When people talk about New York hip-hop, they usually mean New York City. However, there is a lot of land and a lot of people within the confines of New York state where hip-hop reigns like it does across the city. Specifically, in Buffalo, New York, there are three rappers who have been representing upstate New York with their music and artistry. Westside Gunn, Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine have been making waves individually and together for years now, but just recently combined to create the rap group Griselda, who released their first album, WWCD last year in 2019. The excellent effort features some of the year’s best drug and money talk, such as the trio are primarily known for. The three are now supporting the effort through a U.S. tour, which stopped at Baltimore Soundstage on February 23, 2020.
Before the sold out audience got to see the trio that is Griselda, they had to endure a gauntlet of openers. A total of seven performers took the stage between about 8:15 and 10:15. Some of the performers were pretty good, and fit the bill very well, while others were slightly off in their styles for a Griselda opener, and the crowd responded accordingly. The only time the crowd was truly upset, however, was when the DJ announced for the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh time that they would have to stand through another opening act. Some openers had fans in the audience singing along, others seemed somewhat lost in their performance. A truly mixed bag is what the crowd was treated to for two hours prior to Griselda taking the stage.
When the Buffalo natives’ set finally came, they came out one at a time, performing a few songs of their own. First Westside Gunn performed by himself, then Benny the Butcher came out, followed finally by Conway the Machine. Once all three members were on stage, they performed “Dr. Birds,” a song which they had performed on the Jimmy Fallon show just a couple weeks prior.
The rest of the show consisted of the three performing both Griselda songs, and their individual songs for about 90 minutes. The already long show was extended much past the time it was supposed to, but since Griselda were finally out, none of the audience cared. They were in it for the long haul at this point. The three performed their flows and lyrics over instrumentals, which they acknowledged at a point in the show as being more hip-hop and raw than those who perform with their vocals. They also bragged about the lack of mosh pits, claiming people in their audience were listening to the lyrics instead.
Griselda is a trio full of talent, and each of them has been at it for years. Coalescing into one group was definitely the best move for each of their careers, and their first record and tour is a testament to their newfound success. Griselda is undoubtedly on top of the coke rap game, and they are not taking their foot off the gas.