Westside Gunn and Conway Were the First Buffalo Rappers to Sign with a Major Record Label

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Over the past five years, Griselda Records has levelled up significantly, from a local rap crew coming out of Buffalo to rubbing shoulders with Virgil Abloh at Paris Fashion Week and getting co-signs from Jay-Z and Eminem.

Following the release of his 2016 masterpiece, Flygod, Westside Gunn and his brother, Conway the Machine, partnered with Shady Records in March 2017 via a distribution deal, making them the first Buffalo rappers to sign with a major record label.

“The style and energy of Griselda Records, Gunn and Conway are infectious,” Eminem said when the deal was done. “We can’t wait to put them on the platform they have earned and deserve.”

“I just heard his voice cutting through,” said Shady Records executive Mike Herard, in an interview with The Ringer. “It’s the stuff that he’s saying that makes you stick around, you know what I mean? It’s just the shit that he’s come up with. Like what the fuck is this guy? It draws you in. The voice, what he’s saying, it’s just a perfect match.”

After a few years on the label, Westside eventually dropped Who Made the Sunshine, featuring appearances from his family, Conway and Benny, as well as notable rap verses from Slick Rick, Black Thought, Boldy James and Busta Rhymes. Following the album, Westside announced that he had left Shady Records and was now back to being independent.

“I’m actually a free agent,” he told Joe Budden. “It feels great. Who Made The Sunshine was it. I already spoke to Paul [Rosenberg]. Everything’s good. Like, everything’s signed, sealed and delivered, I have my paperwork, like, I’m off Shady.”

Conway, in the meantime, has submitted his major label debut, God Don’t Make Mistakes, to Shady Records and is waiting to drop the album when it’s ready.

Conway the Machine: It’s in their hands now. It’s finished. We’re happy with everything on our end, but it should be coming out this summer, God willing. I’m excited for the release, I know the fans been waiting. I want my fans to hear it and love it as much as they wanna listen to it and enjoy it and appreciate it and value it. So it’s coming. Some things that need to be ironed out and tinkered with, but it’s coming. All systems go. So hopefully this summer we gonna get that.

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