It was late 2018, or maybe early 2019, a friend of mine told me about a hip hop crew from Buffalo, New York named “Griselda Boyz”. The crew consist of 3 emcees (Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, and Benny the Butcher) and an in-house producer, Daringer. Now, I have been listening to hip hop for over 20 years, and I must say, when I first listened to the trio’s music, I wasn’t impressed. There was a lot of drug talk, which gets a little boring to me sometimes; not saying they were trash, just not my “cup of tea”. So while everyone was going crazy over this new trio, I simply paid them no mind and went on with my life. Now after my first run in with Griselda, I wasn’t really checking for anyone out of the camp; but I knew of all their accomplishments, like the trio securing a deal with Eminem’s Shady Records and signing a management deal with Jay-Z’s Roc-Nation.
Then, on October 16, 2020, I was reintroduced to Benny the Butcher. And on that day, he released, in my eyes, what could easily be considered the rap album of the year, “Burden of Proof“. How did I end up listening to this album, you ask? Well, another friend of mine suggested it, and since I was on my way to Cali, I was like “fuck it, let me see what this album hitting for… I got time”. Man! The opening track “Burden of Proof” … everything about it grabbed my attention, immediately. I was in shock and couldn’t believe I actually wanted to hear more. The flow, the bars, content and the beat was all dope; even with all the drug talk, I still enjoyed it. The sound of this album gave me a feel of Jay-Z’s “Blueprint” album, with all the soulful tracks; and The Clipse “Lord Willin” album, lyrically. I listened to the album the entire two hours I was in the airport waiting for my flight, AND, on the plane as well. One of my favorite tracks on the album is “One Way Flight” feat. Freddie Gibbs – the soulful beat (thanks to super producer Hit-Boy, alongside Jansport J) and the braggadocios rhymes brought a smile to my face; I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. One thing I did know for sure was that the beats were going to be fire because the entire project was produced by Hit-Boy, who had just finished up producing Nas’ latest project “King Disease“, which was also a solid project.
Another standout track to me from Benny’s album is “New Streets”; another soulful beat, bars on point and the flow is clear as day… had my head nodding on every listen. Song reminds me of Jay-Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” – the content on both songs are totally different, but it’s the storytelling aspect of it that draws me. I can listen to this album over and over again, without skipping a track. The album also has some good features; like Rick Ross (Where Would I Go) sounds like a throw away from “Port of Miami 2”, but good nonetheless. There’s also Big Sean and Lil Wayne (Timeless), and his family members Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine (War Paint).
I am not going to say I’m a fan of Griselda Records now, however, I will say I am a fan of Benny the Butcher, and will go back and listen to his music, and other Griselda Records artists. On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this album a 4; only because some of the features felt forced, and I personally wanted to hear another joint with Pusha T and Benny …but, it’s cool; maybe next time. If Benny doesn’t get Rap Album of the Year for “Burden of Proof”, then 2020 WAS really a fucked up year. #StayGrinding #StayWorking