|2020||LULU||Conway the Machine||★★★★||77||Hip-Hop|
At only 22 minutes long, Conway the Machine might technically consider LULU an EP, but it feels like a complete album, and The Alchemist’s production just transports you into Conway’s world, with HARD bass notes, menacing, dissonant synths and gritty, methodical percussion. The beats are crazy, and Conway fits right in with his snarl and sometimes sinister feeling.
There isn’t too much modern hip-hop that actually sounds like 90s New York hardcore rap out there, and now days expecially it’s near impossible for something to authentically be an “underground” record. But Conway and the other members of Griselda feel and sound the part more than anyone else with a real following.
The album’s art — a Great White Shark’s gaping mouth breaching the surface of the ocean, showing off its teeth — is a perfect representation of the realness, rawness, and ferocity in the songs and lyrics.
“Shoot Sideways,” featuring ScHoolboy Q — who fits flawlessly on the record — is my favorite track, followed by “Calvin,” where Conway’s flow is captivating, especially the chorus, “I’ve seen it a lot,” which rolls right off the tongue in a fun way. But every song has something gripping, from the loud, long, sustained synth hits on “They Got Sonny” to the theatrical strings and horns on “The Contract.”
Griselda has put out oodles of albums since 2019, but out of the bunch from 2020, LULU is my favorite, and Conway’s solo work always impresses me more than some of Benny The Butcher and Westside Gun’s albums.
LULU is just great with its visual storytelling and references, with stellar, cold production tying it all together beautifully.