Hip Hop | Rap
I must say, that I’ve been really impressed by the many great rap albums that have been released in recent months, with their generous durations and meaningful content. The newest album that fits this grid in my opinion, would be none other than the studio album from Demond Price (professionally known as Conway the Machine, or Conway) which is titled From King To A GOD.
While my motivation for reviewing this album was mainly the positive criticism that it had already garnered, I later realised that this may not be the first instance of me listening to Conway. Having featured on the track “Babies & Fools” from the amazing Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist collaborative album Alfredo, I was able to piece that track and this new album together; so at least I was able to hold a fragment of what I could expect to hear from Conway. Along with this, the fact that both Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist (as one of the many producers behind this album), it cemented even more that I could expect this to be somewhat of a spiritual successor to Alfredo.
I obviously went into this album completely afresh, and thought that From King To A GOD started off exceptionally well. The album’s opener “From King” pairs perfectly with the following banger “Fear Of God”, thanks to the awesome sense of transition, and use of progression. As a result, these two track felt like one big experience.
But further on into this project, I was appreciative (to truly say the least) of Conway’s masterful lyricism. All of the hype that shines a spotlight on the rappers vocal talent, wordplay, and overall realness, definitely felt justified. The lyrical side of this project was definitely the main element that carries the majority of the album’s weight, and I could feel myself hold on to nearly every word that Conway had to say.
This massively beneficial factor played an important role in why tracks like “Front Lines” felt so truly genuine and raw when touching upon topics like police brutality and the Black lives Matter movement. That, along with numerous other tracks, only added more fuel to the metaphorical fire that is my (admittedly recently newfound) eagerness to learn more about the injustice in the justice system. And quite frankly, that is a remarkable thing for an album like this to achieve.
Having scattered so much praise upon this album however, I definitely feel that From King To A GOD also has its glaring flaws. It seemed that as much as many tracks engaged with me heavily, there also seemed to be a near equal amount of tracks that felt unengaging or unimpactful. And these duds, were unfortunately down to the production primarily.
Given that there is such a wide arsenal of producers working on this project, it has to be said that the chemistry from beat to beat feel very chaotic beyond the likes of the first two tracks of the album. And on top of that, some of the more minimal beats actually detract from Conway’s generally consistent lyricism and flow.
It seems like a bit of a nit-pick, but when you have an album like From King To A GOD, which got off to such a contextually strong start, as well as including so many gripping bars from Conway, the importance of strong thematic production throughout cannot be understated. And if a consistently strong musical theme were the case for this album, I would’ve most likely regarded it as one of the year’s most impactful musical works.
But with all positive and negative criticism aside, the statement that Conway the Machine is an advocate of “real hip hop” and “the music we need”, is far from exaggerated. I will be excited for any new upcoming projects from Conway (although I think there may already be another on the horizon).
Favourite Tracks: Fear Of God | Juvenile Hell | Nothin Less
Least Favourite Track: Spurs 3
Griselda Records | Drumwork | EMPIRE