Conway The Machine is easily one of the year's best rappers, a title he was quick to flex in a recent assertion of dominance. And while he spent the majority of 2020 obliterating instrumentals and applying pressure to fellow emcees, things might have played out entirely differently had Conway not possessed a strong mental fortitude in the face of life-changing adversity.
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In March 2012, Conway suffered a gunshot wound to the neck and shoulder, which left him stricken with Bell's Palsy and the right side of his face paralyzed. As he was already in the process of making waves in his city as a Buffalo emcee, Conway found himself forced to contend with unexpected obstacles. He recently opened up to The Athletic about his experience dealing with his changed reality, which brought upon new challenges -- including re-learning how to speak and rap.
"I don’t feel like I’m disfigured or none of that, but when you gotta look at yourself in the mirror and you know that you don’t look the same or your kids gotta see you don’t look the same and your momma gotta see you like that, it definitely takes a toll and it’s like a war in your mind,” explains Conway. "In my mind it was like, ‘Man, I don’t even want people to see me like this.’ The mental part of it was harder than the physical. I had to re-calibrate. I had to strengthen my mind before I could strengthen my body. I lost it for a minute. Mentally I just wasn’t in a good space.”
“I’m opening up more and knowing that it’s okay if you need to talk to somebody,” Conway continued. “Especially in the hood — in the Black community, period — it’s like this stigma of mental health issues is equal to weakness. Even I struggle with that.” For more from The Machine, be sure to check out his feature with The Athletic right here. For those interested in his recovery process, Conway previously told HNHH that Daringer's slower production style was actually tailored for his post-shooting pace, and he eventually used quicker beats like Alchemist's "Calvin" to test out new flows.