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Last year, New York rap mainstay Conway the Machine shocked fans and left his legendary label, Griselda, due to unfair contracts. Since then, Conway has been busy carving out his own legacy in the industry. His label, Drumwork, has taken no breaks, dropping three albums this year alone. As if he were not doing enough, he joined forces with 38 Spesh and dropped the new duo’s debut, “Speshal Machinery,” on September 9th.

You first notice the cold beats produced by Jimmydukes and 38 Spesh. This album features smooth and chilling instrumentals that help underline the harsh reality they describe in their bars. The opening track, “Intro,” sets the bleak tone of the album. The barebones beat, featuring an organ going back and forth between two high notes, feels like a funeral march and compliments Spesh and Conway’s frank statements. The feeling of marching is felt once again on “Been Through.” This time, the thick and dirty beat makes you wince and places you in Buffalo, stomping through the dirty snow for a play. The instrumental on “Unruly” is the definition of dope. The suave jazz beat is a backdrop to Conway and Spesh flexing and stressing the rules of the street. Spesh emphasizes this with an anecdote.

Spesh ends “Unruly” with advice: “Be cordial, just in case they try to record you / One time I smacked a rat on cam and got three lawsuits.” The line refers to an incident last year where Spesh slapped an alleged snitch and faced repercussions. The moment reminds listeners that they know what they are talking about. On “Fireplace,” the whole song is one long Spesh verse, but it does not disappoint. The duo flexes their skills on the next song, “Goodfellas.” Conway drops comic relief bars, like “Get you clipped in any city, I got real reach / But I ain’t trippin’, that’s Beyond Meat, that ain’t real beef,” while still being blunt experiences.

As far as features go, the duo does not disappoint. Griselda’s Benny the Butcher hops on “Goodfellas” to close the track on a high note and send home the mob metaphor. On “Made Bosses,” Emmany’s silky vocals add to the mystique of the samples. Other features include Lloyd Banks, Elcamino, Che Noir, and Pharoahe Monch.

Stream Speshal Machinery and follow 38 Spesh and Conway the Machine on Instagram.

Score: A+

Jose Zamora

Jose Zamora is a writer and creator from Boston, MA. He has been a music nerd since middle school when he started his record collection. His passion for Hip-hop began when he discovered legends like Nas and Gang Starr and became obsessed with up-and-coming acts like Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Mob.

He is a recently graduated, up-coming journalist, passionate about music and culture. He is always keeping an eye out for the next big thing and is eager to put their talent in the spotlight for others to enjoy. He believes firmly that “Good art deserves to be talked about.”

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