Conway The Machine became an integral part of the revival of the grimy and hardnosed sound of the 1990s, offering grim depictions of street life alongside his brother Westside Gunn and cousin Benny The Butcher. Now calling his own shots, La Maquina released his long-awaited major-label solo debut album God Don’t Make Mistakes and it is without question an early contender for album of the year.
Fans of Conway were anticipating the release of the album since the 2019 Griselda group album, WWCD, the collective’s major-label debut on Shady Records. Prolific as the crew continues to be, Conway and his team took time to ensure that his Shady Records debut was free of flaws and communicated his vision while meeting the rapper’s high standards of quality.
If anything, God Don’t Make Mistakes completely illustrates how Conway is far more than the grizzled exterior fans have come to know. Underneath it all, The Machine is willing to get vulnerable; a risk not taken enough in the upper ranks of Hip-Hop greats, but done to great effect across this project. Credit also goes to Drumwork Music Group signee Lucky Seven, who assisted with recording and laying out the tracklist for his label boss. Shady Records VP of A&R Mike Heron also worked tirelessly on getting the project to light.
The album opens with the bone-chilling “Lock Load” and reunites Conway with Daringer and Beat Butcha, who worked extensively on the WWCD album. The feel of the track is both familiar and fresh with Conway employing a sing-song flow before launching into a relentless attack. Beanie Sigel shows up on the back end and while his voice is now something of a loud whisper, the bars are just as hard as they’ve been his entire career.
Next up is “Tear Gas” with Rick Ross and Lil Wayne on the assist, but the star of the show is Conway. Early on, fans are treated to the gifted pen of Conway, hearing the cracks of emotion in his delivery and the like. While Weezy and Rozay deliver fine verses on their own, they don’t match the descriptive vision of The Machine’s bars ahead of them. Daringer’s dusty production shows up again on “Drumwork” featuring Drumwork Music Group signees 7xvethegenius and Jae Skeese, both delivering scene-stealing verses and displaying quite evidently that their impending releases will garner the attention of fans who appreciate bars
The track “Wild Chapters” shows another side of Conway over lush production from Hit-Boy and strong features from T.I. and the sorely missed Novel. Again, Conway dares to lift the steel curtain that guards his heart but never compromises his overall aim of authenticity. Conway again delves into the root of his pain on the track “Guilty” featuring production from Bink! and the Beat Brothers. Having explained the details of him being shot many times in previous songs, Conway dives more into the long road to recovery after the incident.
God Don’t Make Mistakes wouldn’t be a complete project without the Griselda team showing up and they blow the door open with “John Woo Flick” with Kill and Daringer giving them a brooding backdrop for the three-man weave. Rounding out the album are standout cuts “Stressed,” featuring Million Dollars Worth Of Game co-host Wallo267. Similar to “The Cow,” Conway’s pain coupled with his desire to outwork his past demons is audibly evident.
On “So Much More,” Conway triumphantly breaks down his career arc atop production from the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, sharing details of his rise and addressing the rumors of him moving on beyond Griselda. If there is an entry point for a new Conway listener, this is the perfect introduction. Jill Scott also shows up on the album displaying confident rapping ability on “Chanel Pearls and the R&B-tinged backing track by Cozmo, Daniel Cruz Dylan Graham proves without a shadow of a doubt that Conway can rap comfortably in any setting.
Closing out the album is the hard-as-nails “Babas” featuring the street poetry of the talented Keisha Plum, a fixture across several Griselda releases. Beat Butcha and Daringer’s guitar-laced track gives way to Conway employing a scattering style we haven’t heard him do before. The closing title track sums up the entire direction of the album with The Alchemist throwing something of a curveball with the production and Conway leaving it all on the floor. The track features a voicemail from Conway’s mother, Annette Price, and without giving it totally away, it may stir up some powerful emotions.
The promise Conway The Machine showed on the stellar From King To A God is fully realized on God Don’t Make Mistakes. Depending on when one discovered Conway’s music, his latest release captures every aspect of his vast ability and still doesn’t reveal the full command of the styles he’s capable of doing.
Beyond that, Conway removes the armor and lets listeners in on who the man behind the tough lyrics truly is, and defies every assumption he’s faced since rising to the top. This album is unquestionably the finest release of his still-ongoing career and it wouldn’t shock if he topped this effort.
Emotional, gritty, sincere, and always tangible, God Don’t Make Mistakes has all the makings of a modern-day classic.
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