For over a decade, Buffalo, New York-based indie label Griselda has been focused on keeping the early 2000s era of grimy, drug-centric rap spawned by 50 Cent and G-Unit alive and yesterday, they announced their next step in resuscitating the spirit of that time period: Signing a female rapper.
See, back in the day, every rap crew had to have a “first lady.” For Murder Inc., it was Charli Baltimore (or Vita, depending on how you look at it). Ludacris’ Disturbing The Peace had Shawnna. For Ruff Ryders, it was Eve. Flipmode Squad had Rah Digga and Roc-A-Fella Records had Amil — temporarily. Even G-Unit, menacing and masculine as their overall vibe was, eventually capitulated to the trend and signed Olivia.
So, with their focus on revivalist rap driven by sinister sounds and tough-guy talk, it was only a matter of time until Griselda added their own first lady. Thanks to Westside Gunn, we know who it is: Buffalo, New York rap Armani Caesar — a choice that may seem surprising on the surface for longtime Griselda fans, especially with Che Noir right there.
Caesar actually might be the wise choice though: She expands the group’s overall sound beyond Benny, Conway, and Gunn’s ad-lib-laden brick talk and extends their range into something that might eventually be more palatable to a mainstream audience curious about their Shady Records affiliation. While the group is known primarily for their backpack rap-inspired gun bars, Armani evokes a spirit similar to Kash Doll or Megan Thee Stallion, with faster-paced, feminine raps that inspire more tongue wagging and twerking than mean mugging and jail posing.
That didn’t stop Gunn from promising to put her in the studio with one of Griselda’s number-one collaborators: “”WSG x CONWAY x BENNY x DARINGER and now introducing BUFFALO’s OWN @armanicaesar Newest Member of GRISELDA,” he wrote on Instagram. “It was All about timing this was over a decade in the making she’s a hustler, she comes from the same streets as US and actually started with us Were about to get busy So I want EVERYBODY to follow her and Support her. I’m taking her to Alchemist right now we’re not waiting lol…. Also imagine somebody with Bars, can turn up on these hoes and look as beautiful as this, it’s a new day.”
Armani followed up with her own confirmation post with the caption: “It’s Official @westsidegunn bro I can’t wait to show the ppl what we got in store! I’m even happier cuz I really get to do this with the Home team! It’s up and it’s mfkin STUCK? #BuffaloKids #GriseldaShit.”
Check out Armani’s music up top and stay tuned for more from the Buffalo crew.