Just the experience alone from The Alchemist is oftentimes enough to push a project into the headlights and put this allure around the project’s essence. With LULU, the majority of the record is the theme song to organized crime and grime with the twisted Buffalo background that Conway The Machine has. As the record peels back that velvet curtain in a swooping motion, the listener is almost swept off their feet and put right into the shoes of a walking tank.
Conway begins on “14 KI’s” with a mix of fashion sense and criminology rhyme schemes, describing, “The Mac in the Burberry Trenches, free all the real rights that’s serving a sentence. Yeah, I emerge from the trenches, it was the crack that I served from the benches.” His vocals are this alpha-male brawn that can intertwine between Alchemist’s classy style. The track continues on as Conway then describes in his second verse, “Shit ain’t a game, nigga use caution. Rapper come to my city, young nigga gonna try to take his jewels off him. Getting money that’s what I do often, I get treated like I’m the big-ticket when I’m moving through Boston.” Every time that he rhymes, there is a dangerous beauty that underlies each bar and follows to fit the shark mentality that dawns the cover.
Alchemist supplies Conway with this chum in similarity that the production becomes blood in the water. The hustle that adapts to fit the track “Calvin” is one of Conway’s strongest deliveries of recent memory and he actually increases his tempo to fit this faded but creeping instrumental. He describes, “Niggas that still getting money in prison, rock Cartier glasses spinning the yard. Ain’t no drive-byes, we in your bushes we jumping out while you was parking your car. Shooting they yard, shit leave you scattered all over the grass like leaves in the fall.” He then takes the time to illustrate a sense of less straight-forward destruction and more of a poetic sense of tone. Conway describes, “I used to light up my room with a candle, I had to get all my loot in the bando. Are we talking keys? I just moved a piano,” before disappearing into the final act.
The last track, “Gold BBS’s” is a subtle float against the saltwater with this aftermath of being torn to shreds by the apex predator. The production here from Alchemist is sluggish but disorientated. The large sweeping synths and background noise are ambient but create the spotlight to hit Conway Directly. He describes, “My money in line, that’s why I’m good with the connect for. Dog food in my trunk like I just left the pet store. Free the brodie, they got my dude up in the mountains, when we was 15, we used to shoot up niggas’ houses.” This is rap that feels directly related to being an accessory in a federal crime. Before the wire taps come in, Conway raps up the loose ends.
As LULU turns to a final gaze into the boundless ocean, it is reflective of the music of today. A deep dive that can hold treasures, beauty, and intense colors that have never seen the light of day. But there lies something more sinister, more evil lurking in the waves as nighttime approaches and Conway makes sure to strike a feeding frenzy before the prey can escape.