Local rap group Griselda shows Buffalo grime on The Tonight Show

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Deadly437 [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Griselda performs on NBC's "The Tonight Show" back in late January

Will Hance, Culture Writer

The underground rap scene has been taken over by a group from the East Side of Buffalo.

Griselda is a street rap collective featuring performers Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Benny the Butcher and the production talents of DJ Daringer. The group looks to take rap back to its “golden age” sound. With no auto-tuning, choruses, trap beats, or pop hooks, the group’s appeal is that of their lyricism and being a living enshrinement to street rap collectives of the past.

Recently the group performed their song “Dr. Bird’s” on “The Tonight Show”. The song is the group’s most stripped back and straightforward song with minimalist production and a timeless Boom-Bap beat, which exists as a vessel for the group’s simple and unapologetic flows. And while the song’s production may be simple the lyrics are an extravagant flow of drug violence, sex and hardships. The group’s telling of Buffalo is absent of any of the normal tourist trappings and instead focuses on rampant poverty that the group witnessed while growing up on the East Side.

Their live performance style is also a throwback to the MC’s of old. Absent was the animalistic energy and movements of modern-day rappers. Instead, the group stayed cool spitting smooth bar after smooth bar with coolness and swagger.

Their performance marks a strange moment in rap music akin to what the band, Greta Van Fleet represents for rock. A longing for the trends and sounds of groups of the past while disowning the trends of the present, Griselda appears to be every old head’s ideal of what rap music should be. Yet I don’t think the groups sound and presence is anywhere as interesting or engaging as the groups they are imitating. In the group’s large mix of classical influences, their own personality seems to get lost making them seem empty or bland like a hollow vessel to rap of old without any of what made it good in the first place.

But regardless of my opinion, I’m sure we will hear more from the group in the future as they have signed a deal with Shady Records and their first album, “WCCB” dropped last November to critical acclaim. Combined, these two things guarantee that we will be hearing more of the past brought to the present by Griselda.