After the monumental release of Hitler Wears Hermes 8, a double album that felt like his most ambitious work to date, he follows it up with his sloppiest release yet. Claiming on Instagram that it was made within forty-eight hours & that he “doesn’t give a fuck about a mix & master,” this was just a sign of rushed release already. This is far from a solo release too, as he packs it out with features from Estee Nack & Stove God Cooks. He states in another IG post that he is making art & he is an “ARTIST,” but the end result is one of his worst projects to date.
On the album we get the opener from A.A. Rashid, which has usually given fantastic starts to some his most iconic works. Who Made The Sun Shine & the intros to Hitler Wears Hermes 8 truly set the tone of those albums, feeling grander than they should have any right to be. Here, we have A.A. Rashid making a ketchup joke. This rightfully sets the tone for everything we have coming our way.
First real track on the album comes in the form of “Jesus Crack,” an eight minute snooze. This album with its heavy featuring of Estee Nack seems like the perfect chance to highlight him, as he’s already had a successful underground career as is & Gunn is in a much more mainstream place. However, the verse he drops sounds like a CRIMEAPPLE with bad acid reflux. He drops one of the poorest performances on the album against a beat that was already boring enough as is.
Westside Gunn – Jesus Crack (Estee Nack & Stove God Cooks)
As if this wasn’t offensive enough, Westside Gunn drops a standard Gunn verse but with the gall to sample Grand Puba. He decides to tease you with a song that’s better than the one your listening too, just because he can. This isn’t done with artistic integrity in any way, shape or form, in fact he’s already done this same gimmick before. On “Vogue Cover” off of Hitler Wears Hermes Side A, he interrupts the track to let a Eddie Levert sample ring out. It’s unexpected, its clever, he lets his adlibs run over it to add to the humor of it all. This song “Jesus Crack” however, there’s no point. Retreading this ruins it, and now he’s already made it a trope of his own music.
Westside Gunn – Vogue Cover (ft. Stove God Cooks)
This track could easily fall apart & be the lowest point, but thankfully Stove God Cooks saves the tracks. With his unique flow & wordplay, he dominates the track. In fact, he’s consistently the saving grace throughout the album. Estee Nack & Gunn amazingly underperform the entire run time of the project, meanwhile Stove God sounds as effortless as ever.
Throughout the project, Gunn seems determined to build his own mythos. As he’s been flexing his giant bracelet on various social medias, he has to make a song dedicated to it. This isn’t what Conway The Machine had done on “Hell on Earth Pt. 2,” where he makes a quick reference to him wearing the Alexander McQueen skirt with & flipping it into a quip. Instead what Gunn does is make a track dedicated to it, with no intention other than to flex.
Westside Gunn – Hell on Earth, Pt. 2 (ft. Conway The Machine & Benny The Butcher)
Gunn is far from a bad rapper, as he even has one of the hardest verses on “Hell on Earth Pt. 2,” but everything here feels like a lazy gimmick. None of the verses are deliver here with any style, and its so clear the difference when Stove God comes on to the track. The energy on the tracks completely shifts despite the production being an absolute snore. “Derrick Boleman” highlights this contrast the best, as its just the two of them on the track.
The tracks that are this project’s saving grace are with “Horses on Sunset” & “Danhausen,” and this is mainly due to the production. These tracks feel like they have real energy to them, with the drums being more to the forefront of the instrumentals. “Horses on Sunset” wouldn’t feel too out of place on Pray for Paris or Hitler Wears Hermes Side A, with its more subdued instrumentation. Gunn actually sounds like he wants to be on the track & Stove God drops a fantastically threatening, yet melodic, chorus.
Westside Gunn – Danhausen
“Danhausen” on the other hand sounds like nothing else on here, being attached to a project this weak doesn’t feel right. The beat feels like something you would have found on Who Made The Sun Shine, with its hard hitting drums & off-kitler sampling. Conductor Williams, the producer on the track, always finds a way to take the most annoying samples & flip them into bangers. The track features nothing but Gunn himself, proving he still has it to hold down a track on his own.
While it is implied that this is just a throwaway project, just a teaser to the bigger album that will be Michelle Records, the end result couldn’t be more disappointing. Gunn has three song EPs in his discography that sound like they have had more effort put into them, see Riots On Fashion Avenue, compared to this ten track half hour long project. Even with the help of legendary producer Madlib couldn’t save the project, as its muddled in dissatisfying verses. Hopefully, this is just misstep & not a sign of things to come.