Conway The Machine & Funkmaster Flex Release A Freestyle But Have They Made Peace?
Earlier this month, Conway The Machine called out Funkmaster Flex on Instagram Live. The Buffalo, New York MC demanded new Hip-Hop gatekeepers. This came after the artist reportedly saw Flex publicly say he was not a fan of Griselda while speaking to Wallo, the high-profile podcast host who recently appeared on Conway’s God Don’t Make Mistakes album.
Follwing Conway’s remarks, Flex responded, claiming that despite A-list associations ranging from JAY-Z and Eminem to J. Cole and Kanye West, that Conway was a 40-something “bars rapper” who had already “peaked.” One of the most recognized radio DJs of the last 30 years then issued a challenge. He offered to play Conway a song on his show. The artist has made acclaimed albums with Griselda and Shady Records seemed to accept the challenge.
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“Last week me and Conway had some words! I sent him a track… he accepted the challenge and here we are,” wrote Flex in the description. The DJ continued, “Rest in peace to Steve Smith! I thought it was right to name it that since Steve Smith was the creator of the all-day Hip-Hop format and this freestyle is Hip-Hop!” Smith, who died earlier this month at 62 years of age, helped launch HOT 97 as Hip-Hop knows it.
Conway released his freestyle through Funkmaster Flex’s YouTube channel. It is recorded to Biz Markie’s “Nobody Beats The Biz” instrumental (as produced by Marley Marl). “I been runnin’ sh*t so long, ni**as hope that I’ll be finished soon / Prayin’ on my downfall, hopin’ to see a ni**a lose / F*ck the opps, opposition minuscule,” begins The Machine. Clearly, he comes out swinging towards his critics and skeptics. Then Conway speaks about selling out arenas, Biggie Smalls comparisons, and a having relationship with Diddy. “Now ni**as think that I signed for millions / I mean, I did, but ni**a, mind ya business,” The Machine spits, before slowing down his flow for emphasis.
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Conway never mentions Flex by name in the freestyle. However, the MC seems to have an opponent in mind for this freestyle’s lyrics. “You’re listenin’ to one hell of a guy talkin’ / You play with me again, I’ll put nails in that guy coffin / Smack a ni**a so hard, have his eyes crossin.’” He then makes other points: “Goodnight to these pawns, I knock ’em off they high-horses / Machine back, cyborgin’” before “They talked on they platforms, now they’re eerily quiet / Got some ni**as in your city now preparin’ to riot / I push the button and somebody over there’ll be dyin’ / I’m from where you leave your house, you carry your iron.” Moments later, Conway raps, “Ni**as on Instagram talkin’ like one of them bots / F*ck around and put you in the trunk of one of your cars,” raps the MC. Funkmaster Flex is a longtime muscle car collector and enthusiast. “Y’all better go do your homework assignments / Ni**a said he don’t f*ck with us, he know he was lyin’ / I listen to the sh*t you ni**as jack and I don’t be excited / Put your opinions in my comments, I don’t be replyin’ / Put Buffalo on the bill but in New York I’m known as a giant / Rest in peace Kay Slay, let’s have a moment of silence,” he closes.
Notably, Kay Slay, one of Flex’s former colleagues, used his radio shows and mixtapes to promote homegrown Rap talent that resonated with the streets. Papoose, Saigon, Fred The Godson, and Joell Ortiz are examples of artists that Slay touted, while Conway demands similar consideration and support from the likes of Funkmaster Flex and DJ Suss One.
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Whether Conway was getting at Flex or not in the freestyle, they are working together to advance the conversation.
Notably, after Conway and Flex’s initial war of words, Pete Rock called out his former colleague and label-mate. Pete, who has produced Conway, Benny The Butcher, and other members of Griselda, decried Flex for turning his back on artists also including Wu-Tang Clan. After an initial reply, Flex used his Thursday night (July 14) radio show to call out P.R. Flex alleged that Pete had snitched on former band partner C.L. Smooth was suing friend and former Heavy D & The Boyz member DJ Eddie F.
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This triangle, involving Funkmaster Flex, Conway The Machine, and Pete Rock, is the subject of the latest episode (embedded above) of Ambrosia For Heads’ What’s The Headline podcast.