Buffalo, New York native Demond Price, more popularly known by his stage name Conway the Machine, continues on his 2020 content saturation with the release of his debut album, “From King to A GOD” out Sept. 11. Conway’s 14-song long play (LP) counts as his third project in 2020, following collaborative works “LULU” with The Alchemist and “No One Mourns the Wicked” with Big Ghost LTD.
“From King to A GOD” delivers fans with Conway’s most commercial-sounding project to date with polished, haunting instrumentals and some of the rapper’s most braggadocious and thought-provoking bars.
Conway uses this breakthrough moment to reminisce how far his career has come and celebrate this album with a plethora of featured artists that he considers his team.
“I just hope they see the growth and maturity,” Conway told Complex. “This is the elevation as a man, as a lyricist, as a father, as everything.”
The debut album features guest performances and production from multiple members of Buffalo-based Griselda Records, including the label’s founder and Conway’s half brother Westside Gunn.
“Spurs 3” serves as a flex while the three biggest names of Griselda — Conway the Machine, Westside Gunn and Benny the Butcher — take turns narrating the origins of their record label over a grisly beat with heavy bass undertones. Other features from Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist find Conway utilizing collaborations that have seen success in the past and create high points here.
“Seen Everything But Jesus” catches Conway discussing friends who have faced death and incarceration over a bouncy piano melody and a sticky chorus that attempts past strife. “I start my verse sayin’ they names to show we haven’t forgot,” Conway raps.
The backend of the track features Freddie Gibbs returning the favor of Conway’s feature on Gibbs’ “Babies and Fools” by spitting the most unforgettable flow of any guest feature on the project. Other exemplary guest performances come from Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man on “Lemon” and Glarisda’s own Armani Caesar on “Anza.”
While a couple of guest appearances generate some career-high tracks for Conway, “From King to A GOD” takes this formula into overkill as other outside performances create sour moments where Conway strays from his own filthy, sharp-witted style. The most notable is DeJ Loaf’s performance on the grandiose “Fear of God” track — the acclaimed singer provides an awkward, needless chorus that closes out the song.
Aside from recognizing his well-earned status, Conway also capitalizes on this monumental achievement to discuss police brutality on “Front Lines.” The track released as a single June 1 and methodically lands on the album to spread awareness of the crucial message of the track.
“Cracker invent the laws, that’s why the system is flawed / Cops killin’ black people on camera and don’t get charged,” Conway states over a frightening, hypnotic beat. “We ain’t takin’ no more, we ain’t just pressin’ record / Can’t watch you kill my brother, you gon’ have to kill us all.”
The track ends with a powerful audio snippet from a reporter detailing the burning of the Minneapolis Police Department 3rd Precinct from May.
Looking forward, Conway the Machine shows no signs of halting after delivering three projects this year as he already looks forward to his second full-length project.
“I feel like this album is not only arguably one of my best albums ever, but it is also the perfect appetizer to get my fans ready for my Shady Records debut ‘God Don’t Make Mistakes,’” Conway told Pitchfork.
The sequel is set to release next month under Shady Records — rather than his native label Griselda — but will still feature a multitude of artists from the Buffalo label.
“From King to A GOD” is streaming now on Apple Music and Spotify.