FLYGOD IS AN AWESOME GOD 2 is Buffalo legend Westside Gunn’s second release this year, coming three months after fan- favourite and cult classic ‘Pray for Paris’. Here, he takes a laidback curators role; there’s a feature on all tracks bar one but by no means does he takes a back seat, Gunn’s Buffalo street tales and sharp wordplay hit as hard as ever. In familiar Buffalo fashion the beats swing in a minimal motion; drum samples rarely layered on top, the tracks often let the original sample take centre stage. The beats speak for themselves, acting as the perfect canvas for Gunn’s spoken imagery. As far as Gangster Rap goes, the minimalist sound can be abstract and uninviting for listener, yet the Buffalo sound has risen in popularity across the globe, and that’s thanks to Westside Gunn, his brother Conway the Machine, Roc Marciano and a handful of others.
‘Put money on your head but I’m hands on’
This release has dropped on the two brothers’ label ‘Griselda Records’. Up until recently the roster was a family affair, consisting of the two of them and cousin ‘Benny The Butcher’. The three of them have propelled the Buffalo rap sound to an elevated level of recognition over the last five or so years. Gunn and Conway were once signed to Eminem’s Shady Records, before turning their full attention to Griselda. Recently the label announced that they had added a relative unknown ‘Armani Caesar’ to their roster. She appears here on ‘FLYGOD IS AN AWESOME GOD 2’ on what is possibly the highlight of the release, a track called; ‘Lil Caese’. She comes through with punchline bars and a serious attitude; easily going bar for bar with Westside Gunn. I don’t want to be one to make obvious comparisons but she reminds me of Lil Kim: she swaggers on the beat with a similar energy, surely proving any previous doubters wrong with her debut performance. Busta Rhymes’ most recent Conglomerate releasee Stove God Cooks is having a great year and also impresses with his features. I reviewed his debut ‘Reasonable Drought’ on the first edition of the ‘Rap Up’.
Buffalo is a city in the north of New York State, historically overlooked because of it’s bigger neighbour, the area has always had it’s own sound. It’s this DIY attitude amongst other things (namely raw talent) that has helped Griselda Records quickly become an institution for underground street rap. They’re a label in a transitional period, making all the relevant decisions to progress into their second generation. It’s a label that all serious rap fans should be following. All releasee’s have inhabited an effortlessly prolific work rate, and this ethos I hope is echoed by their recent signee’s. Westside Gunn has announced that he will be releasing a trilogy of full lengths this year; so stay locked for the third in series and keep your eyes and ears open for rest of the labels’ output.
Westside Gunn - FLYGOD IS AN AWESOME GOD 2
Label: Griselda Records