The fuel that runs Conway The Machine comes in the form of gritty bars and the legacy he hopes to spearhead for his City and those who’ve had similar life experiences as his. That fuel stems from very real life experiences – experiences which have heavily shaped who Conway is and sometimes weighs heavily on his mind and soul.
Sitting down with Tidal’s Rap Radar at the top of the year, the Griselda MC went into detail about the therapeutic aspects of his art form. Coming up through the struggle has lead to obstacles the rapper wasn’t always sure how to navigate through. His rise through the hip-hop ranks however, offered an outlet to help him share his experiences.
“[Sharing through my music] it helps me, it helps me because usually I keep shit bottled up and, I just like you know, go somewhere and just be alone and deal with my shit how I gotta deal with it,” said Conway. “But I think it’s helpful because you gotta get that shit off your chest man because that shit start becoming too heavy to deal with you know what I mean?”
Further opening up about his mental health, Conway mentioned a lot of his fans weren’t or still aren’t aware of what he was dealing with behind closed doors. This is something he says is quite common within the music industry and he’s decided to tackle the heavy subject matter on his forthcoming Shady Records album.
“On this [upcoming] album a lot of people didn’t know a lot of these things like me struggling with depression and all that shit,” said the man born Demond Price.
“I lost a child this year, I lost – my cousin hung himself on some crazy shit, committed suicide. I been through a lot of shit just this year alone, I just don’t speak about it or go on social media. I ain’t looking for no sympathy or none of that shit but it’s like, it might look good on the internet you might see niggas with nice outfits on and jewels and performing at Coachella but behind the scenes [they got a lot going on].”
In addition to the rough year he’s had, Conway’s past is still at the forefront. The rapper says he still gets heckled for his Bell’s Palsy condition (something he suffers from after being shot in the head) but that doesn’t get to him. The Shady Records artist believes he has a grander purpose in this world and it’s too important for him to spend time and attention on the minutia.
“I don’t let that bother me because I’m here to inspire,” he said. “There’s probably some people that’s going through some shit; [they] won’t leave the bathroom or won’t leave they bedroom because they worried about how they look with Bell’s Palsy or whatever they going through it’s difficult to deal with. So coming from the City we from and the obstacles we had to face, losing Machine Gun [Black] who was the pillar of our entity, losing a child, and all the other losses we all went through and the bullshit we done all been through and for us to be here smiling and putting out project after project, year after year, I be kinda getting frustrated on people that gloss over that and ignore that.”
With the influx of success he and his team have earned over the past few years, The Machine is still laser focused on what lies ahead. He’s grateful for what he’s accomplished but understands there’s more work to be done.
“I’m still humble you know what I’m saying,” the Buffalo native said. “I remind my guys all the time – we on defence – we ain’t out here tryna initiate or we ain’t pointing no names out or diss song on niggas or none of that. We here to make history, like I said earlier, where we come from we don’t get no shine so now that we got this shot we gotta make sure we hold it down because there’s a lot of people that’s counting on us to do what we need to do and make history for our City.”
Considering the environment he came from, Conway understands death was a very real possibility. It still surprises him to this day he’s able to make music, let alone on his own accord.
“I don’t even know how I do it everyday, I be shocked myself like yo, how do I do it man how do I do this shit?” the Griselda Records artist said.
“Being shot in the head and half my face paralyzed, and I hear the jokes and the heckling and all that shit, it’s like I’m really a callous individual because I don’t care what nobody think about me or what nobody got to say about me. That’s clear. I’m still rapping and shooting videos with Bell’s Palsy…I don’t give a fuck what niggas got to say about me I’m richer than these niggas anyway and ain’t nobody gon lay a hand on me.”
The full ~50 minute interview can be viewed in its entirety below. Rap Radar interviews the Griselda crew as Conway is joined by his bro Westside Gunn and Benny The Butcher. Throughout, the trio speak about the death of Benny’s brother Machine Gun Black, the method behind how they drop projects, what lead to the Shady records deal, how being honest in their rhymes makes music effortless for them and more.