Back in March 2017 Westside Gunn and Conway The Machine made history as the first Hip-Hop act, from Buffalo, to sign with a major label by signing with Shady Records.
The deal was huge for the underground duo and had a lot of great opportunities linked to it with, the main one being, a co-sign from on the cultures biggest artists Eminem.
Over 3 and a half years later Westside Gunn announced, on Joe Budden’s podcast, that he had officially left the label and would be concentrating on making Griselda Records even bigger going forward.
This news came at no surprise to Griselda fans as Gunn had been quite vocal of his disappointment with Shady’s dealings and, even more so, with Eminem’s assistance with his, and the Griselda collectives, releases through the label.
What we’ll be looking at here is who the biggest winners, and losers, of the deal are (or were in some instances).
Em hasn’t been the best label executive with the ball dropped on artists such as Obie Trice, Ca$his, Bobby Creekwater, Stat Quo and Slaughterhouse over the years.
So let’s get started with the winners first.
Winner: Mach-Hommy – An odd place to start for some but when you consider that Mach was with Griselda, when they signed the Shady deal, things could have been a lot different. If Shady didn’t really know how to work Gunn and Conway what on earth might they have done with Mach if he’d become a part of the Griselda group package?
Hommy left not long after the release of his ‘H.B.O’ album and has had a successful underground run, with Your Old Droog and Tha God Fahim, which has been noticed by Jay-Z, and others, over the years.
Winner: Benny The Butcher – Benny signed with Griselda, after there deal with Shady, and eventually joined as 1/3 of the Griselda group however the one thing Benny didn’t do was sign a solo deal which, in the long run, was a smart move from the head of Black Soprano Family.
Signing, along with Gunn, a management deal with Roc Nation meant that he could remain completely independent while receiving assistance from the Roc.
This paid off well for the Butcher as his, Hit-Boy produced, album ,’Burden of Proof’, became Griselda’s highest chart entry on the Billboard 200.
Winner: Paul Rosenberg – Eminem’s long time manager, Paul Rosenberg, is really the one who gave Gunn, Conway and Griselda there first exposure by offering them a deal in the first place.
Paul’s always taken time to personally invest in them on his Twitter and has proven he has an ear for talent.
If a perfect world, during his time heading up Def Jam, he would have snapped them up there and things might have been different.
You have to remember that Paul is 50% owner of Shady with the other 50% being in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what to do with certain artists.
Now let’s look at the losers.
Loser: Westside Gunn – Gunn’s debut album ‘Who Made The Sunshine’ dropped with some promo from Shady however it was Eminem that really dropped the ball with this one.
He retweeted Alchemist’s ‘Food Villain’ album instead of an album that came out on his label? Doesn’t make any sense at all (despite some Shady fans trying to justify it with some pure stupidity).
Gunn also expressed his annoyance with the label not acknowledging the groups nomination for a BET Award, last year, which, again, makes sense as why would the label you’re signed too not highlight an accomplishment you’ve made?
Gunn’s dropped numerous albums, and mixtapes, since 2017 (independently we should mention) that have been well received and in which physical copies have sold out in mere minutes, through Daupe!, which leaves the question why Shady did’nt capatilise on this and drop CD’s, Vinyl and Tapes?
Gunn only loses because this leaves more questions than actual answers.
Loser: Conway The Machine – Probably the worst victim of the Griselda/Shady deal is The Machine.
As Gunn’s now off Shady that just leaves Conway who would have seen the treatment of Gunn’s solo album, and Griselda’s ‘WWCD’, go down the river with little promotion from the label or it’s head (Eminem in this case).
This leaves his debut with them, ‘God Doesn’t Make Mistakes’, a bit of a lost cause as everyone knows it’ll get the same treatment as Griselda’s last two projects which is a shame as it’s sounding like it could be a classic.
Cryptic tweets have also left people wondering if he’s having issues with Shady as well but they could also indicate that there could be problems in the Griselda household too which, let’s be honest, would be certainly down to Shady.
Conway is also a big fan of Eminem’s but recently, he’s expressed his distaste for ‘Stans’ and how they view him, and the rest of the camp, so that’s not going to help things either.
Loser: Eminem – I think it’s important to clarify that when we speak of ‘Shady’, and the treatment of Griselda, the aim is more at Eminem, and less at Paul, as honestly Paul has done a lot more for them then Em has.
As noted above, about Alchemist’s album, it seems like Em just supports guys he likes and has no real understanding of running a label.
If Em wasn’t that bothered about them in the first place he should have just said it to Paul at the time. By signing them (which both Em and Paul would have agreed upon) you’re co-signing them (which Em did by appearing on the intro of ‘Machine Gun Black’).
Fact is Shady is (or should be) Eminem’s baby, gifted to him from Interscope, after the success of ‘The Slim Shady LP, but his interest was more into ‘putting on’ his friends than actual artists outside of his circle.
With the exception of D-12 and 50 Cent (which was a 50/50 deal with Dr. Dre don’t forget) it’s clear to see Eminem has no clue how to run a label or really support the artists signed to it.
If he can’t even be bothered to drop a tweet saying ‘New Westside Gunn go support that’ then what’s the point in heading up you’re own label?
Other artists, that run there own labels, (e.g. – Rick Ross with Maybach Music) promote albums on both there label, and own personal platforms, as it makes financial sense to do so.
All in all the Griselda/Shady deal hasn’t been a good one but it did introduce people to Griselda, and there sound, which has changed the culture but feelings are they could have just done that on there own or with all three signing management deals with Roc Nation thus remaining independent while receiving assistance elsewhere.
Guess we’re just going to have to see how the roll out with Conway’s Shady debut works out and what happens afterwards.