Conway the Machine (feat. Wallo267) – “Stressed”

There are many moments on God Don’t Make Mistakes, the latest release from rapper Conway the Machine, that are deeply personal and very revealing.

There’s also a lot of moments where he goes hard in the paint as well. The Buffalo rapper is formerly of Griselda, a collective and indie label responsible for some of the most gutter New York rap available today, founded by Con’s brother Westside Gunn (Bo bo bo bo!!) and including heavyweights like Benny the Butcher, Boldy James, and Mach-Hommy. Conway’s got plenty to share about getting his, bucking down foes, and running he streets, and sheeit, he’s got it locked down tight on this record.

But it’s Conway’s candor and reflection that I’m struck by the most when listening to God Don’t Make Mistakes. A former street soldier, Conway has seen a lot and survived a lot, and when he dives into these topics on the album, it’s arresting to hear. He recalls the night he was shot multiple times on “God Don’t Make Mistakes,” an attack that left him permanently paralyzed on one side of his face, and how differently his life could’ve went if he had decided to go with a friend to do a show that night instead of hanging back. Or “So Much More,” where he implores listeners to not put him in a box and view him as some one-dimensional thug, sharing how he spent thousands of his own money to help his community, but that’s not what the media focuses on.

“Stressed” is an absolutely crushing moment. Conway unloads, getting shit off his chest about his cousin’s suicide, the loss of his baby son, and folks expecting payouts. He speaks about the abuse he’s suffered as a child, his addictions, his dead and locked up friends, and the crushing weight of it all, and there’s bitterness and sadness in his voice when he wonders why no one was there for him when he needed it the most.

There’s a moment on this one where Con says, “I’m stressed ’cause I’m depressed, depressed ’cause I’m just tired of this shit,” and you fucking feel it. There’s pain emanating from every bar, and it’s palpable. This one lingers; I wish the brother the best.

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