The highly anticipated Shady Records debut album from Conway the Machine ‘God Don’t Make Mistakes‘ has now hit all platforms, headphones and playlists and we take a deep dive into the new release from the Griselda general.
After more than a few spins, this album is really the one that I have wanted from Conway all along. There is zero doubt that he is ‘The Machine’ and we have been blessed throughout the course of his career so far and the projects that he has delivered both as a solo artist and as part of Griselda. However, ‘God Don’t Make Mistakes‘ is the perfect balance of dark, broody and flat out grimey production, mixed with a more introspective side to Conway’s lethal rhymes. Yes, he still has that face-melting lyricism and flow that makes him one of the best in the game, and the bravado is still on full show, but he also adds the personal element on this album – more than he has done so before – and it works for the listener in a big way.
The album kicks off with the petulant, dark, boom bap ‘Lock Load‘ featuring Beanie Sigel which serves as a warning to anybody listening. Beans may have a softer flow than his prime, but his pen is still lethal and he shows it as he adds his husky, heavyweight bars to the joint with great effect. ‘Tear Gas‘ features Rick Ross and Lil Wayne who don’t feel out of place on this more triumphant sounding joint as they raise their game to match the Griselda front man. Wayne in particular sounds focus with his more rapid flow and this collab hits pretty cleanly. The first single ‘Piano Love‘ is the third track and we know this more minimal & moody number gets the head nodding and Conway drops some insight and knowledge.
‘Drumwork‘ features 7xvethegenius and Jae Skeese, both of whom we want to hear a lot more of. The track itself is a dramatic boom bap number that Conway and the aforementioned cats go IN on with their coke tales and swagger talk. The more traditional, dusty sounding boom bap is a nice sidestep from the grime on ‘Wild Chapters‘ and the uplifting hook sets the tone for the introspective bars from Conway with The King (T.I) holding his own alongside The Machine. ‘Guilty‘ commences with some somber keys before the melodic track and haunting sample gives you chills as Conway gets deep with his life story and triumph against all odds, with some stunting for good measure.
The second single ‘John Woo Flick‘ is up next and that production is top tier as Daringer brings the eerie soundtrack to the Griselda collaboration. Even with his cohort on the joint, Conway seems to have that next level with his bars. ‘Stressed‘ may be one of my favourite Conway joints of all time, due to the really old school meets new school drums of that boom bap production as Daringer REALLY gets in his bag this time, but also the relatable and authentic nature of the content. The Machine is well oiled as the choral hook hits new heights on ‘So Much More‘. Again, the ability to craft legitimate tales and make an entertaining track you can feel, gives the song (and album) that continued depth of content.
Jill Scott features on ‘Chanel Pearls‘ and she not only kills the hook, but drops a half rapped / half sung verse with feeling while Keisha Plum drops the spoken word on ‘Babas‘ which probably needed a little more Conway on the track to try and balance the chemistry. Finally, the the album closes with the title track ‘God Don’t make Mistakes‘ where Alchemist provides the sonic backdrop for the thoughtful, reminiscing track as Conway takes a look back at the events that have shaped him as a person and his career to date…. We’ve had 48 minutes of fantastic hip hop, with a variety of content that has taken the listener on one of the more robust journeys of Conway’s musical career.
Where ‘La Maquina’ lack that punch, and ‘From King to a GOD’ lacked depth of content, ‘God Don’t Make Mistakes’ is the complete package that Machine fans have been craving. The production gets a touch repetitive after half a dozen listens, but you can overlook that due to the content and lyrical prowess (and rawness) that Conway delivers.
Bangers: Stressed, John Woo Flick, Lock Load, Drumwork
Score: 9.5 / 10. A really great album that feels like a coming of age. As he fulfils his obligations to Griselda and Shady Records, he does so with one of the best offerings of his career. It also feels like a ‘butterfly’ moment as Conway may have just outgrown the artist he ‘was’ and really stepping into the artist he can become. Tune in and check this one out for yourself and allow time for plenty of follow up spins.