Confidence is crucial, especially in the hyper-competitive culture that is hip-hop. And though 2020 was a year in which many lyricists rose to the occasion, with stellar penmanship exhibited by rappers like Freddie Gibbs, Benny The Butcher, Jay Electronica, Eminem, Black Thought, Westside Gunn, Nas, Big Sean, Sa-Roc, Aesop Rock, Busta Rhymes and many more, Conway The Machine may very well have turned in the most formidable campaign of them all.

Conway The Machine

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Boasting three albums to his name in Lulu, No One Mourns The Wicked, and From King To A God (given renewed life through a recent Deluxe Edition), Conway brought a consistent dose of hard-hitting bars and unrelenting quality. Capturing the spirit of the golden era — though in a notably spookier package thanks to Beat Butcha and Daringer’s atmospheric soundscapes — the Griselda lyricist seems hellbent on carving his name into the history books, aiming to be placed alongside the rap game’s greats. For those who tuned in, his hunger and drive were on full display on Friday night’s TIDAL-exclusive concert Griselda Presents: The Butcher & The Machinehis energy that of a man who knows exactly where he stands. Which is to say, unparalleled.

The Machine took a moment to assert his dominance in the field of rap, responding to a fan questioning whether any emcee had in fact rapped better than him in 2020. His answer was simple, but resounding all the same: “no.” While it’s possible that some of his competitors may in fact have an alternate take, Conway has consistently reinforced his belief that he’s simply in another league, allowing his prolific and acclaimed body of work to speak for itself. Where do you stand on the matter — was Conway The Machine the best rapper of 2020?