A few weeks prior to this interview, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Chicago Hip-Hop producer A-Villa. During our conversation off camera we asked each other who we were currently listening to and who we thought were dope. He suggested I check out a couple of M.C.’s from New York named Conway & West Side Gunn. Upon returning home from Chicago I wasted no time researching these guys as well as all of their music that I could access. I was SOLD immediately!! This is what I’ve been missing and it was right under my nose, I just had to be led in the right direction. One of my main reasons for heading to Atlanta for A3C was to see if I could get an interview from these guys and I lucked up by chance. I won’t go into the story of how this all took place, but what was supposed to be me picking up albums from Conways house turned into more than I bargained for. I had the opportunity to sit in on a studio session which included in house Producer Daringer,poetess Keisha Plum, Conway & Westside Gunn. On top of that I sat down with the humble Conway the machine who blessed me with a Live Facebook interview.
So you’re straight out of Buffalo, right?
Conway: Absolutely. East side Buffalo, New York. Born & raised.
Are you the first artist off of Griselda (Records)?
Conway: Well, actually my brother was the first act with his project “Fly God” and all the “Hitler” mixtapes and all that so he really spearheaded all this. I’m actually following up… he’s driving & I’m just shooting.
How long have you totally been in the game so far?
Conway: We been in the game like a year or two, a year and a half… I ain’t really been in it that long. I mean I’ve been rappin’, chasing…and inspired to be a great artist since I was a kid. When I came home from jail in 2005 is when I kinda took it serious on the business side of things and just made sure like I could be something special if I just take shit serious, you know what I’m saying? So I would say since 2005. As far as everybody knowing what was going on and what’s been happening it’s been like a year and half with this Griselda shit,yea….
So who inspired you to pick up the pen, M.C. wise?
Conway: To pick up the pen M.C. wise? Everybody, just Hip-Hop itself, Rap…all that shit. It’s too many to name. You know the legends, you know the guys. The guys that inspired all of us.
So are y’all the first…I don’t recall anybody being out of Buffalo.
Conway: Me either…. (Laughs) Rick James, but I don’t recall (any other artist).
So the idea behind the limited presses, where did that come from because I think it’s a brilliant concept.
Conway: Uhm, I can’t take credit for that that’s really my brother masterminding all that ya know Westside Gunn. He’s just brilliant man, he’s just special man when it comes to marketing and taking a brand and taking nothing and make it something.He’s specializing, you know what I mean?
I see my man A-Villa just logged on…
Conway: Shout out to A-Villa!
I told ( Conway) that you were the one that put me onto you. So salute to you!
Conway: I appreciate you. Man, I love A-Villa. Salute bro. Word up…
So what are you currently working on right now?
Conway: Uhm, we’re just basically getting “G. O.A.T.” together. Grimiest Of All Time. That’s actually gonna be my first album, I never put out an album. Everything’s been like a mixtape release kinda up to this point but “G.O.A.T.” is gonna be my first album. I think it’s going to be probably the illest shit niggas heard in the last couple of decades….
Is that also going to be a limited press run?
Conway: Uhm, I don’t know how that’s gonna work, with the vinyl I’m sure it’s gonna be like that because it’s going to keep the formula the same. But as far as like the digital release and the C.D.’s and other physical hard copies, that’s gonna be available to the masses. But as far as like the tee’s, I can’t control that man. The thing about us is we don’t do merch, it’s not merch. This is a clothing line. Like the record label is actually a spin off of the clothing line. Griselda by Fashion Rebels. My brother Westside is… that’s what his dream and passion is….the fashion, you know what I’m saying? And designing whether it’s art or fashion, clothes, sneakers, whatever like that’s what he’s in it for to do you know what I mean? And this record company is just a spin off from that. So when the tees and all that shit sell out the way they do like we didn’t expect that (laughs) you know what I mean? There’s T-Shirts that I don’t have, you know what I mean. But the vinyl situation is different. We like to keep that… because it’s rare art. Like even with the clothes it’s rare art pieces. Like you can’t go , everybody can’t go out and buy a Basquiat painting, you know what I mean? You gotta have it to keep the value of it and the importance of it to keep it that more key you know what I mean? You gotta keep it to where everybody can’t get it, you know what I’m saying?
So you’re back and forth from Buffalo to Atlanta?
Conway: yea Buffalo to Atlanta. I be in New York City a lot…
You catch different vibes….
Conway: I like recording personally and creating and doing my music in Buffalo. You know what I mean because the feeling. That’s where I’m from, that’s where I got out the mud at and where I became what I am and who I am. So I like to, I would prefer to create at Daringer house. I don’t wanna change the formula, like I would prefer to do it right in his living room like how we do it, you know what I mean? So that’s what it is….
Any plans on touring?
Conway: Uh, We gonna tour soon. We working out all the particulars because a lot of people want to see us in a lot of cities. So we figuring all that out right now but right now our main focus is making sure “G.O.A.T.” is a classic, you know what I’m saying? And once that’s done, we’ll work on the next step, the next thing but it’s definitely going to be a “G.O.A.T” tour.
So what’s the formula when you get in the studio? I notice through your releases that there is not a lot of guest appearances from outside…
Conway: Yea, I don’t like to do all that you know what I mean? My thing is coming up in this shit I used to reach out to niggas for features and niggas be like ignoring my messages. You know how it be, niggas won’t hit you back or niggas try to charge you something crazy for a verse…. like c’mon, my nigga? That just put a chip on my shoulder to where it’s like I’m a competitive muhfucka anyway so it’s like I ain’t asking nobody. I got too much pride to be putting out a call like “Yo what up?” So if anybody I fuck with you hear on a joint, it’s like a personal you know what I mean? I feel comfortable calling to these dudes and it ain’t just about music when I call em’ and talk to em’. Like sometimes I just hit guys to see what’s up with them to see how they’re doing. I’ll hit Styles like,”what up my dude, how you? I’ll hit Royce you know what I mean? “What’s good my G, you alright?” “Everything good?” “How’s the family?” And I just like to keep it genuine like that, organic you know what I mean? Cause’ I don’t want to look like I’m trying to leach off anybody or need anybody. My O.G. told me that if a nigga think you need him, that’s how he gonna treat you. So, I don’t need nobody you know what I mean?
So have you you seen that come around full circle where you hit somebody, they played you and now they trying to comeback and do something?
Conway: Honestly yea. Like I ain’t on that where I’m holding grudges or I’m shitting on niggas or whatever. It is what it is, like I ain’t tripping you know? Maybe you (rappers) didn’t know. Maybe you wasn’t aware. I can’t fault you for what you didn’t know, you know what I’m saying? So, it’s work. I’m with whatever man, as long as you trying to work and your grind is there and you serious about this shit. And we ain’t wasting time and it makes sense, let’s do it. I don’t care who you is or where your from, you know what I mean?
So is that pronounced “Daupe” that you guys are through ?
Conway: I don’t know how to pronounce the shit to keep it 100 (laughs) I think it’s (pronounced) “dope” they just spell it different. That’s what I call it. Daupe (pronounced Dope) Media. I don’t know. Shout out to them tho.
That’s who does your packaging ?
Conway: That’s who the vinyl situation is through. I don’t know all the particulars of that. Westside Gunn handle all that, you know what I mean and work all that out. I don’t know what they do or what’s going on you know what I mean? But I thank them tho. (Laughs)
Looks like a great movement….
So what do you have coming up in the future? What can the fans expect from Conway the machine?
Conway: I’m on a lot of people’s albums that’s coming. Finish out the year strong. You know a lot of guys dropping this year, you know I don’t want to spill the beans so to speak. You’re gonna hear a lot more of me. There have been a lot of projects people have been anticipating like,”he droppin’ and he on it?” So it’s gonna be a lot of those. There’s gonna be a lot more…. I’ve done so much features this year that it’s crazy I ain’t ran out of gas yet you know what I mean? But I’m sure it’s going to be a lot more them niggas droppin’ shits. Like I said I’m droppin’ “G.O.A.T.” Uhm, we doin’ Hall & Nash 2. Westside got something special coming on Halloween, I don’t want to let that out yet but just be prepared on Halloween this year from something special from Westside Gunn. I got a couple other things in the works, but I don’t want to speak on them because they’re not etched in stone but it’s some stuff I’m excited about that’s gonna be real special. I just did the shit with Big Ghost & Guilty Simpson…
Guilty from Detroit…
Conway: Yea, shoutout all my Detroit niggas too man. Yea, it’s gonna be a lot more man. It’s smash the gas season for me so I’m putting out a lot of music before the year end and to bring the new year in too. Trust me, it’s finna get spooky……