Conway The Machine Songs: Rapper’s Best Collabs
Conway The Machine has created well over a thousand songs throughout his career. An American rapper based out of Buffalo, New York, he’s a member of the famous Griselda crew. The group has spearheaded the revival of the East Coast underground scene alongside the likes of Westside Gunn and Benny the Butcher. Spending time in jail at the age of 23, Conway used the experience as motivation to spur his rap career. He has utilized collaborations throughout his career, working with rappers that capitalize a sound rooted in the streets of New York.
There’s no doubt that New York no longer runs the American hip-hop scene. With the bling era coming to a close, much of the allure of the Big Apple’s sound died with it. However, there are still pockets of rappers who provide a modern take on the ’90s era of New York hip-hop. One of these pockets was founded in 2014, when Westside Gunn created Griselda Records. Thirty-two-years-old at the time, Conway was the first rapper that Westside Gunn would bring on.
Griselda Records’ lyrical heavyweight released God Don’t Make Mistakes, in March of 2022. Conway was as vulnerable as ever on the record, picturing his trying childhood. He references the deaths of his son and cousin, personal bouts with alcoholism, and being abused at 10 months old. In fact, Conway The Machine has long been one of the more lyrically compelling rappers out. In an interview with Billboard, he stated, “I’m usually more bottled up and keep my personal stuff and shortcomings in life to myself personally, but this was the album for me to (not) do that.” With fans soon anticipating a new record, we’re going to take a look at some of Conway The Machine’s best collaborations on songs to date.
“Chanel Pearls” ft. Jill Scott (2022)
Predominately known for collaborating with other rappers, “Chanel Pearls” saw Conway push his boundaries by working with an iconic female vocalist. Scott made her name in the late ’90s to early ’00s, curating groovy soul cuts such as “Golden” and “A Long Walk.” She was best-known for creating slow and sensual music in the R&B space, releasing multiple multi-platinum projects.
However, the track sees Scott detour from her usual style. Rather than utilizing her booming vocals, she meets Conway’s energy with an energetic rap verse. The two rap about their shared hardships growing up. Conway states, “My life a series of drama just like them HBO shows / When I die, I’m goin’ out like the pharoah, drape me in gold.”
“John Woo Flick” ft. Benny The Butcher & Westside Gunn” (2022)
The most commercially successful track off of God Don’t Make Mistakes, the Griselda heavy hitters came together for yet another iconic song. “John Woo Flick” pays direct homage to the legendary Hong Kong action movie director. Featuring a looping sample and an incumbered drum pattern, the lyricism of the trio takes the forefront. The three flex about their wealth on the song, reflecting on how far they’ve each come. Conway states, “Now I’m in the Mayback sippin’ a Spade mimosa.” Standing on top of New York, it’s an iconic rags to riches anthem.
With Conway branching out with Drumwork Music Group, he had recently left Griselda Records. “John Woo Flick” shut down reports that his relationship with Westside Gunn was strained. While the two are no longer under the same label, they’ve made it clear that they’re still brothers for life.
“Scatter Brain” ft. J.I.D & Ludacris (2021)
Conway The Machine’s most commercially successful song to date, J.I.D and Ludacris each contribute fantastic verses on the backend. The day before the track released, the world witness Ludacris flying a car into space in the exhilarating Fast & Furious 9 trailer. A day later, he’s flexing hard on Conway’s track. There wasn’t anyone more deserving of the blockbuster feature than Conway, who’s meticulously been developing as an MC through pure grit over the past decade. Featuring an eerie beat, all three of them are talking their s**t from start to finish. “Scatter Brain” was the last single released before 2021’s La Maquina. The song is about to surpass 50 million streams on Spotify alone.
“200 Pies” ft. 2 Chainz (2021)
Another song off of Conway The Machine’s La Maquina, “200 Pies,” features Atlanta Hall of Famer 2 Chainz. A relatively mellow beat produced by The Alchemist, it’s interesting to hear 2 Chainz over a more minimally produced beat. In fact, it’s probably the best version of him we had heard in a while. The two trade bars throughout, with Chainz stating, “I’m a money-getter, business leader, vibe-reader.” His ability to garner features from household names speaks volumes to his notoriety with hip-hop circles.
Conway references Drumwork Music Group, a record label which he founded himself. He states, “Build the next powerhouse record label, that was the next plan / Drumwork like Death Row in the 90s mixed with Def Jam.” With 2 Chainz being a multi-business tycoon, Conway makes it clear that he’s looking to follow in his footsteps by being more than just a rapper.
“Lemon” ft. Method Man (2020)
Conway The Machine’s “Lemon” features iconic Wu-Tang legend Method Man. The song displays venom and raw skill from start to finish, with production chops from Daringer and Beat Butcha. With Pray For Paris and The Price of Tea in China elevating Griselda to pristine relevance in mid-2020, Conway The Machine lived up to the pressure on the song “Lemon,” refusing to be a weak link of any sorts. Method Man is potent throughout, stating, “I use the system / you cowards use euphemisms / Women call me Super Daddy, my powers is supervision / Who gave you permission to speak?”
“Anza” ft. Armani Caesar (2020)
Featuring production chops from Murda Beatz, “Anza” sees Conway and Armani floating over a heavy 808. More traditionally rooted in trap compared to Conway’s usual sound, the two Griselda Records headliners flow seamlessly over the beat. “Anza” is a primary example of Conway looking to elevate his sound beyond the touted sample looping associated with the New York rap scene. The result is surprisingly great, with Armani delivering one of her better verses.
“Tear Gas” ft. Lil Wayne & Rick Ross (2022)
Throughout much of God Don’t Make Mistakes, Conway The Machine references his life-altering shooting as a catalyst rather than a deterrent for his rap career. Back in 2012, he was shot in the back of the head and neck, which paralyzed the right half of his face. As he references throughout the project, there was a significant social fallout after the incident. His supposed close friends were quick to turn, doubting that Conway would ever be able to become relevant as an MC.
“Tear Gas” sees Conway reflect on his legacy as a rapper. He states, “Probably won’t get my flowers while I can smell ’em / It’s gon take my untimely demise ‘fore they realize I was a legend.” However, he makes it clear that his career is only just getting started. Bringing in Rick Ross and Lil Wayne in itself is a statement of how far he’s come since the incident. Every verse is fantastic, as the three bounce off each other seamlessly.