You are here
Home > News > Getting High With Griselda | High Times

Getting High With Griselda | High Times

In 2016, DJ Green Lantern called me. Green and me talk quite often, but instead of speaking in an unenergetic tone, there was excitement in his voice. I was then informed by Green about Westside Gunn and Griselda, a Buffalo-based artist. As Green and I now reminisce on those days, he remembers, “My boy DJ Chris G from my hometown of Rochester, NY was posting about and playing Griselda music and it caught my ear. I loved it—that grimy fly shit. I haven’t stopped listening since.”

The Griselda catalogue was my first stop. Primarily, Westside Gunn’s Fly GodIt was my introduction and I was honestly blown away. Green was simultaneously working. Steroids: The Hitler on Steroids mixtape. The mixtape was a way to expose new fans to preexisting material. This helped me learn even more about the amazing Griselda artists, including Benny The Butcher and Conway The Machine. Fans like myself were captivated by their mystique, grit and determination.

As a brand new superfan, I peeped Green was going to DJ their first tour, “Griselda On Steroids,” and the first stop was Webster Hall in NYC. It was also the night that Styles P and Jadakisss from The Lox, Raekwon and Mobb Deep’s late great Prodigy passed on their talents to the next generation. Once I got backstage, it was like I had been a witness to the action in front of all these rap titans.

Seth Zaplin

Griselda, despite all that, was really doing something special by keeping the streets gritty and real while others were doing TikToks or designer drugs. Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Benny The Butcher have been raising the bar with bars… and also maybe smoking a little weed. Okay, plenty of marijuana. As Green Lantern recalls it, “Pretty much everyone in the group is a smoker, so it’s blunts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—gas only. It’s important to properly medicate here. That’s the first stop when we pull up to the next city—gotta get right for the night.”

Courtesy: Siena Saba

Now with some years of success under their belt, I went and caught Griselda’s most recent NYC concert, as part of their “Claire’s Back” tour. Wow! Westside Gunn started with some of his best records. Then, he introduced Stove God Cooks to the audience and Rome Streetz to introduce the next generation Griselda Records. Next came the actual wrestling match between wrestlers on stage. It was quite an entertaining segment. Armani Caesar, the Griselda artist, smoothed out things after all of that and brought Benny The Butcher on stage to perform a track she and him had created together. Benny performed a few songs with Ricky Hyde, Heem and his BSF band. Benny also invited 38 Spesh to perform his song with Benny.

Courtesy: Siena Saba

Conway The Machine set the mood perfectly with this set, and he smashed it to end things. He introduced his Drumwork affiliates with a few records, but then they really put a ribbon over it all with a very impressive grand finale of the trio (Conway, Benny, and Gunn) performing “DR BIRDS” off of their Shady Records debut. It felt like all of New York City screamed, “Tell Virgil Write ‘Brick’ on My Brick!”

Courtesy: Siena Saba

Was it an incredible rap performance? Sure. My job wasn’t done. It was long before any bar had even been spit. Conway The Machine, Benny The Butcher and I were there to bake. After the show, that’s exactly what I did, and here is how it went down: As the custom Astor Club pre-rolls were being passed around, Benny grabbed his Gucci lighter and we began to sesh…

Courtesy: Siena Saba

Which is your first memory of being high in Buffalo?

I can’t lie, I’ve done a lot of high shit. You get the giggles when you start smoking. When I started smoking, I was fourteen years old and I had paranoia. I also lived in dangerous neighborhoods. The other night, as I was walking to the grocery store, I swear the leaves were following me. [laughs]

Benny: Let’s chat about strains. Which strains are you actually smoking?

Some of these strains are still around for a while, just like Gary Payton. London Pound Cake is still my favorite, as well as the Original Z and Gumbo. Apart from that, Big Rappers First Choice is my favorite. I smoke the Butcher’s Breath and Buffalato because both of those are real gas.

[In comes Conway to join the interview]

Courtesy: Siena Saba

Conway The Machine, it’s okay. Let me know if you have any questions.

La Machina is my favourite strain. I love Lemon Cherry Gelato too. My preference is for strains with a great taste but high potency, so you can get that couchlock effect. When I smoke one, I want to get cooked.

Can you recall the early days when you didn’t have a lot of weed to smoke?

Man that’s been awhile. It’s possible that I will knock out a fiend, steal his money and head straight for the weedhouse. It’s not what I want, but to be stoned and irreverent. I smoke to relax and get inside my mind—I’m a thinker. When I’m stoned I have a tendency to get creative. I smoke all day. I wake up, bake up, and the only time I’m not stoned is when I’m asleep.

It was amazing to watch these very talented emcees perform at their highest levels. Unfortunately for the readers now checking this out, the “Claire’s Back” tour has concluded. With that said, we should all make it our business to turn summer 2022’s Drumwork Fest into a rap Woodstock. Come meet me and be prepared to be Strain checked.