Griselda Has Made A G-Funk Mixtape Inspired By The Chronic

In the late 1980s, Dr. Dre and N.W.A. led a movement that put Compton, California on the map for Rap fans. Dre and his crew described a place with vivid detail—from its hard-nosed reputation to the perils of life in the street. That movement ultimately propped the door for artists like DJ Quik, The Game, and some years later—Kendrick Lamar. Thirty years later, Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Benny The Butcher brought Buffalo, New York into new perspective. Three talented MCs from Western New York rapped accounts of life in the cold streets where hustling comes with taking life-or-death chances. This Griselda Records movement gave shine to a plethora of deserving MCs from the region, who got recognition from powerful association.

Despite mutual connections to Eminem, the Grisela crew has yet to release music produced by Dre. However, their longtime affiliate Big Ghost Ltd imagined a world where Conway and his cohorts can rap over G-Funk production. Speshal Machinery: The Gronic Edition (Big Ghost Ltd. Version) takes 2023’s collaboration EP by Conway and Rochester, New York MC/producer 38 Spesh, and gives it a 1990s West Coast makeover. Several of these new songs are currently on the Ambrosia For Heads playlist (follow it here).

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“Goodfellas,” the first song on the playlist, features Conway, Benny, and 38 Spesh. The distorted sounds heard on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic (which the new project also pays homage to in its artwork) make a return here. Notably, Spesh’s verse works in Snoop Dogg’s area code: “I had to work s__t back from the 213 / No losses, I had a 22-month streak / When I took my first L, I ain’t lose much sleep / Disappeared and came back like two front teeth / Now who wanna see the switch on my big weapon? / When I ask, ‘Who want beef?’ It’s a trick question.” Conway raps next, before Benny closes up shop with lines like: “You really gotta know the difference from suckers and real steppers / And ones who handle that beef first like a meal prepper / My beats harder, my whip newer, my deal better / And my bank statements six pages long like a jail letter.

“Been Through” has that early ’90s G-Funk sound, especially in the hard drums and synthesizers. This song features longtime Black Soprano Family affiliate Elcamino. Conway raps, “Look, so far, it’s been a solid year / I told my n___as, ‘Let’s keep doin’ s__t that got us here’  / Yeah, VVS, the big solitaires / Twenty bands for one earring and I got the pair / Neck lookin’ like I sell a lot of squares / These other n___as’ jewelry kit cannot compare / They say, ‘Machine, since you got in, s__t has not been fair’ / Said, ‘I’ma run this s__t until I’m in my rocking chair’ / I’m from Buffalo, New York, ain’t had too many options there / Trap house kitchens, just a couple dirty pots in there / N___as get out of pocket, then you shot the fair / And if you lose, you come back later and the block get aired.

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The “Gronic” remix to the title track has a laid back feel to it, more in step with the G-Funk heard on Masta Ace Incorporated than perhaps what some would associate with early Death Row. Nevertheless, this song flaunts razor sharp lyricism from Spesh and Conway.

Previously Big Ghost Ltd. made 2015’s Griselda Ghost project, along with collaboration albums with Ransom, CRIMEAPPLE, Che Noi, and others.

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The AFH playlist (follow it here) also includes selections from Benny’s Everybody Can’t Go, Conway and Conductor Williams’ CONDUCTOR MACHINE, Elcamino’s They Spit On Jesus, and Westside Gunn’s And They You Pray For Me.

#BonusBeat: AFH‘s 2019 interview with Griselda: