The passing of a torch might be a largely symbolic gesture, but that does little in diminishing its importance. During the Griselda On Steroids tour in 2017, Wu-Tang Clan legend Raekwon emerged onstage to pass the torch to the Buffalo collective. Anybody with respect for hip-hop culture understands the impact of Rae's co-sign; he himself is among the greatest emcees to ever do it, a top tier lyricist and curator of classic albums. "These n***as right here, they carrying the torch right now," announced Rae. "From my era to they era, they carrying the torch." In one swift move, Rae managed to bridge the gap between the early-nineties golden era and today's eclectic musical landscape, where grimy gangsta rap stands closer to niche subgenre than dominant culture force.

But people are starting to take notice. Yesterday, the Griselda trifecta revealed the tracklist for their upcoming Shady Records debutWhat Would Chine Gun Do? In a refreshing surprise, people began to flock to the announcement post, culminating in one of the biggest turnouts I've seen on  Griselda-centric post thus far. In truth, bringing 50 Cent out of his pseudo-retirement from music may very well have helped matters. By now, it's no secret that 50 Cent's Instagram antics have become commonplace, with many younger fans likely associating him with trolling and trolling alone. Yet, much in the way Griselda has been valued for carrying the torch into this modern era, 50 Cent and his G-Unit associates were doing exactly that in the early millennium.

Before he linked up with Eminem and Dr. Dre, 50 Cent's Power Of The Dollar and Guess Who's Back tapes were not entirely different from the aesthetic espoused by the Griselda movement. Consider that the mainstream production landscape of the late nineties was in the midst of a change, with futuristic sounds being pioneered by artists like Timbaland, The Neptunes, Swizz Beatz, and more; that's not to say the East Coast grit was vacant, but it was ostensibly giving way to a more polished aesthetic. Yet 50 Cent, whether due to budgetary limitations or pure creative vision, made his mark over unapologetically grimy gangsta rap beats. Case in point, "Corner Bodega," "Rotten Apple," "Ghetto Qua'ran." The list goes on.

Now, nearly two decades removed from Fif's musical introduction, during which he pledged to rob the entire rap game, he has linked up for a go-around with several kindred spirits. Set to appear on "City On The Map," a filthy banger previously teased by Conway via IG live, Fif actually comes through with some classic-sounding bars; he sounds at home over Daringer's signature production, serving a much-needed reminder that he can still get down. As much as Raekwon played a role in cementing the East Coast gangsta rap sound in its formative years, Fif did his due diligence in adding his own fingerprints to the crime scene. With that in mind, his co-sign of the Griselda movement stands as a major cultural win, not only for a budding Buffalo group on the verge of something monumental, but for anyone who values the continued growth and evolution of gangsta rap. If you're reading this, you better come through and support What Would Chine Gun Do when it arrives this Friday, November 29th.