This project was released on July 5th this year. For the longest time I assumed it was just an EP, and then I saw a bunch of people calling it an album. There were a shit ton of conflicting labels being used. I’m 90% sure it’s a mixtape though. Anyway, I really wasn’t expecting to like this project honestly. I always wanna check out Westside Gunn’s work just because of his Griselda affiliation; I love Conway the Machine, and I like Benny a lot too. I want to like Westside Gunn, and sometimes I do. I think his two albums are good. I just don’t really care for his Hitler Wears Hermes tapes at all. They usually have at least one song that I like, but overall I think they’re mid. Since this is another mixtape, I was expecting it to be mediocre, but I knew I’d like at least a couple songs on it.
After listening to the album, my prediction ended up being completely accurate. I like about half of the tracks on this project. As [almost] always, I’ll talk about the songs I actually enjoyed before discussing what I don’t care for. So first of all, my favorite track is the one that doesn’t feature Westside Gunn rapping at all. It’s not because I hate him though. I honestly think that even if he had a verse on Pete Sake it’d still be my favorite track. First of all, that beat from Sadhu Gold & Al.divino is fucking incredible. It’s the grimiest beat I’ve heard since listening to The Plugs I Met. Or maybe Bandana. That second beat on Half Manne Half Cocaine was crazy. This beat is insane though. I love it. The song features the two Griselda rappers who I actually like, Conway the Machine & Benny the Butcher. The first verse from Conway was awesome. I loved that line about his mind being distorted from snorting fishscale. That shit was hard. The final quatrain was probably my favorite part of his verse though.
The Flygod is an awesome God
That little nigga hit three niggas, I told him, “Awesome job”
Don’t give no fuck about no rappers, they can all get robbed
This shit is easy like Culpepper throwin’ Moss a lob
I don’t know why Conway saying “awesome job” is so funny to me. I love it though. His verse is dope as hell. I wasn’t quite as impressed by Benny’s performance, but I still think his verse was really great too. I really loved that line about having someone’s girl mix car fluid in his food, but for the most part his bars just didn’t stand out quite as much to me. I’ve always liked Conway the most personally, but I think most people think Benny’s the best, so maybe I’m just biased. I think the song could’ve maybe had a more substantial structure. It’s really just two verses over a great beat, followed by an outro consisting of an audio clip from what I assume was a local news report. I usually love simplistic structures like that, but it just feels like it could’ve used something to spice it up a bit. I also feel like the way Benny’s verse ended felt a little awkward. It just felt kind of abrupt to me. I still love the song overall though. Again, it’s my favorite track on the project. The first actual song on the album was also a standout track for me. First of all, that beat from The Alchemist is fucking awesome. Fucking love that dude, man. He’s so fucking good. As much as I like the song, I just have to get this out of the way right now; Westside Gunn has one of the most annoying voices I’ve ever heard in Hip Hop. It’s fucking awful. It’s not the only issue I have with him as a rapper, but it’s certainly the most severe. My other issue with him is really just… Well… Honestly, it’s kind of everything. I just don’t think he’s a very good rapper. I legitimately don’t think I’ve ever heard a line from him that I really loved. This track in particular had kind of a cool line where he said that a fiend did the dougie after hitting the pipe, but the way he delivered it completely ruined it for me. His voice is annoying enough as it is, so I sure as fuck don’t need him stretching words out like that. He literally said “dougiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” Just imagine a super high pitched, nasally voice saying “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” right in your fuckin’ ear. It’s annoying as motherfuck, man. His flow was so skeletal and spaced out too. I didn’t care for his verse. Even the ad-libs irritated the shit outta me. What really makes me enjoy the song is the production, along with the guest verse from Benny. I actually think Benny killed it. It’s way better than his verse on Pete Sake in my opinion. He had a lot of great lines.
You know when pies get measured, that’s when ties get severed, nigga
And we are never squashing, I like conflict better
My name in conversations with accomplished legends
Anybody that rhyme pathetic done got beheaded
I like Benny the Butcher, but it’s honestly kinda rare for his lines to stand out to me this much. I love this verse though. He killed it. I really wish it was a solo track by him.
Take a rapper chain, bring it here, I’ll gladly rock it
Me, West & Conway like Mike, Bird & Magic Johnson
.44 mag, ski mask & the fabric cotton
My eyes done seen shit my kids can’t imagine watching
It’s a dope song. The next song that I kinda like is Lunchin’, which features Keisha Plum. His delivery on this track didn’t seem quite as obnoxious as it usually does. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still pretty bad. It’s not unbearable though. I think he was rhyming well too. He’s good at finding words that rhyme well. It’s usually just the actual substance of what he’s saying that doesn’t impress me at all. His flow is really dull too. The hook didn’t do anything for me, but the feature from Keisha Plum was great, as always. I like how she seems to be featured on every single Westside Gunn project. Well, not the EPs I guess. She’s dope though. Thousand Shot Mac was kind of a frustrating song for me, but I did end up enjoying it overall. The production from Daringer is really dope, but I only ended up liking two of the verses on the song. I thought the first one from Meyhem Lauren was awesome.
I have to plan to keep it goin’, life is like an escalator
You’re counterfeit and I’m the marker used to test the paper
We both in the buildin’, I’m on a higher floor
The bitches that y’all niggas wife I use to test the raw
I need to check out more of that dude’s solo work because I always love his features. I know he has an album with Madlib in the works, so that should be tight. Anyway, I also liked the final verse from Conway a lot.
Niggas in yo’ bushes, they waitin’ to let the K smoke
The shooter had to sniff a fifty just so he could stay woke
You niggas ain’t got no ambition so y’all gon’ stay broke
Why you think I’m in this trap kitchen tryna weigh coke?
It’s far from the best verse I’ve heard from him, but it was still cool to me. I don’t know who had my least favorite verse between Westside Gunn & Hologram. I’d probably say Hologram had a better performance even though some of his lines were kinda trash to me.
I had a brown-skin girl, same color as my Dutch
She said, “Hollie, go drag your nuts”
She queef melodically; in Greek mythology
Nike is the goddess of victory and that’s lit to me
The reason I liked it more than Westside Gunn’s verse is because he at least had an impressive rhyme scheme and a cool flow. Absolutely nothing about Westside Gunn’s verse stood out to me in a good way. It’s not trash or anything. It was just very mundane. The song is cool overall though. I like it. Amherst Station 3 is one of the two solo tracks that I actually enjoyed. The beat from JR Swiftz is great; I really like how there’s no percussion at all. It has a really somber atmosphere, which to some extent is tarnished by Westside Gunn’s obnoxious delivery. The song is still good though. His verse was actually kinda cool lyrically. It wasn’t super impressive, but I like the autobiographical bars a lot more than the generic “I’m the flyest nigga you ever seen” type shit he usually says. I don’t really remember the first two Amherst Station songs at all. I know I liked the first one, but I didn’t care for the second one. I don’t know why I felt the need to mention that. Anyway, the only other song I like is the next track, Dance Floor Love. As the title implies, it’s a love song, and he somehow managed to pull it off. I really like the production from Evidence, and I think some of Westside Gunn’s lines are genuinely kinda romantic.
Laid us three bottles of Ace, we got faded
Talked ’til the sun came up, I promised you the biggest house ever
The way he ends the verse is so morbid and violent. It’s a really dark way to end a love song, but I think it’s really cool to be honest. It’s a pretty good track. I’m glad he kept it short and sweet. I didn’t care for any of the other songs though. The opening track ended up being pretty disappointing to me personally. Before listening to it, I saw that it featured Raekwon, and I got very excited. However, he doesn’t rap on this track at all. In fact, nobody raps. It’s just an intro in which Raekwon says a few words that basically signify a passing of the torch from Wu-Tang to Griselda. That’s cool I guess. I wanted to hear him rap though, especially since the beat sounded so dope. It’s not that big of a deal though. I really love the production from JR Swiftz on Bautista, but Jesus Christ, man… I cannot take Westside Gunn’s voice. The melodic hook sounds fucking awful to me. For someone with such a terribly grating voice, he sure does try to sing way more than he should. The first verse is alright I guess. His flow was solid, but he didn’t say anything that really grabbed my attention. I guess that line about breaking a nigga’s spine by doing a wrestling move was kinda cool. It actually sounds really funny when I put it like that, but the way he said it made it sound more badass. I think the second verse was a little better. He was rhyming well, and his flow was decent. It’s an okay song, but it’s not something I’d come back to. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this entire album is that the fantastic production from Madlib was ruined. Ferragamo Funeral has probably my second favorite beat on the whole project, but I just do not think Westside Gunn sounds right over it at all. I hope the instrumental version gets released eventually if it isn’t already out right now. It contains what sounds like clips from a movie, which are panned to the left. This is part of why I don’t think Westside Gunn sounds good over it. It doesn’t sound like anyone should be rapping over it. The movie samples are too distracting. It sounds like Madlib sent this to Westside Gunn for it to be an interlude, but he thought he was supposed to rap over it. It’s an okay song, but I’m not gonna be listening to it again in the future. I didn’t love the beat on Gunnlib quite as much, but it was still really fuckin’ cool. Just like with almost every other song, Westside failed to impress me. His flow was boring, and none of his lines stood out. I think MF DOOM would’ve sounded amazing over that beat in his prime. I personally don’t really care for the song as a whole, but the beat is great. The closing track, Lakers Vs. Rockets, was another kind of frustrating song for me. I fucking love the production from DJ Muggs, but Westside Gunn’s voice, man… It’s so fucking bad. I cannot do it. There are some songs where I can tolerate it, but this is not one of them. It’s really a shame. Someone like Ka would sound perfect over that beat. It’s awesome. I thought Westside Gunn’s verse kinda sucked though. The song features Sauce Walka, and his verse was actually kinda tight, but it’s not enough to save the song for me. It’s an okay track overall. The only song that I would actually say is legitimately bad is Birkin. When I first listened to the song, I thought the sample sounded really familiar. I’m not sure if it’s the same, but it reminded me of Dreams, Dreams, Dreams by Sylvan LaCue. It’s probably different, but that’s what it sounded like to me. That’s not the problem though. The problem I have with the song is pretty much every other aspect. The beat is cool, but Westside Gunn’s rapping is straight up terrible. His flow on this song is incredibly lazy, and same goes for the writing. The melodic delivery sounds fucking horrible. The hook is trash. It’s easily the worst song on the album. Again, the only remotely good thing about this song is the production. It’s not even one of the better beats on the project though. So yeah, I think the song is terrible to be honest.
This project is okay. I don’t really think I would consider myself a fan of Westside Gunn. I like the artists he’s associated with. The Alchemist, Daringer, Keisha Plum, Conway, Benny, JR Swiftz, Meyhem Lauren, Sadhu Gold, Evidence, etc. All those guys are great. I just don’t see the hype with Westside Gunn at all personally. The only thing that really stands out about him is his voice, and it’s for all the wrong reasons. His flow is boring as shit. None of his lyrics stand out at all. He’s just not an interesting artist to me. If the features and production weren’t so good, I’d probably think this was pretty bad. They really save it though. Overall, I think it’s an okay project, but Westside Gunn himself is easily the worst facet of it in my opinion.
Favorite Song: Pete Sake
Least Favorite Song: Birkin
Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this album