Westside Gunn's Curation Remains Impeccable on 'Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely Adolf'
Published Aug 31, 2021One thing stays clear no matter what Westside Gunn touches: his curation skills are impeccable. Griselda's multi-year run looks anything but winded with Sincerely Adolf, the eighth (and ambiguously final) installment of the series that started it all for the collective, Hitler Wears Hermes. The project is concise, with little wasted space among the 13 tracks.
What becomes immediately apparent is the extra time that Gunn spent cooking up this platter. Notoriously known to record projects in a matter of days, the additional love has the Buffalo MC sounding spryer and sharper than ever. Whether rocking alongside Stove God Cooks — who sparkles on all four of his features — or teaming up with one of the more revered rappers of the past two decades, Lil Wayne — who bodies the screwface-inducing "Bash Money" — he's never overpowered.
That's one of the most admirable things about West's executive production; guests are brought to his level, and you can hear the mutual respect. Everything feels organic rather than an attempt to shove square pegs into circle slots. This is accentuated by the production throughout, crafted by Conductor Williams, Denny LaFlare (who contributed some of the project's most brilliant gems) and longtime collaborator Camoflauge Monk. The beats all feel cohesive, as if the three producers were one.
An Achilles heel of Griselda affairs can sometimes be when things get a little too off-kilter or when elements overstay their welcome. "Westheimer," featuring Stove God Cooks, slow-flow Griselda rhymer Boldy James (fresh off of his Bo Jackson LP with the Alchemist) and Sauce Walka, is minimalist to the point of sonic monotony, especially with Boldy's flow. Then there is Gunn's long-winded speech about how much money he has on "Claires Back," which makes an otherwise hype song — with an incredible second half thanks to Conway the Machine and Benny the Butcher — longer than it needs to be.
But it's hard to stay mad at this project's momentary lulls, as it's yet another example of Gunn giving fans everything they want and expect. From classic Hall & Nash back-to-back bars with Conway ("Spoonz"), a platform for acts he champions like Rome Streetz (who appears on "Draymond" and "Peri Peri"), and one or two features with cultural icons (in this case, Jadakiss and Lil Wayne), the formula stays remarkably similar but — as it always does with Gunn at the helm — feels exceptionally fresh.
According to Gunn, this is one side of a two-part set. It remains to be seen if that second act will have a similar vibe sonically, especially considering Griselda acts Armani Caesar and YN Billy are noticeably absent this time around — as is a Keisha Plum poem, which is generally a WSG staple. For that matter, it's difficult to know if this is indeed the final installment, as that was a descriptor given to the seventh entry in the series.
It feels like as long as West is engaged and feeling creative, we're in for more music, and if he keeps giving us consistency on this level, it's hard to be mad at that. (Griselda/EMPIRE)