Westside Gunn, master of chess

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Westside Gunn is like a museum curator. He doesn’t just make music, he makes music galleries. He will begin his career through his Griselda label, in 2012 with the Hitler Wears Hermes project. Behind this daring name, we must see a Hip Hop version of the *Devil Wears Prada*. 10 years have passed, 9 other of these projects stamped *HWH* have been released, without too much scandal. But caught up with by the Kanye West news and his conspiratorial statements, the Flygod will intelligently rename in 10 the tenth and last volume of the series, which will have earned him a part of his notoriety.

As a curator and at a time when rap was deviating more towards electro or southern sounds, the Buffalo native is going back to the basics of the musical genre, with a raw sound, currently described as *Rap Boom Bap*, in reference to the Golden Age and KRS One’s 1993 album Return Of The Boom Bap.

Westside Gunn moving away in the text from the very conscious universe of KRS One, he’s going to use the packaging to dress a very flashy, luxurious and gangster background. Although he’s not the most gifted member of his label, his style and especially his very high pitched voice divide. He always manages to pull his weight and shines as an architect. He regularly lets legends take over the mics and, from a strictly personal point of view, that’s the best solution. Just imagine that he managed to bring in, through his various releases, rappers like Freddie Gibbs, Roc Marciano, Tyler, The Creator, Slick Rick, Black Thought, Jadakiss, Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah etc etc…

His formula, he was able to find it in Independent by constituting a fan niche all committed to his cause. His inconclusive deal with Shady Records, Eminem’s label, did not live up to his expectations. He knew how to surround himself with great artists within his Griselda label and thanks to this team, he reinforces even more his feeling of power. On the one hand, his success is purely critical and confidential. There is a kind of “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper” taste around this team, which could prevent him from becoming a superstar. But does he want to ?

What’s about 10 ? This is Westside Gunn’s 6th *solo* project since 2020. It seems almost excessive, but as I said before, if the listener gets into this niche and embraces the artist’s musicality, which is mainly the musical architect of its releases, the mayonnaise will take without any problems, album after album. Westside Gunn’s coherence is millimetre, the sound is brutal, the productions are always powerful and his performances seem to me even better. Nothing is calculated, nothing is formatted and this is probably why signing to Shady Records was not the best direction. Anyway, everything is very well thought and this 10 can make us wait until his next announced banger, Michelle Records.

Finally, could we imagine Black Star, Run The Jewels and ASAP Rocky on one album ? What about Busta Rhymes, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah on one track ? Westside Gunn didn’t just imagine, he made it happen.

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