin' on the opps and he still hittin' baskets"
Track 5, entitled "Calvin," has Conway giving us his most complete solo effort on the project. Conway delivers the majority of his bars in a tight triplet flow where he rhymes about his the climb to the top and the violence he's seen, done, and will do if you try to halt his ascension. Pairing nicely with a music video directed by Jason Goldwatch, we see slow camera cuts of Conway leaving a body in the woods with a nice opening reference to the famed Quentin Tarantino "trunk shot." He brings the threatening bars throughout the song as well as a very competent and confident hook. He even has another nice basketball rhyme, this time about Knicks power forward, Julius Randle.
Queensbridge rapper Cormega hops on to feature on the sixth track, "They Got Sonny," which refers to another scene from Paid in Full. Conway and Cory take turns rapping about how they don't see much in this new generation, the dependence on drugs they saw in their early life, and how it motivates them to work. More basketball bars come with a sly rhyme about his ambition being comparable to Kawhi's on a fast break. ALC's production on this track is killer with what sounds like an accordion and an ominous rattle sound. The projects outro track, "Gold BBB's," provides a potent closer to this eerily-brilliant project. It's full of the classic gloat lines; covering the topics of fashion, women, guns, and drugs. One of Conway's best opening lines come from the final song, he raps,
"Why the popo so vexed for?
They raid the wrong house, we had the dope and money next door"
This mastermind line perfectly encapsulates what I took away from this project. The mood/vibe/tone (whatever you prefer) is Drug Dealer Brilliance; it's smart and cerebral yet lethal. Lulu is great and while it doesn't do for me what albums like Daytona and Bandana have done in recent years, it deserves a nod and at least a brief discussion.
Lulu is a short yet stellar collection of tracks that follow the usual Griselda pattern with some slight tweaks. Instead of Daringer, their normal elder of instrumentals, we see Conway link up for a full project with Al the Chemist; and their chemistry is off the charts. The wheel isn't reinvented with Lulu, but The Machine shows off his newly-polished ability to write and deliver a hook. With lots of killer and little filler, this project is a great start for Griselda in 2020 and helps bolster Conway's resume as the best member in Griselda.
Thanks for the read! At Burbs we'll be trying to crank out more content to help keep you entertained through this rough time. Everyone stay inside and stay safe!
Let us know in the comments below who you believe is the best member of Griselda Records or your favorite sports reference from Conway The Machine.