Westside Gunn’s HITLER WEARS HERMES VIII: Album Review

Miguel Meza
The initial cover, painted by Mariella Angela, featuring Hitler with Westside Gunn’s face tattoos.

Westside Gunn added another entry into his “Hitler Wears Hermes” series with this 8th installation and it could not have come at a better time.

Initially slated for a release in October, this early release is just the right kind of content to drop as every artist seems to be using 2021 as a year to flex.

Westside Gunn is a consistent act, that rarely if ever, strays from the witty drug-rap that puts him in the same category as Freddie Gibbs in terms of independent acts that have used their background and influences to become mainstream names with appeal and the money to back that up.

Art is art, no matter the artist. And Westside Gunn plays with that eloquent observationalist set of tools that keep him in the minds of the hip-hop heads of the world. This mixtape just further solidifies that.

In terms of features, the album is actually quite generous with how many additions are brought onto the usually close-knit affair, with Lil Wayne providing the most notable feature on the entire album on the song “Bash Money”.

The usual simplistic sampling and production with a hint of a play on the normalities of hip hop is present, and Conway The Machine makes his usual set of appearances for the album.

The core themes and motifs brought upon by Gunn are replicated again, and like most of his work, it is truly a combination of street-tough dialogue and obscure pop culture references that all intertwine to make a mesh of collective consciousness in a stylistically crude fashion without ever straying far from the same boom-bap musical style.

As a mixtape, it is truly a great listen at a tidy 13 tracks that are mostly around the 2-minute mark, which allows for an easy listening that only adds to the ever-growing and impressive library of independent work by Gunn.

Having said that, it is a bit lacking in terms of actual songs that can stand alone as pure hits, like the moments where the old-timey aesthetics of criminal enterprises really meets the hip hop production are scarce in comparison to the amount of excellence that came from Pray for Paris.

Normally, it is not in my interest to directly compare albums or pieces of work with one another but the level of excellence that Westside can achieve is too high not to mention.

Still, this is a good bit of music and fits very well into the mixtape format.

Overall: 7/10

FAVORITE TRACKS: “Peri Peri” ft. Rome Streetz, “Mariota” ft. Stove God Cooks, and “Bash Money” ft. Lil Wayne

FINAL NOTES:

The overall rating of this album might be a bit misleading, as the entirety of this album is a pleasant listen all throughout and could easily be left on in the background of just about anywhere. It just has that awesome East Coast vibe that accompanies any Westside Gunn project no matter what the size is.

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