Even if I wasn’t a pro wrestling fan hearing the words “The Butcher comin’ nigga!” would be enough to make me smile. Griselda Records have made it clear since day one they love the squared circle though — so much so that WWE slapped them with copyright claims over it. That hasn’t slowed down their hustle one bit though, and I do mean HUSTLE, because on mixtape after mixtape and album after album the raps are all about grinding.
“Tana Talk 3” hit both of the sweet spots for me with a title that referenced Hiroshi Tanahashi and the hardest kingpin raps since Kool G. I couldn’t wait to play “Pyrex Picasso” and hear more of that Eastside Buffalo shit. Unfortunately playing this is tinged with a bit of sadness too as Conway the Machine parted from Griselda in 2022, leaving his cousin Benny and his half-brother Westside Gunn behind. He’s on two of the joints here though and my favorite is definitely “Fly With Me.”
Another downside of this release is that it’s incredibly short. Clocking in at only seven tracks total, one of which is entirely a throwaway intro with no bars or beats, you can listen to the entire thing in under the time it takes to watch the main event of most wrestling pay per views. That doesn’t make the heavy pounding sound of “PWRDRL” featuring Elcamino any less dope, and I did get a laugh out of Benny refusing to sit politely in the back of a squad car while they ran a check after pulling him over. BRRRAP! The Butcher’s coming, you should’ve known better.
Even though I can’t help but wonder what led Conway to part ways with Benny and friends my only major complaint about “Pyrex Picasso” is that I just want more. There are some rappers and crews who have an undeniable swag to their demeanor, to the point that even if they’re just talking about flipping and selling kilos of cocaine, you want to hear those lavishly detailed stories. Benny the Butcher is the kind of talent that reminded the world Buffalo isn’t just the home of the Bills and a mecca for hip-hop in its own right. Keep on hustling Griselda.