Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine & Benny the Butcher brought Griselda tour to T5 (pics)
The Griselda tour kicked off on May 10 and hit NYC for a show at Terminal 5 on May 18. Though set times posted at the door had Griselda kingpin Westside Gunn starting the Griselda portion of the show at 9pm, he didn't actually appear until after 10, following opener Doe Boy and a DJ. It was good for the many still on line outside after 9, but it was going to be a late school night for everybody who crammed into one of the most packed shows I can remember at the 3000-cap Midtown venue, two levels of wrap-around balconies included.
Gunn -- who never left the stage after his set -- was followed by Benny the Butcher who was followed by Conway the Machine. Griselda producer Daringer was behind the decks for a lot of the night on the stage that was filled with friends and associates (DJ Premier included).
Each core member used their segments to play their own material -- sometimes with each other and other members of the Griselda family -- and to give other rappers in their crews a chance to get the spotlight. The especially crowd-pleasing Stove God Cooks played with Westside Gunn and Benny. Rome Streetz, Armani Caesar, and YN Billy did their own material during Gunn's portion which also included AN ACTUAL WRESTLING MATCH about 30 minutes in, which was amazing and increased the energy in the room in time for Benny to come out start showing his skills.
Benny -- who started his sat by rapping with Armani at the end of Westside Gunn's segment -- brought out rappers from his Black Soprano Family label including new signing Fuego Base who rapped some unforgettable, intense and shocking verses that made an impression. Frequent collaborator 38 Spesh also came out during Benny's set which featured material from the great The Plugs I Met and Tana Talk 3 and the also great new Tana Talk 4.
The crowd went nuts when Conway finally came out, but were also visibly more tired as the rapper kept going after midnight which was 5+ hours after doors to the show opened. Conway's set featured Jae Skeese and the great 7xvethegenius from his Drumwork label, and lots of material from his recent albums including emotional set highlight "Stressed" from his 2022 Shady debut God Don't Make Mistakes which he said took a long time to come out because he was going through a lot and almost quit completely.
The Buffalo rappers each took time to acknowledge the big crowd and the two levels of balconies, and they each paid tribute to the victims of the Buffalo supermarket shooting. Benny said we "gotta stop this hate shit" and pointed out the supermarket was five minutes from where he lives. Gunn then dedicated the show to the victims and pointed out that it was the grocery store they go to. Conway asked for a moment of silence for the victims before revealing that the names of all of them were written on the back of his hoodie.
Unlike Conway's recent show at Webster Hall (that Benny and Westside Gunn also rapped at), this show didn't feature any big non-Griselda guests, but they weren't needed. It was a well deserved NYC showcase for the rising-but-seasoned Buffalo crew, and was kind of perfect just the way it was. The show ended somewhat abruptly around 12:30am after all of Griselda did one last track together. Benny encouraged people to then come join them at the afterparty at Chelsea Music Hall.
Check out more photos from the whole night by Stephen Han below....