Who is Griselda? Loud News Net’s Hip Hop Crew of the Year
It’s common for hardships to create inspired artists. Tough losses and traumatic events have shaped some of the greatest works of art in past years. This concept is only cemented by the case of Griselda, an underground rap trio from the city of Buffalo, New York. Rising from the dusty, hard-hitting boom bap drums and nostalgic samples of producer Daringer, the voices of Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, and Benny the Butcher chisel a striking picture of street life in their hometown and stomping grounds. From a hip hop project pushing a clothing brand, to an iconic crew, and finally entering the limelight as the culture’s hardest record label, Griselda continues to push their voice and vision from the streets to streaming.
Who is Griselda?
Westside Gunn is the poster child of Griselda, which he formed in the year 2012. With grimey raps about his new lavish lifestyle contrasting with the bitter reality of his early life, the leader of the crew brings structure and cohesiveness to everything he touches. A distinctive voice sets him apart on every lineup he joins, alongside names he’s carefully curated.
Conway The Machine
Next to his name on most tracks you’ll find his brother, Conway the Machine. Using his brash raps and chillingly blunt lyricism, the trials and tribulations that formed this man materialize out of thin-air throughout his verses. In the same year that Griselda was realized, Conway’s future in the game seemed to teeter on the edge of disaster as he was left with half of his face paralyzed due to a gunshot wound. In a redemption arc reminiscent of Through-The-Wire Kanye, the rapper used the roadblock to propel himself forward, with an impossible to ignore cadence and attitude that would bring him success and acclaim in the years to come.
Benny The Butcher
Along this trajectory the two brothers recruited their cousin Benny the Butcher, who would serve as the glue to cement the power of the trio. Punching coke raps between bars boasting about his accomplishments, Benny is a force to be reckoned with – and one worth listening to.
The road since 2012 hasn’t been a cakewalk by any means, and like many respectable acts, the rise to fame was slow.
Over the past seven years, they have released 40 projects between the three Buffalo natives. In 2017, a distribution deal was signed with Shady Records, Eminem’s record label. This led to greater exposure and landed them placements and resources that they didn’t previously have access to.
Each member has been methodically (but frequently) releasing solo material while recording and outputting collaborative projects as well.
This entire time, a 4th figure has loomed behind the group, orchestrating (no pun intended) the haunting instrumentals and powerful sound selection.
Producing since 2005, Daringer is the man behind the laptop, flipping samples and giving Griselda it’s catchy, looping melodies for the trio to spit over.
At this point, the hard work has begun to snowball, leading to the trio doing numbers that were before unimaginable from their tiny studio in the hood. For example, Westside Gunn had his best first week in sales to date with his 2020 Pray for Paris with a whopping 8 million streams. The group’s debut album WWCD (What Would Chine Gun Do?) claimed the eighth spot on Billboard’s Rap category, further reinforcing that the trio is here and stronger than ever.
For the Culture
Griselda is championing street rap for the culture. Channeling the spirit of groups past such as Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang. Hip-hop critics and casual listeners alike have gravitated to the nostalgic, underground feel of Gunn, Conway, and Benny’s sound.
Up and coming artists look to them as a case study of genuine personality and brash hunger. Receiving nods from giants such as Jay-Z and Eminem, the three rappers have found praise and popularity despite repeating that fame isn’t the name of their game. If anything, they aim to represent the hardships and people that shaped their early lives, and refuse to do anything short of that.
Instead of aiming to sell out their sound, they look to sell their stories and lessons learned. Luckily, Griselda has a bottomless pool of memories, influences, and emotions with which to craft their art.
What’s Next for Griselda?
When you’ve already reached heights taller than anything you’ve experienced before, where do you go? It’s not uncommon for underground acts to reach the limelight in similar ways only to water down their personality with the mainstream industry features and run of the mill production.
Luckily for any street rap enthusiast, the group has no plans to take the same path. Looking to further entrench their spot in hip hop, street tales and bars about the harsh realities of hood living has and always will be their staple, paying homage to the spirit of rap and the godfathers of the genre.
“We could be doing 100 other things right now, but we sticking to the pillars of hip-hop and representing for the guys who groomed us when we was coming up,” said Benny.
This attitude will serve as an indication of their trajectory in the upcoming years. Griselda looks to become legends themselves, joining the pantheon of beloved and revered hip hop acts. With the drive and focus already showcased by the sheer output and quality of projects in their discography, it’s clear that Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, and Benny the Butcher have the tools and experience to become larger than life figures, crafting the pieces of art that they will be remembered by forever.