Additional reporting by $lop E. Phizzle (@slopsshotya)
(AllHipHop News) Lauryn Hill. Jean Grae. Remy Ma. Rapsody. Lil Kim. Foxy Brown. Ms. Hustle.
These women are more than just femcees, a term developed to identify female emcees, they are rappers.
The best kinds of rappers, too. The ones that make anyone on a track with them write better (male or female), spitting with the vibrato of a dude but never allowing you to mistake the fact that they are grown women.
Armani Caesar, the first lady of Griselda, is one of them kind of jawns.
We loved the Buffalo native on the track “Lil Cease.”
Her gritty feature made a mark a few months and blessed Westside Gunn with a banger that embodied the wreck that Lil Kim brought in the early Junior Mafia days. What a great way to wet the palate of hungry Hip-Hop enthusiasts, just starving to hear real lyricism over hot tracks. But no one wants a little taste — where is the meal?
On Friday, Armani Caesar dropped her debut project with Griselda called The Liz Tape featuring Westside Gun, Conway the Machine, and Benny the Butcher.
“Everything is kind of just really for the Griselda fans, to kind of feed them, because when I got signed, a lot of people didn’t get it, because of how I looked or how, like, my music sounded previously,” Armani Caesar told AllHipHop.com. “And they didn’t really have faith in the fact that I would be able to rap.”
The squad has put the paprika in the sauce, pulling out the big guns to produce this fresh talent. DJ Premier, 808 Mafia, and Camoflauge Monk take the production lead yielding those “grimy boom-bap” vibrations that have made this collective near and dear to real heads’ hearts.
When asked about the project, Caesar explains the passion behind the project and her goal to shut down the naysayers. Still a young woman, you wonder if she has done the homework to rock side-by-side with these guys who are students of Wu-Tang, Nas, Mobb Deep, M.O.P.
Armani Caesar officially signed with the Griselda collective in March — but she has known Westside Gunn, Benny the Butcher, and Conway the Machine for almost 10 years.
“Wes (Westside Gunn) was very adamant about it ‘like, No, I want you to do you. So I want you to be able to because you can do both. And I know this because I’ve been knowing you for 10 years, I knew when you first started rapping how you were and you were able to do songs with Benny and Conway before anybody heard of you.’ So I think it’s just time to show the world,” Armani explained to AllHipHop.com. “So he’s like, “let’s shut everybody up be on our Griselda stuff real quick and then we can start with everything else.”
Armani dedicated her new release to DJ Shay, the founder of the Buff City label, who transitioned recently from COVID-19 complications.
At 48, he not only transformed the upstate New York city’s rap landscape but also shifted the deathly spirit of Hip-Hop by being an intricate part of bringing Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine to the forefront of the culture.
If Griselda has brought a fresh air to Hip-Hop’s conversation, tapping Armani as the chick in their crew was a move equally as refreshing. She deserves more than a listen, she deserves to have her name next to the aforementioned greats.