The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Westside Gunn Review: Rap meets fashion with Gunn’s “Pray for Paris”

April 22, 2020 | Michael Foster-Sanders | feature editor
Pray for Paris, Westside Gunn
Westside Gunn finds inspiration for his third album “Pray for Paris,” in which he layers ‘90s hiphop sound with distinctive ad-libs, during his Paris Fashion Week trip back in January.

Great artists can find inspiration at the drop of a dime to fuel their creative genius. For the mastermind of Griselda Records’ Westside Gunn, it took a trip to Paris during fashion week being a socialite to give birth to the idea behind his latest album “Pray for Paris.”

Gunn uses this album to further fuel his descent in becoming a savant into the worlds of wrestling, hip-hop, high-end fashion and art.

He brings his sensibilities of being an underdog from Buffalo, NY to blend up something creative and not playing it safe.

The album starts with an art auction for the song “400 Million Plus Tax” to bring the listener into Gunn’s mentality to let them know they’re dealing with someone who is playing for high stakes, and for keeps.

“No Vacancy” is the next track, and Gunn sounds at home in his world where excess and violence are celebrated without fail.

He rhymes over a piano lead track with lush strings and a simple kick-snare drum combo that paints a vivid picture of a crime boss who is celebrating his success in a Scorsese movie-esque fashion.

The other two heads of the three-headed dragon that Griselda consists of are Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine, rearing its head on the song “George Bondo.”

The collective descended on the track like a Kaiju monster in Tokyo with destruction and death on its agenda and lays waste to the beat effortlessly.

Critics claim that the Griselda sound leaned too much on trying to restore the feeling of the 90’s boom-bap hip-hop, and the song “327” isn’t going to change the naysayers’ minds. Joey Badass, Tyler the Creator and Billie Essco make guest appearances here, and although the track is being lyrical, it’s just average at best.

The album throws the listener a curveball when Gunn decides to break out the Griselda formula with the simple but fly track “French Toast,” which is upbeat with a simple piano roll and a light-hearted sing-a-long hook that goes, “But I’m out here in Paris crushing on you.”

Wale makes a guest appearance on this track, and his poet rap style weaves in and out of the beat effortlessly. This should’ve been the lead single for the album, but it will be a summertime anthem at parties.

The highlights of the album are the tracks “Versace” and “Party wit Pop Smoke,” which are led by two heavy samples that force Gunn to go into autopilot as the listener is exposed to wordplay that invoked the imagination of pain and celebration.

Will this album make Gunn gain new fans? No, because he is an acquired taste that’s appreciated more and more with each replay of his music. That doesn’t mesh in with this fickle music landscape of today. Besides a few missteps, Gunn gives an extraordinary effort that w him closer to the formula for his magnum opus before his retirement.

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