'From King To A God' Review: Conway the Machine delivers best work to date in appetizer to 'God Don't Make Mistakes'
The rapper's lyricism is unmatched on his latest work that features a host of other top artists in the field and tackles a wide range of themes
Conway the Machine returns with his first studio album, 'From King To A God', featuring Freddie Gibbs, Westside Gunn, Benny the Butcher, Method Man, Havoc, Lloyd Banks, DeJ Loaf, the Alchemist, Daringer, Erick Sermon, Hit-Boy, and many more. The album is the third of four projects the rapper had in the works for 2020, preceded by the EP 'Lulu' (with The Alchemist) and the album 'No One Mourns The Wicked' (with Big Ghost LTD). The release is also meant to serve as an 'appetizer' to Conway's debut through Shady Records with the studio album 'God Don't Make Mistakes' set to arrive later this year.
Speaking about his new album to Complex, Conway shared, "I've been ready for this for a while. To get this project out and get people ready for the Shady Records release, God Don’t Make Mistakes, is really exciting…I just hope they see the growth and maturity. That’s why I named it From King to a GOD. This is just different. This is the elevation as a man, as a lyricist, as a father, as everything. From King to a GOD. You feel me?" Including the previously released tracks 'Fear of God' featuring Dej Loaf, 'Front Lines', 'Seen Everything But Jesus' with Freddie Gibbs, and 'Lemon' with Method Man, the fourteen-track offering is an absolute treat.
Conway's greatest focus on this album was 'growth'. The rapper was committed to showcasing not just his growth as an artist but also his ability to be more than a 'one-trick pony'. And right from the opening track 'From King', it's clear he more than accomplished his goal. Conway has always been a stellar rapper and artist, but he truly elevates himself on this record. An impeccable flow over some classic, minimal production, Conway delivers an album that lives up to its name. And thanks to that, it's pretty much impossible to pick a single standout on 'From King To A GOD'.
'From King' and 'Fear of GOD' featuring DeJ Loaf sets up the record perfectly, with 'Lemon' featuring Method Man and 'Dough & Damani' following and allowing Conway to establish himself as one of the most gifted rappers of the modern era. The latter track, in particular, sees the rapper namedrop several other big names in the game, both living and deceased, and points to his own influence on the genre and the lack of recognition he gets for his contributions. And from there, the album just keeps getting better and Conway's verses continue to flow.
A quick interlude on the album features words from Griselda Records producer DJ Shay, who passed away in August following a Covid-19 diagnosis. Shay was notably one of the most important and influential figures for many young artists in hip-hop, and his loss significantly impacted many, including Conway, who Shay calls "one of the greatest lyricists" in the industry. Hearing Shay speak about Conway makes for a bittersweet listen, both because these are the words of someone so important to the genre who passed away so recently but also because it gives Conway his due, all while so many in the industry overlook the rapper and his work.
Riding the ebbs and flows of songs that kick things up then bring it all back down again, Conway tackles a range of topics, including Covid-19, gang violence, and police brutality, even touching on the weight of death, the loss of beloved friends, and the support of family and religion. And through it all, Conway's skills as a lyricist remain front and center, making sure we never forget what a formidable artist we're listening to as we lose ourselves in the music.
Conway the Machine's 'From King To A GOD' is not just his best work to date, it's also one of the greatest works to emerge from the East Coast scene. This album is the perfect blend of contemporary thematic elements with classic hip-hop and stellar production that ties it all together perfectly. And it's a must-listen for fans of hip-hop, no matter what side of the coast you lend your allegiance to.
'From King To A GOD' is out now across all digital streaming platforms.