Keeping track of the new releases from the Griselda Records crew is harder these days than holding James Harden under 30. Because if you’ve been paying attention, then you know the Buffalo-bred trio of Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, and Benny the Butcher have blessed the masses with albums and loosies galore over the last few years. And if you're sports fan and a Griselda fan, you've been doubly blessed since nearly every track is littered with a glorious sports references or two.

Sure, the collective got its start as a fashion label, meaning the gritty, grimy music that’s reminiscent of 90s East Coast rap is heavy on rhymes about designer clothes, drugs, and the violence engulfing their lives around their city in western New York. But the three MCs are also massive sports fans and expertly sprinkle their songs with awesome and slightly esoteric lines about athletes or teams better than just about anyone in the rap game. Even Drake and his many sports references, in this esteemed author’s opinion.  

So we undertook the incredibly difficult and unenviable task—kidding—of listening to the Griselda catalog to compile the squad’s best sports references. Let us know if we somehow missed a gem. 

 

“George Bondo” 

Year: 2020
Album: Pray For Paris

MC: Benny the Butcher
Lyric: Think it's a game until I Patrick Kane somebody homie
That's slidin' through with a stick, shootin' one by the goalie

How many guys rhyme about an NHL player? Drake ain’t even doing that and he’s from Canada. This was an excellent nod by Benny to the Blackhawks right winger who has won three Stanley Cups in Chicago, was the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft back in 2007, and just happens to be a native of Buffalo like the Griselda boys.

"Shoot Sideways"

Year: 2020
Album: LULU
MC: Conway the Machine
Lyric: My lil' shooter like AI, but he been missin' practice
But he still scorin' on the opps and he still hittin' baskets

Conway scores major points on this track that features ScHoolboy Q for referencing Allen Iverson’s iconic press conference from 2002. Not the easiest thing to work into a verse, but he pulled it off seamlessly.

“Freddie HotSpot”

Year: 2019
Album: WWCD
MC: Benny the Butcher
Lyric: I run in the club, bump into plugs, I fell on a brick
Only Tom Brady get more rings than my telephone get

Benny might be from Buffalo, where Bills Mafia endured 32 losses in 35 regular-season games at the hands of Tommy and the Patriots, but he’s not above giving Brady his props for the six Super Bowls he’s won, more than any quarterback in NFL history.

“Dr. Birds”

Year: 2019
Album: WWCD
MC: Conway the Machine
Lyric: We just pullin' up and somebody gon' see a casket
Hall N Nash and Benny like James Worthy, Kareem and Magic

Hall N Nash—a reference to the iconic NWO tag-team partnership between Scott Hall and Steven Nash during WCW’s heyday in the 90s—is the name for the duo formed when brothers Westside Gunn and Conway are performing together. Add cousin Benny to the mix and Conway’s letting everyone know the Griselda crew balls like the iconic Lakers trio of Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Magic Johnson that won three NBA titles in Los Angeles during the 80s.

“The Old Grove”

Year: 2019
Album: WWCD
MC:  Conway the Machine
Lyric: My plug a giant in New York, he got them things in
Send me 13 to Cleveland, like the G-Men

Not the only Odell Beckham reference in the Griselda catalog. But it might be the most clever since Conway’s talking about the controversial 2019 trade Giants GM Dave Gettleman orchestrated three months after he said the team didn’t sign Beckham to a new long-term contract in order to ship the star pass catcher out of New York.

“Bang (Remix)”

Year: 2019
Album: WWCD
MC: Conway the Machine
Lyric: My shooter got Dame Lillard from the elbow aim
I thought of that while I was courtside at the Melo game

That’s not the only sports reference on this track that features Eminem. Conway rhymed about the time Kyrie Irving told 76ers fans to "suck his dick" and Benny dropped an ultra-rare reference to the Dodgers left-handed legend Sandy Koufax (look him up, kids). But we went with Conway’s lines above because he cleverly stacked two superstars (and teammates) on top of each other.

“Kelly’s Korner”

Year: 2019
Album: Hitler Wears Hermes 7
MC: Westside Gunn
Lyric: Supreme catcher mask lookin' like Mike Piazza

Westside Gunn is the fashion savant of the collective so of course he’s going to rap about Supreme. He paired a reference of the streetwear brand's April 2018 drop of baseball equipment with one with the greatest power-hitting catchers in baseball history who entered the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap. Fat Joe is featured on the track, but imagining the Bronx native rhyming wistfully about a member of the Mets is almost as disturbing as picturing Derek Jeter in a Red Sox uniform. Some things just don’t go together.

“Kool G”

Year: 2019
Album: Hitler Wears Hermes 7
MC: Conway the Machine
Lyric: Sent her to Texas, made her bring my shit back, gave her six stacks
For any mishaps, from New York to Dallas like Kristaps

Knicks fans are never going to let the organization forget that it gave up the ultra-talented 7-footer for such a meager return now that it looks like he’s going to form a nasty duo with Luka Doncic—and Dennis Smith Jr. ain’t the answer at point guard in New York. We’ll see what the two future first-round picks the Knicks procured in the trade turn out to be (one is top 10 protected, but the 2018 transaction was controversial for a lot of reasons. Porzingis was unhappy in New York and wanted out and probably wasn’t going to sign an extension when he was eligible. But one of the biggest rationales the Knicks had for getting rid of fan-favorite KP was it would clear a ton of cap space so they could land Kyrie Irving and/or Kevin Durant during the summer of 2019. How’d that work out?

“Rubber Bands & Weight”

Year: 2018
Album: Tana Talk 3
MC: Benny the Butcher
Lyric: Cocaine jumping out the pot, so you know
That my post game standing on this block like Karl Malone

The brolic Mailman was practically an immovable object under the basket. The Hall of Famer grabbed more rebounds during his 18-year career than all but seven other players in NBA history.

“Westside”

Year: 2018
Album: Supreme Blientele
MC: Westside Gunn
Lyric: Over scales I prayed, weighing a flake
Bought three phones this year, n****, I'm straight
Courtside, Timberlake's on, across from Drake

Hey, if we’re crowing the Griselda crew’s sports references better than Drizzy’s, gotta highlight these lines from Westside Gunn letting everyone know you can catch him rocking Jordans at a game just like the most annoying NBA celebrity fan.

“Don’t Make Me”

Year: 2017
Album: Butcher on Steroids
MC: Benny the Butcher
Lyric: Call the plug James Harden 'cause he dribblin' in Houston

This one doesn’t require much explanation. It was dropped during the early portions of what would be Harden’s 2017-18 MVP season and Benny references one of the negatives basketball purists love to point out about Harden’s game. Yeah, he has some of the best handles in the game, but he pisses off a lot of fans pounding the ball into the hardwood in Mike D’Antoni’s isolation-heavy Houston offense.

“RahBannga”

Year: 2015
Album: Griselda Ghost
MC: Conway the Machine
Lyric: Me and my brother brought the toughness to New York
Mason and Oakley

Fans of the 90s Knicks truly appreciate this reference. Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley were two of the most rugged and hard-nosed forwards in the NBA during the decade when Knicks games often resembled a wrestling match. But the fans loved Mase (RIP) and Oak because they did the dirty work, would throw hands at moment’s notice, and could still get you a bucket. 

“Dirty Harry”  

Year: 2019
Album: The Plugs I Met
MC: Benny the Butcher
Lyric: In the trap five straight hours, blendin' up fine gray powder
The fumes knock you out like Deontay Wilder

RJ Payne is featured on the track and drops a great Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka line when it’s his turn. Benny also rhymes about Pat Riley and the Dream Team here. But we’re giving the nod to his line about the former WBC heavyweight champion/KO king who is the hardest puncher in boxing.

“Tom Ford Socks”

Year: 2016
Album: My First Brick
MC: Conway the Machine
Lyric: Lil homie love to grip his Ruger
He’s 17, but he been a shooter like Dennis Schröder

How many times does the Oklahoma City reserve get a shoutout like that? If the NBA actually gives out individual awards for the 2019-20 season, Schröder deserves serious, serious consideration for Sixth Man of the Year. He was having a career season for the surprising Thunder and leading all subs in scoring when the NBA abruptly shut down. 

“3 Missiles”

Year: 2016
Album: My First Brick
MC: Conway the Machine
Lyric: You ain’t seen better gunslingers than Aaron Rodgers

An all-time great that should be a Hall of Famer the first year he’s eligible, Rodgers was a G during the 2016 season. He finished with 4,428 yards, 40 TDs, just 7 picks, and a 104.2 passer rating and was just two years removed from his second MVP season. He might be entering the twilight years of his career, but Rodgers still scares the shit out of the 31 other teams. If only the Packers would get him more help on offense.

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